How Can I Get My Website on Google?
The million dollar question everyone asks is, “How can I get my website onto Google?”. Many people assume once they have a website designed, getting it to show up on Google is simply a case of listing a few keywords here and there. If only.
As the Google ranked number one Website Designer in Poole and Dorset, no one appreciates the importance of achieving a good position in search results, or understands how to do it, more than me. Understanding how SEO really works can’t be taught overnight, or by reading a book. Its something you develop through experience of building and running websites for over 15 years.
The principle is quite simple. There are two crucial elements to giving your website the best chance of being found in search results. Firstly, that it is well designed. There are a number of things your website designer has hopefully taken care of, which I wont go into great detail here, but include making sure your ‘Keywords’ are included in the page Title, Description and Keyword Meta Tags. Also, that the text on each page of your website, especially the home page is original content, applicable to the subject and includes the keywords you expect to be found by. For example, if you expect to be found when people search Google for ‘Gardener in Poole’, make sure you include that exact line of text. In the rush to come up with information about your business, its easy to forget the more common words people may use to find you. Remember; if Google cannot see the words you expect to be found for on your website, it wont include it in search results.
Secondly, its all about links to your website. Once your website is live, and all the content and SEO is in place, you need to get Google to notice you. There are a number of ways your Website Designer may have used to get you started, such as submitting your website to Google via Google Webmaster Tools and submitting a Google Site Map – but after that, its pretty much up to you. If you see other website ahead of you in the search results, its probably because they are more established, and have more websites, directories and social media referring to them. So, to catch them up, you need to do the same. Why? Well, if you just have a website and do nothing more, Google will think you are not too bothered about who finds your website or not. When you start promoting your website on other directories and social media such as Facebook or Twitter, Google will notice the links to your website and begin to rank you higher for it.
So, what can YOU do?
The first thing to focus on is getting your website listed on some established directories. These may be local or national. Also, don’t forget about any organisations you belong to. Ask if they have a page on their website you can have a link to your website from. Links from other applicable and popular websites, forums and directories are the best way to give your website a boost – and you can work on this as much as you like. The more you have, the higher you should rank.
The following is a list of websites that offer free listings, applicable to businesses in my area of Poole and Dorset. If you are elsewhere in the UK, check for other local directories.
When you are submitting your business to any website or directory, always check you are using your full and correct domain name and when prompted to provide a description, make sure you include your important keywords. In the short space of one or two sentences, you should be able describe exactly what your business or service is about.
A small word of warning; chances are when you submit your details to some directories, you may get an email or phone call asking you to upgrade to a paid listing or sponsored result that will ‘guarantee’ you something amazing. Just politely say ‘no thanks’ and ask them to activate the free listing, then make your excuses and hang up. We are not bothered about your website showing top of any of these directories – we just want to get your website listed on them.
Another useful feature for all website owners is Google Maps – especially for anyone who provides a local service or shop. When people search for a local business or service, some results are often shown at the top of the page in a location format, with a map. This can prove vital for business who want to target local customers. To submit your business, click here. Google will verify your address by posting a confirmation code to the address you provide. When you get this, enter the code as instructed – and your map result will usually appear soon after. Don’t forget to provide a well written description of your business, including all your important keywords, services and locations you cover etc.
Many people are not fans of Social Media – but if you are serious about people finding your website, and taking advantage of free publicity, it would be a mistake not to slightly embrace it. More recently, search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing have started to acknowledge links from Facebook pages, and the more exposure your website has on social media platforms, the better. Open a Twitter and Facebook account (page) for your website. From the start, you will be able to specify your website address and provide details on your website or business. Make sure you have no restrictions set on your Facebook account. You should be able to view the page while signed out of Facebook.
Try and post at least one update a week on both Twitter and Facebook. Think carefully about your posts. The intention is to get people to share what you post with their friends and family, so come up with good offers and keep comments topical and light hearted. Always include a link your website, or applicable page on your website. It may take a while, but you will soon start to gain new fans and followers. Remember to mention your Facebook and Twitter pages on your website. If you cant do it yourself – ask your website designer to add icons to link people to each.
You may also like to consider trying a Facebook Advert or Boost Post service. These options allow you to target specific people, down to age, where they live and their interests. Even if you try a small budget at first – it can be a great way to promote your name and website when you first starting out.
Its not just links to your website online that help. Google also counts ‘direct hits’ as important too. These are people that have typed your website address into their browser and come direct to your website without searching. The more of those you have, the more Google will appreciate the effort you are making to getting visits to your website. So always include a link your website on leaflets, business cards, stationary and ofcourse adverts in press and phone directories etc.
Google Adwords is one way you can quickly see your website on page one of Google, and generate hits to your website from day one. It can also get expensive. So, you should only really approach Adwords if there is a genuine reason to, and only after you have tried to get your website listed organically on Google as above. Essentially, you will be able to list the keywords you want your website to show up for. You will then pay per click each time someone clicks on your advert. The cost can vary considerably depending on how competitive your business is. You will have the option to set a daily budget, and Google will calculate roughly how many hits per day that budget will get you. It can sometimes be trial and error – but when planned carefully, Adwords CAN be a valuable tool for holding a good position on Google and guaranteeing your a certain amount of business.