By Nardo Kuitert, U-C WEBS
[Published in The Wellington Advertiser, July 2010 for the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce]
There are only 10 websites that fit on the first page of Google. If we are talking about normal search results, that is. So for most site owners it will be pretty important to be seen on the first page(s) of Google. As mentioned before, top spots are available in limited quantities, so what can you do to beat out your online competitors and be seen?
- Have enough content on your home page. And then I mean: text. Search engines index text to determine the most relevant search results – so you better have some. The home page is your most important page, so not having text on it is a missed opportunity to tell the search engines what your website is all about. And don’t forget to put your preferred keywords on the inner pages of your site too: if your keywords aren’t on your site, Google cannot index them, and you will not rank for them (ever). You will be amazed how often site owners complain about not being found for phrases that don’t even appear on their website. My advice: start with the basics!
- Did I mention already that your home page should have enough text?
So that means: letters that you can highlight with your computer mouse. And not: words and phrases embedded in images or Flash files. True, improvements have been made on the software side to read text in images. But many web developers and graphic designers don’t know how to make their designs readable… Want your site to be found? Use text placed overtop of images (positioned using CSS), not in images.
- Have a proper hierarchy within your site. Does your site have a good structure? Do you have a top level of navigation, and sub-levels? Are you using breadcrumbs to highlight this structure throughout your website? Do you have a site map that people can fall back on to make sense of your site’s structure? If the answer is no, then I recommend you spend some time optimizing your website. Structure not only helps your website visitors understand where they are and where they need to go, it provides the search engines with insight into your website’s priorities and correlations as well. Search engines rank websites based on relevancy; if they can’t make heads or tails of your site’s structure, your rankings will suffer.
- Furthering on the relevancy issue: are your titles, descriptions and keywords specific enough for each web page? Or do you have generic header data throughout your website? The more targeted the web page’s contents, the more relevant it will be to the search engines – and the higher you will rank for relevant search phrases.
With optimized web pages and proper link building you could potentially beat out websites of major corporations. Online it doesn’t really matter who you are – it matters how relevant you are in the eyes of Google.
Nardo Kuitert is an Internet Consultant with Fergus Website Development and Optimization firm U-C WEBS (www.u-cwebs.com). U-C WEBS also offers Internet advertising opportunities on www.ferguspages.com. (link opens in a new window)
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