Another question I’m asked on a regular basis:
“I put up a website. All fifteen of my friends and relatives have visited it but no one else has found it. It doesn’t even come up on google!”
There have been many, many books written about “Search Engine Optimization,” or how to make your website come up in google. One of the best sites I’ve seen is www.seobook.com but there are many out there.
Google, bing, yahoo, etc generally use a few key things to determine what comes up in a search:
1. PageRank. This is the “power” of your page based on who links to you, and a lesser extent who you link to. So you need to link to relevant external web sites…and get external sites to link to you. You can search for terms like “improve pagerank” to get more info on this.
2. Content. Google and the other sites have programs called “spiders” that catalog the text in your pages. The more relevant words your pages have the higher they’ll rank in various searches (without going too far, then the page will be considered “keyword spamming.”) This also includes images…ideally your images should have “alt tags” a.k.a. descriptions or “alternate text.” They also put emphasis on the headings and page titles.
3. Hidden stuff. There are things called “meta tags.” In Frontpage you’d go to “File->Properties” and you should be able to change the title, keywords, and description properties.So when you type a search, google runs its algorithms that combine these three factors and give you results based on the combination. These calculations are kept secret because bad guys are always trying to “play” the system using spam and other not-so-nice tactics.
These are the basics. You have 0% chance of anyone finding your page until these things are put in place. But like Othello or chess (or global thermonuclear war), you’ll get your butt kicked 99% of the time ‘til you learn strategy. Different people have different strategies regarding WHO you should link to, WHO should link to you, what words to use, what advanced techniques, etc. You can make this a full-time job if you want. What to use…and how good is good enough?Think about the way you search. You type some key words or phrases and hit “Search,” right? Then you look at the results and either go through 2-3 pages or start adding refinements to your search.If you’re not in the top 50 in your desired search (about two pages) then you’re not going to get any traffic. So you’re probably not going to be able to get a high search ranking for generic terms like “car” or “new car.” You need to further specialize to “new cars central Massachusetts” or “new cars Leominster, MA.”
So…First, check out some of the other great literature and books out there.
Second, start thinking of specific targetable search phrases you’d like to own. Look at the pages that own the #1-5 spots on those words now. Add keywords, descriptions, alt tags, and text to make your pages “compute” more like them.
Third, start linking to other sites that are relevant to your field. Also get links where possible to/from other sites. <My sites aren’t particularly “powerful” in pagerank but if you’re a client I’ll be happy to link to you.>
Fourth, start a blog. Make frequent postings about important goings on in your industry. Make sure you’re using the keywords and buzzwords that everyone else it talking about. Include links to outside sites (and other pages on your site) in your blog. But you NEEED to update it regularly!!!
There are also indexes like Yahoo, CitySearch, and several others where you can submit information about your business to be posted and linked to. These things can really help your pagerank and get you into the more directory-oriented services.
As I mentioned, these are some very basic starting points for getting a website noticed. There are many, many consultants who specialize in Web Design and Search Engine Optimization who can help with this.
Contact us for more information about these services…make your web site work for your business!