It is the ultimate dream of most businesses “I just want people to search on Google for xxxx and for my business to appear at the top of the list”, yet this is not as simple as it seems.
A good question is “What are people searching for when they try to find you?” or even more interesting is “What did they search for when they did find you?” The two are often not the same, and the results are often surprising. But how can you find this out and improve your chances of being found on the Internet? For the uninitiated, there are a few simple tricks and tools at your disposal that can help you keep your website relevant.
There is still a traditional view that “Websites once built are complete”. That is, you build it, you complete it, and continue running the business and never look back at your website again, for a few years. Yet this is far from the truth. Websites are a constantly evolving entity that needs to adapt with your business, and also as the market around it changes. If done right, this will magnify and enhance your business growth.
Just as there is competition in the traditional realm of “brick and mortar” business, so too there is competition on the Internet. If you do not do things to ensure your website continues to be found at the top of the list, your website ranking will drop. In short, you have to keep refreshing your content and adding new content, and most importantly, it has to be relevant content!
Years ago, keywords on a website used to be all the rage. Keywords were “meta” data embedded in the background of your website to tell search engines like Google what your website is about. After a while though, people started to abuse keywords and search engines began ignoring them. The system broke down. However keywords are a common term that people still know and are familiar with, and mistakenly still think works. Nowadays “keywords” typically refers to the search terms or phrases people use to find your website. The trick is knowing how to use keywords to your advantage.
In simple terms, Google has algorithms that look at your website and ask, “What is this website about?” When you do a search, Google then tries to match websites that are relevant to your search. It’s a simple case of matching the two together. So, what is your website about? To understand this, Google’s complex search algorithms try to ignore people who are trying to trick it, and essentially look for valid content that tells it what the website is about. It is here in the content that using keywords is relevant.
So the logical question here is “What keywords are most important to your target market?” Google has some incredibly powerful tools at your disposal to understand this. Once your website is setup you can use Google Analytics to track and monitor your website traffic. Most people have heard of this tool and it is becoming more popularly known. What people don’t often know about is Google Webmaster Tools, which complements this service. Google Analytics tells you about the traffic of your website, Google Webmaster Tools tell you about the health of your website and some other important factors to be aware of. What surprises most people when doing this, is they find their website is loaded with keywords they inadvertently wrote in many times without knowing it. For example, a client has a meditation website – when checked, the word “blog” had more mentions than “meditation”. Clearly this is a problem. So, what are we telling Google this site is about?
So, before writing your website content, there is a third tool that is important to get familiar with. This is Google’s Keyword Tool. It is worth having a play with it and finding out what search terms are most popular in your market, your industry, and your local area. Write down the top dozen or so keyword phrases, and then as you begin to write your website content be sure to use these exact phrases in the content. This will help answer Google’s basic question of “What is this website about?”, and the keywords are legitimately written into proper website content.
If you then register your website with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools, within a few days you’ll start getting results. It is here you can start to answer the question “What are people searching for when they try to find you?” and more importantly “What did they search for when they did find you?” It is then a matter of using these three tools to play this “matching game”, and then your job is to improve the relevance of the content on your site to improve your results. If people are finding your site for search terms you don’t want, or not finding your site for search terms you do want, then you need to change your content. As you can see this is forever an ongoing evolution of adding new content, maintaining your website’s health, refining its content and improving its search relevance.
GongOnline are your local small business web design specialists, and they can advise you on the best ways to increase your visibility on Google. Contact GongOnline on 800 33 441 to discuss your online marketing and communication needs.
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