Debbie Mayo-Smith international inspirational motivational how-to speaker technology, time management, improving business performance
Motivational Speakers, Sales, Marketing, Time Management, Productivity, Technology, Tips

When Google seeks, make sure you website is what it discovers

The vast majority of websites are useless at finding new customers. It's not a question of money - it's the same for the largest corporations. Why? They're not designed with search engines in mind. For four reasons:

First, the brief normally given to a website designer is "make my site look good". Wrong move.

Second, website "design" is an incorrect focus. Yes, websites should look okay. However, it's really the search engines you have to please first, then human eyes. Out of 1000 websites, 999 have the company name and navigational links as graphics. Yes, it looks nice. But think about it. Can search engines see pictures? No. They can only read words. So how can your site rank highly if important elements are graphical?

Third, website design tools make it so easy, that too many people are creating websites who shouldn't. Like your neighbour's teenage son. What does he know about business? Further, many of the dumbed-down template sites for DIYers are designed without search engine ranking in mind.

Fourth, website designers are not marketers and most don't have marketers on their teams. They could be technically excellent, but a website requires a marketer's touch too.

Put all four together and what do you have? A nice-looking, picture-laden flashy site that doesn't do one of the main things it is supposed to - bring in new business.

Websites are many things to businesses: online brochures; transaction workhorses; an information resource. To also help attract new eyes - people who don't already know of you or your company - you need clever marketing strategies and Google on your team.
So, What does Google want?

Your website is a page in a book on the shelf in the library. One of billions of pages. Websites need to be found. Most often that occurs through a search engine query (or emails forwarded).

To make it even more difficult, search engine optimisation is an ever-changing discipline and most web designers wouldn't have a clue.

Here are some tips I picked up from the cream of the optimisation crop - Netconcepts, the brilliant Dave Cooper and Stephen Spencer. If you follow these tips, it will help your Google search ranking.

Incoming links are the most important element.

How does Google differentiate between a website set up for Harry Potter books and Harry (the) potter in Tokoroa? Or if it also had Sally the potter from Waihi, which would it list first in the results?

It rests on keywords and incoming links. Keywords are simply the words that someone types as their search. Here, "books", "pottery" and "pots" are the keywords for the two examples. Naturally, you must match your keywords to what your customers are using. If people searched for "garden pots" but Harry used the term "earthenware pots" throughout his website, he'd strike out.

Incoming hyperlinks from other websites are of paramount importance to Google and must fill two criteria. They must be relevant to your keywords and the website the link comes from should be highly rated. So if Harry (the) potter had links coming in from the Potters Association website, media sites that dealt with potters or links from suppliers to the pottery industry, then Harry would have a high ranking compared with other potters. A link in from Sue's Rotorua Gardenworld wouldn't be half as useful to Harry, nor a link in from an unrelated source. It's far better if the other website has "Harry Potter Garden Pots" as the clickable link rather than "click here".

Words. Not graphics.

Take a look at your website. If you can highlight text with your mouse, it's words. If not, it's a graphic. Next, do the actual words on your website start halfway down the page? Not good. Search engines work on words as stated. Right-click any webpage and select "view source'. Notepad opens with the source code. This is what search engines see. Can you see where your important keywords are?

All is not lost. Have you ever moused over an image and words popped up? Every graphic has the ability to have alternative image text entered. Stick your keywords in there. It will give Google something to read and lift your ranking.

Make each page unique in keywords.

Don't mix different services on one page. It's better to have more rather than fewer pages. It gives your website more opportunities to be found. More importantly, this increases specific keyword density on the page and lifts page performance. Have the copywriters write each page with subject-specific keywords.

The page title is the most important part of the page.

This little goodie is the most overlooked item by designers, and not known to website owners, yet the easiest to implement for significant impact. The page titles are the words across the top of a web page. Most often you'll see: "Home", "Contact us", "Info", "Products". Or the company name on every page. But each web page, with its different content, should have five to eight keywords relevant to that page as the title. Don't have your company name first. If people know it, they wouldn't be searching for you.
Heading 1 and 2.

When you read the newspaper, headlines tell you what the article will be about. In web design, there are heading styles associated with larger-sized fonts. Google gives heading styles 1 and 2 importance in its weightings.

However, many designers simply increase font sizes instead of using heading styles for headlines and subheads. Have lots of headings and subheadings in your website text. Use subheads with keywords for paragraphs.

Home pages. Google considers your home page the most important so give it major attention.

Site maps. Again, have one rich in keywords.

Cardinal sins Google won't go near. Dynamic pages with "?" or "&' or "cgi-bin" in the URL. Why? Because Google gets trapped in them. Flash is nothing more than an animated graphic.

It is mostly common sense that earns you a top Google ranking. The only hassle is getting those incoming links from relevant sources. Still, if you get the other seven areas more correct than your competition, you'll come out in front.   

Debbie Mayo-Smith (BSc Hons Econ) is an International Motivational Business Speaker and Managing Director of SuccessIS! (http://www.successis.co.nz) and a leading specialist in easy practical ways to improve business profitability, personal productivity and Internet marketing. Debbie lives in NZ and travels the world speaking, writing and training. By the way, if you'd like to get lots of neat tricks like this, plus marketing and business development tips, why not enrol for our free newsletter?


This article is copyright to Debbie Mayo-Smith & SuccessIS. You may use it for your newsletter, website or as an article. It can be reproduced - but in its entirety and with inclusion of Debbie Mayo-Smith as the author and the weblink www.successis.co.nz


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