Designing and building a website can be a thankless task.
You spend hours of your time planning, designing and creating the whole site, carefully assembling it into a work of digital art.
Having lovingly pored over every word and put heart and soul into a decent navigation system and a well thought out layout, you eagerly publish your site and hold your breath for the torrent of visitors. It is somewhat disappointing, therefore, to find that days can go by without a single hit. You know that it can take a while for the search engines to identify and crawl your site, but as the days crawl by it can become very disheartening.
But once you can see a trickle of people starting to dribble through to your website, you may wonder why it isn’t a torrent.
Perhaps next week?
Or next month?
You start seeing your creation as an investment rather than an overnight sensation that will see you retiring by the end of the month. Clearly people are starting to find you, and perhaps you have had a few comments or a few orders, but what else have you done to try to improve the popularity of your site and the overall number of visitors it receives?
You may have spent some time thinking about the keywords used throughout the pages of your site, since you are almost certainly aware of the fact that these will help the big search engines locate your site and evaluate its relevance. Clearly being listed on Google is a significant step, but this in itself is in no way going to guarantee a flood of eager customers desperate to part with their cash. What matters more than being listed, is where you are on the list.That’s why search engine optimization is so important.
When someone carries out a keyword search for, say ‘empty egg timer’ and you just happen to sell these handy devices (useful for those who don’t have to worry about how long anything takes) then you will need your website to be right at the top of the list, so that people will find you easily, and come looking to buy from you. On Google alone, a keyword search for ‘empty egg timer’ generates nearly half a million websites! That means that there are approximately 50,000 pages of results. Incredibly, only 3% of people ever look beyond the first page of results, which means that 499,990 websites will be missed, and only 10 sites seen by 97% of visitors! You can see just how important it is to make sure you’re on that first page, and preferably at the very top of the list. If your website is on page 2, it might as well be on page 49,999, since almost no one will ever find it.
You may have come across websites or companies encouraging you to let them work their magic on your site, so that you can see it float rapidly to the top of the pile, and become number one by next week. You may also have tried implementing a few tricks yourself to get your site ranked higher. I have certainly come across many hundreds of rogue companies that claim to have the single biggest secret of the internet, something which no one else can possibly know or achieve, that will have your site dancing and singing at the top of the search results in no time. Possibly with little flashy lights all round it, a couple of dancing girls and some jazzy music playing in the background. The truth is that there simply is no one single way of getting your site to the top of the list, and in fact no guarantee that it ever will. There is a whole range of tactics(/strong>, some of which have more effect than others, it’s true, but all of which need to be employed to have any real chance of making a difference. It’s also important to be aware that your site will not become the number one keyword result overnight – it can take days, weeks or more likely months.
Be very wary of those sites that suggest that the best way of getting your site noticed is to use keywords. Although this is certainly true, search engines now take the number of keywords as only a minor factor in judging a site’s rank. Search engines got wise to the fact that many website owners were simply cramming great blocks of keywords into the code of a page just to get attention. They get attention now all right – and the result it that they lose their rank position very quickly. There are many other ways now which the search engines use to judge how good a site is, one of which is its popularity. This is measured in several ways, but the most significant is how many other websites are linking to yours. The more links, the more popular, and this in turn implies more relevant and useful.
Because as web designers we can sometimes become a little too close to our designs, and sometimes don’t just need to step back away from our glitzy masterpiece, we need someone else to take a good hard look and give us some feedback. Invariably these people like to be paid, but I have come across a nifty little site that offers a free assessment of your site. Although it’s free, it’s carried out by hand, and their advice is pretty thorough. They don’t just focus on keywords, but look at a whole range of ways in which your site could be made friendlier towards the search engines, and get ranked higher. If you haven’t tried them already, I’d recommend getting a review of your site for free. Even if your site has been around for a long time, or if it’s brand new, they’ll tell you all the things you could do to help improve your rank position.Anyway after discussing further, we came to a deal which included flexible easy payment terms and as an added incentive, being paid on results which is fantastic as far as I am concerned. With so many companies out there, to get one who actually put their money ‘where their mouth is’ is a bonus.Actually and to be fair, they were really down to earth to deal with and explained it all in simple english.
It can often be quite obscure little changes that you wouldn’t think of – such as the position of the text on the page, the number of menu links and outside links you have, the length of your sentences and so on. Knowing what you can do to help get your website noticed is a massive step toward getting up towards that golden first page. I have a number of websites, and I can’t say I have always tried every single bit of advice, but even by applying a few which suit me, I have noticed that my sites are climbing higher. Don’t forget, no one ever gets overnight top rank placement, and your eventual position will depend largely on the number of keyword competitors you have, but I’d certainly recommend getting your site checked out, after all, it’s free!