OK you’ve got a website either you built it you sell or paid someone to do it for you. What next ? Customers – hopefully. But they don’t start arriving at your new virtual shop front. So what do you do? Twiddle your thumbs and wait – may be, or you start to think like a customer.
So I Google my website. Nothing – certainly not on page 1. I try various search terms, still nothing much. I might get some results for a more obscure angle on my website, whilst the more obvious ones don’t appear or if they do it’s on page 10+. Eventually after much head scratching, we do a bit of reading. People keep mentioning “Keywords” and “Back Links”.
Keywords and Back links are the primary reference points against which the Search Engine attempts to rank your website with in the Search Engine Results Page. How relevant is your website to that search. In most cases for the popular search terms the answer, and don’t be disappointed, is not very! The fact bear in mind is the people ranking at the top of these searches will have expended all of time and effort to get there.
Keywords are a science and an art. Why? Well no one apart from the core development teams at the search engines know what their algorithm does, even then it may sometimes throw a few surprises. What are Keywords? These are the words entered by the individual, that the search engine attempts match to their database of websites. So you just put these words in your web page and it will find your website – wrong. These keywords need to be included in your page title, in anchor text (hyper-link text), hyper-link URL and the page itself, but don’t over do it else the Search engine may think you are trying to con it into believe you are more important that you actually are.
Keeping on the subject of Keywords. What to go for? The popular search terms are being dominated. So this is where you need to think creatively, more importantly abstractly! Think around your product. What terms might people use to describe? Might they be looking for a specific location? Perhaps they might want to participate in a particular activity or visit a certain event. All of these ideas can be used to generate keywords which can be used to generate traffic for your site. These Keywords are part of what is known are the long tail, away from the popular and generic searches. Local news sources are a great source of ideas for local business looking for local tie-ins.
Back Links are a primarily used as an indication of how important your website is. If your web pages are linked to by sites Google, Bing or the other search engines consider important, this will boost your rankings significantly. A local group of business may be a good place exchange links or with similar businesses in other areas. Some people are extremely good a hustling for links, others use link farms and dubious practices. However, poor quality or irrelevant links may cause your site to drop in the search engine rankings, and in extreme cases the search engines have been known to take punitive action.
So the bottom line ranking high on popular key words is important for a large business with large overheads but for the smaller business it is more import to balance their resources, not just money but time as well. What is more important than ranking well on a search engine is actually getting traffic to your site and then converting the visitors into paying customers.