Be honest with us, when was the last time you went beyond the first page of results in a Google search?
Your website is your most valuable marketing asset. It is a place where your customers can find out the relevant information about you and an opportunity for you to showcase the types of guest experience you offer for new and returning guests. However, what use is a website if no one can find it?
Here are some simple tricks you can action in order to help your website be found online.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
When you type something into Google, it relates the words to online sites that include the same phrases. SEO creates an index, and then provides the user with a ranked list of websites considered the most relevant based on the search. But the relevance is not just sorted on the word association between the user's search and the websites available. Factors include:
- How long user's spend on your website (longer stays = higher SEO)
- Page load speed (user's leave quickly if the page is not loading, impacting the time spent on your site)
- Broken links, which suggests that a website is old and no longer in use. Make sure every link is functioning!
- Social media accounts can also influence your SEO, if you have accounts under the same name as your business, it may add to your SEO
- Header tags help break your content into sections, and assist the search engine understand the content of that page.
- 'Contact Us' pages are shown to be more trustworthy and therefore can boost your SEO
- Extra points are given if your website can load on any device (laptop, tablet, mobile phone)
- URLs that include key phrases, separate words (using dashes or hyphens)
Within a few milliseconds, the search engine will have compiled the above factors and more to provide a ranking of relevant websites for the user!
Submit your website to Google
Another step can be submitting your site to Google. While Google will inevitably find your website through the constant crawling of the internet, you can speed up the process by making them aware of you. This is especially relevant if you are launching a new site or have made major changes to your existing site.
While creating or updating your website, keep in mind what your product is and what your customers are most likely to type into a search engine when looking for you. Try to include relevant words throughout your website for the search engine as it will detect and organise the results based on relevancy. Remember that when you Google something, you are probably typing in a question to find out the name of a place, company or person. Follow your user's steps and associate yourself with questions like "Arcades in [your location]" or "Does [your location] have an arcade?". Additionally, Google aims to help its users through its keyword assistance, in which it suggests more popular keywords for your website which may position your business to gather more viewer on the page.
Locals Know Best
SEO also takes into account location, with the assumption that many of us are searching for interests within our own city. To take advantage of this, you will need to claim your business (you do this in GoogleMyBusiness) and fill out the relevant information and make it clear on your website. This will then rank you higher according to the proximity of your business and the user.
Another option to being found online is purchased promotion. There are plenty of websites that offer this service, and match your product to your target market while they are using the internet. Also worthwhile is to look at Search Engine Marketing (SEM). While this may seem complicated, there are lots of specialised agencies who can assist you with this.
In case your images don't load on someone's browser, make sure you have alternate text behind it. This adds to your keyword search but also compliments your website (we don't know what 7834540.jpg is but 'New Game Night Event at X location/your business name' might be a bit more useful). Also make sure that your images are low resolution so they load quickly.
Just a thought
Before embarking on the paid promotion route and spending your money, identify your target market. There is no shortage of analytics websites (specifically Google Analytics and it's free) out there which can compile information about your website and show you who is viewing it. This information is important as it can relate to your marketing efforts, and recommend who you should continue to target to, or whether or not certain markets were successful in advertising to.
So getting found online has been discussed, but how about the things you might be doing that limits your exposure? This may include:
- An inactive website (rarely online, unresponsive, has not been updated recently)
- A website which has been reported as malicious or related to scams
- Bad blog comments, poor reviews and ratings (if you have spammed comments on your website, make sure they are reported and removed! Or set it up so you have to approve of any blog comments before it publishes)
- Insecure websites - you need the https:// (Google prefers to send people to trusted sites. An SSL certificate authenticates your website and encrypts data). If your site in not secured, Google will penalise you.
- Poor spelling and grammar errors
One of the best tips we can give you, is that SEO is never truly complete. There are always new ways in which your content is analysed and ranked, so once you have caught up to date on it, make sure to review it often and continuously create new content.