Ever wonder what the search engine said to the website?
Wonder no more and learn what you can do to make the search engine find your site.
Website: Are you looking at me?
Search engine: Please give me your full attention. It’s in the best interest of your customers and your company to get this right. My job to help people looking for your type of product or service find you, but I’m confused by the information you provide me.
Website: no response, just a puzzled stare
Search engine: For me to match your site’s content with the search terms people are using to find your products and services, I need to understand the relevancy of your site’s content to their search term. I also want to know just how credible you are.
Currently, I am at a loss when I visit your site. I have a protocol that I follow to determine site relevance and credibility to rank your pages well on my search engine results pages. Your site is riddled with illogical navigation, few internal links, and your content is very light. Additionally, it seems that few other industry sites are linking to your site, and the visitors that do land on your site don’t spend much time there. All of these issues affect my ability to rank your pages well.
Website: What are you talking about? Are you saying you have a hard time finding information on my site? My information is in plain site — I think it is detailed and easy to locate.
Search engine: Well, I can see you, but I need to see more than your pretty face to determine who you are. I want to learn more about the friends you keep; are relevant industry sites linking to your content? And all those images, you don’t tell me what they are or how they relate to your content. Speaking of content, I need more of it on each page to help me determine what you do and the products and services your offer. There also needs to be better internal linking, which helps me navigate through the site and ensures each page on the site is properly indexed. A good site structure also helps site visitors locate the information they need, which in turn can improve the amount of time they spend on your site exploring and researching what you do.
Website: I still don’t understand.
Search Engine: I’m not human, but I am learning human behavior, and I do my best to match the information on your site with what people search for. For me to do this with your best interest at heart, I need certain elements placed on the back-end of your site in computer talk; this is called metadata or code. I also need you to help me understand the flow of your content and how it all relates. If I don’t have these things, I get lost and have to leave your site immediately because I have millions of other sites to tend to. When I leave before my indexing job is complete, I won’t be able to give your site a good search page ranking. I need you to tell me about yourself in ways that I understand, and I’m not good at guessing.
Website: How do I do that?
Your page title. I give you 2 places to put a page title, 1) at the top of your page (H1 Title Tag), and 2) in your metadata (Page Title tag). Best practice for titles is to place your primary page keyword at the beginning of the title; each page on your site needs a unique title. Both titles should tell what the content is about but for your metadata title, I only I give you about 60 characters to describe page content before I cut off the text. Best practice is to put keywords at the front of the title and your company name on the tail end.
I like page content; it helps me know what your site is all about. I consider sites with page content that is at least 1500-2000 words best. But, make sure your content is focused and utilize your primary, secondary, and tertiary keywords strategically and thoughtfully (see 4 below).
Page load speed is a biggy for me. If I have to wait for your page to load, I get bored and leave your site, just like your customers will. I even give you access to a tool to check the speed of your site; it’s just that important.
You must include your primary keywords in strategic places on your page, specifically in the page URL, within the first 100 words of your content, in your H2 & H3 tags, and front-loaded in the page’s H1 (title) tag.
Have awesome page rank authority, and by awesome, I mean really, really authoritative. You show your authority by having quality inbound links to your site. Quality means links to your site from high authority websites within your industry — this could be industry publication sites, manufacturers, distributors, etc.
You also want domain authority. Domain authority is built by having stellar content — content that is specific, informative and educational.
Link relevancy is critical to me. I mentioned this in #5, but it is worth its own bullet because I pay a lot of attention to this. Make sure your links come from sites with similar topics as your site.
I’m really paying attention these days to what people do on your site and how long they spend on your site. If someone lands on your site and immediately bounces off, that tells me that your site lacks the content the searcher was expecting. Make sure your pages are highly targeted to one subject topic, keep them clutter-free, and the most important information should display above the fold.
You must have a responsive website design, I repeat, must! People use all types of devices to search the web these days. If your site does not display well on smaller screens (think cell phones), then you apparently don’t care much about your customer and I, in turn, don’t care much about your site.
Another must is eliminating thin or duplicate content pages. I want to see robust, original content on your site. So, if you have older pages with thin content, enhance them or get rid of them. Same with duplicate content pages. If I see a lot of duplicate content, I think you are trying to trick me into thinking that you have great content.
Website: I’m beginning to understand. I didn’t realize we needed to pay attention to this stuff. My web developer said they implemented my SEO for best rankings, but you are saying they did not. What do you suggest?
Search Engine: Web developers are ideal for making your site function the way you want but typically, they do not address search engine expectations. Now you are better informed. Seek out professionals, those well educated and practiced in internet marketing, with the same care you would for an attorney or CPA. As with other professionals, make sure they have considerable experience in your particular market. They must get every detail right or performance suffers. Hiring experts will yield the best return on your company’s investment.
Search Engine: Let me give you one more tip — have an excellent, unique page description for each page on your site. I don’t use this as a ranking factor, but the page description is what entices searchers to click-through to your site — it is the snippet of text that displays under your page title on my search results pages. I limit you to about 135-160 characters for the page description so choose your words wisely and incorporate your target or primary keywords in the description and have a good call-to-action.
Website: Oh, wow. What helpful tips. Guess my company needs to start paying more attention. I will pass this on our marketing manager.
For help with any or all of the above points, give us a call, 360.834.2780 or send us an email, firstname.lastname@example.org we’d love to help your site satisfy search engine requirements.