Nine Steps to Getting Your Website Noticed
If you're running a business in 2011, it's a no-brainer that you need a
website. But is your company's site in the fast lane of the information
superhighway or stuck in a cyber cul-de-sac?
Put another way, is it doing its job in terms of driving customers to
look at and buy your goods and services? Does it appear at, or near, the
top of an online search?
No matter how good your site looks, it's wasted if your online audience
is too small. As most people know, you can pay to boost your search
rankings - Google Ads, for example, will boost your standing, at a
price. But there are some free tricks and tools that you, or your Web
designer, can use to boost your ranking.
1. Search engines don't just find out site by accident - they need to
know you exist. At the very least, submit your site to the "big three":
Google, Yahoo! and Bing (owned by Microsoft). Key links include:
2. Another key place to submit your site is
www.dmoz.org/help/submit.html . This is an independent, nonprofit
Web-monitoring project that links to Google's directory. When you submit
your site to dmoz, it will be checked by a real human being - now
there's a novelty. The downside is that human beings, especially
volunteers, take their time, so it may be a while before you reap the
3. Does your site have a sitemap? It's an often-neglected file that
gives search engines a list of your website's contents. The good news is
that you don't even have to know how to make a map. Several sites, such
as www.xml-sitemaps.com, will generate one for you. Again, you'll need
to submit your sitemap to search engines.
4. Content is king when it comes to making your website visible to
users, but put yourself into the minds of your potential customers.
Let's say you're a shoe seller in Seattle. What would potential
customers type into a search engine in order to find you? They might be
looking for someone local to them, for a particular brand, size or type
of shoe. Now look at the text of your website. Have you got all these
5. Keywords are hidden within the code of your website, but they should
cover any search terms that your customers might use. It is worth
getting them right. Google's search based keyword tool (search "keyword
tool" at www.google.com), can help. Ironically, Google doesn't take any
account of keywords. Other search engines do, though.
6. Photos lift your website's appearance - and they can also help search
engines if you're canny with naming the files. So
"Nike_Seattle_shoes.jpg" will help, while "shoepic47.jpg" will do
7. Links from other sites to yours can really boost your rankings, so
it's worth getting involved in forums and discussion boards and linking
back to your site. But beware of asking your best friend to link to your
site in exchange for you doing the same. Search engines are wise to
this tactic and disregard it.
8. Meta tags are optional HTML coding elements that provide information
about a Web Page. Your description meta tag is hidden from view , but
it's a vital smoke signal for search engines. It's your chance to
describe succinctly what your website is about. So keep it short and
sweet but remember that each page of your website can - and should -
have a separate description.
9. In contrast, a more visible device is the headings you can use on
your website. These are essential reading for search - engine robots.
Make them relevant. Better still, make them feature your site's
Now, armed with this information, go back to your website designer and
check that your site is search-engine optimized. There are no guarantees
this will result in more business, but it will certainly raise the
profile of your site and pit it in front of more potential customers.