Here are a few tips to help your website sell to customers and
show how up in the search engine results.
Most likely, you have a webmaster overseeing your website and you think it is doing well—but you aren't sure. The verbiage is confusing and the statistics are overwhelming. Here are some simple explanations about websites and questions you can ask your web person.
What you should ask before hiring a web person.
Nearly everyone who searches the internet to find information is perplexed on how the results are listed—even the so called experts. Google has over 300 criterion to decide the results of searches. Hiring someone you think will get you found on internet searches can be a leap of faith. Before hiring a web company, you should ask Question #1:
“What are a few search terms I can use to see how your clients rank in search engine results?”
Search results can be divided into 3 types. At the top of the page are the paid ads also known as pay-per-click. Companies pay the search company every time an individual clicks on their search result. It is estimated 90% of searchers ignore these ads. The middle group may or may not appear and is from Google Plus/Business social sites. The last group is also know as the ‘organic’ results since they answer the query [search question].
The clock is ticking on your website.
In order to rank in internet searches (from page one to page 24 ), one of the important elements Google looks at is whether or not your website is current. Your website is never finished. Keep updating it. If your copyright has not changed in years, then what does that say about your site’s information? You should ask your web person Question #2:
“How often do you update the info on the website?”
If the answer is “all the time” but the copyright has not been updated…well, you have decision to make. And for the lazy ones that like a copyright without a year, you are missing an opportunity to show your website’s information is timely.
Does your website really show up on the first page of search results?
If you check to see see how your site shows up in a search, Google remembers what site you’ve selected in previous queries and the more times you select it, the higher it will be in the list (Sorry—only for you). If you search for your company from your office, Google basis the search on location, so guess who will be near the top? If it’s not you, then you really need help with your site. Use “incognito mode” if you don’t want Google Chrome to save a record of what you visit. Your webmaster should know how to do this and if you are not getting search utilization reports from him/her, then you need to ask Questions #3::
“Will you provide me search results including a few screen shots?
These reports will be with browsing history turned off and cookies disabled so they can give you an unbiased report. In Firefox, use Private Browsing. If this is too much work, you can check from a computer that is not at your office and you have never used to look up those keyword search phrases.
Do you have to be #1 on the search list?
The complex process that search engines use for determining how search results appear and the determination of search order is extremely important to businesses. It is not lonely at the top, since the first result on the list is selected by the user 32.5%* of the time. The second is 17.6%* and third is 11.4%*. If you are not in the top 3 results—don't worry. Most users will come back and select more than one result before they are satisfied with their research. The other positions are clicked on less but they are chosen. This leads to important Question #5 for your webmaster:
“What is your strategy to get me ranked on the first page?”
Most individuals searching on the internet will ignore the paid ads at the top and look at the unpaid results. Unpaid is a misnomer since many companies pay a web manager to get their website up into this spot. This list is known as the “organic” search. These companies decided that since pay-per-click ads only last as long as you pay the search engines, the benefits of organic results last longer. *Results from “The value of Google Result Positioning” by Chitika.
Traffic, hits, or click reports may be misleading.
You might have 100 individuals going to your website every day. But, if 94 of them skim the page and do not see what they are searching to find, they hit the backspace key and move on to another possibility. That tells Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines that while you have the words on your site, you do not have the content needed. This will affect your position on the results list. Question #6:
“What is our abandonment rate?”
When users click off your site after a few seconds. This is known as “abandonment” which is not what you want to score high in. Make sure they have a reason to stay for a few minutes. Videos are great for this because if the individual spends even 30 seconds watching your informational video or a testimonial, that is time on your site.
You should technically analyze your website.
One try is all you get before a searcher hits the back button because it is taking too long to load your site. Visual design is important but first an individual must load your website. Technically, a website’s page size, graphics, page load speed, structure, compression, caching, and lots more are crucial to keeping your website from spinning. Web users will not wait. Question #4 for your webmaster:
“How is my website’s performance?”
Don’t forget download speed needs to be very good AND the website must also visually grab the customer. It is not easy to do both. Make sure your website follows best graphic design practices and is optimized for performance.
Blog blog blog - will a blog bore me to death?
Blogging is a good way to provide relevant information and draw searchers to your site. However, if you do not keep it current, it can be detrimental to your rankings. Blogs and social media are content monsters and you may want to hire an expert to handle those mediums. You should ask Question #8:
“Will a blog help my rankings?”
Just make sure when you blog or if your web manager blogs for you, that it is relevant to your site. Also, excessive tags can get you penalized, so make sure you know what you are doing.
What draws potential customers to your site?
Your site must provide visitors with something special.
The internet search engine process is deliberately confusing since it has been manipulate by companies and SEO experts. Users got frustrated when the results took them to misleading sites that did not have the answers. Google and other search engines decided to make the information highway actually work and penalize the companies that try to influence the results. Question #10 for your web manager is easy:
“What heavily searched questions does my site answer?”
Most individuals search a word or phrase and expect a list of results that contains the answer they seek. To that end, search engines are creating complex algorithms to show only the sites with that information.
Recently, I spoke to a Stillwater Rotary on Google including how to get their websites moved up in the rankings. If you do not know about Rotary you should know it not only helps your business, it truly gives you a chance to make an impact. As an individual I can only do a little bit, but in Rotary, it is a lot of people coming together to help those around us.
Can you have too many back links to your website?
Google looks for expert websites that have timely, relevant, and useful information for individuals searching the internet. One way to tell if a website is considered to have expert information is by the links from other sites to it. These links are called backlinks and work best when the site back linking is highly rated. Question #7 for you webmaster:
“How many relevant backlinks do I have to my site?”
Remember the phone call from an SEO expert to get your website ranked fast? Watch out they may try to manufacturer hundreds of backlinks. At first, these may get you ranked but as Overstock, Forbes and JC Penny discovered, Google hunts these backlink manipulators and they will plummet in the rankings..
What was true last year for showing up in search results does not work now.
And what’s working right now is going to change drastically in less than a year.
Understanding the complex process that search engines use for queries and the determination of sites position is extremely important to your webmaster. We must constantly read, learn, discover, share, and attend education seminars. I won’t lie, sitting for 8 hours listening to info on Google is about as dry as you would think but that’s the best way I know to get the information. You should ask Question #9:
“How do you keep current on SEO? Did you attend the Confluence Conference?”
I was just at the OKC conference on Google sponsored by the Oklahoman. I met attendees from Mexico and Washing DC so it drew quite a lot of interest. You can imagine your webmaster’s surprise when you mention the conference. It was an enlightening 2 full days— a lot of stuff we had already figured out but down the road there are some major changes in search results. I learned a lot. Here I am with one of the speakers, Zeph Snapp, a extremely knowledgeable SEO specialist.