The title should really be “How to get noticed by Google”. Google plays such a significant part in Internet visibility that this is where you have to start. There are other search engines that are just as good, if not better and more or less the same rules apply for them but Google is top dog, at least at the moment.
Google doesn’t really notice or care if your website looks good, if it’s attractive or wins prizes for design. What Google does notices is how many visitors it gets and, just as importantly, how long those visitors stay. To prove the point, the Google website is pretty ugly really, as are all it’s other “services” pages and sites. In fact a lot of high traffic websites are not very attractive – FaceBook is appalling with a ghastly UX (user interface) and Twitter is not far behind. However I’m not suggesting that an ugly website is a recipe for success!
The problem for new websites is that it’s difficult to generate traffic when you are not popular and you do not become popular until you generate lots of traffic. Catch 22. Unless you put in a lot of effort, money and have some good luck your website will always be in the “noise”. No matter how much your website shouts “Look at me! Look at me!” you’ll never be noticed because you don’t rank well on a Google search. In fact it’s pointless to shout at your visitors. If they do visit it will be through a good Google ranking or are referred to by a friend or another friendly website.
We are starting to get into territory you do have some control over.
So, how to rank well on Google? There are hundreds if not thousands of books written on this topic, websites devoted to it, conferences arranged to discuss it and it’s an area that attracts most of the bottom dwellers in the website industry. Firstly, Google looks at pages, rather than websites. So you need to have each page in your website addressing a particular subject or topic. This subject should be one that people actually do search for. You can use Google Trends to judge this for yourself. To optimize your page for the search engines (not just Google) the subject keyword/s should be in the pathname/filename, in the page title tag, in the meta description tag for the page, in an H1 heading tag and mentioned at least two or three times in the text on the page. All images should also have appropriate path and filenames, have alt text tags and also an on-topic title tag. With all of this in mind, the page should be engaging to look at and the text interesting enough for the website visitor to take the time to actually read it. It’s important to engage the visitor for at least 30 seconds and not click away to another page or website in just a second or two. There are many mistakes that can be made implementing these guidelines but basically, that’s all there is to it! No mystery, no black magic, no need to spend thousands on SEO cowboys. It’s pretty simple. Just use common-sense and don’t try anything tricky. But if you don’t understand any of this then contact us.
Of course, having properly optimized pages is only a part of the process. (Check out Page Speed) But if you have the SEO basics done correctly then you will have some hope of success, if you are patient. It might take a few months but gradually proper attention given to the points above will start to make a difference.