Customers will typically ask us at the onset of their website design and development project what we will do so that they can get found on Google and other search engines. There really isn’t a simple answer and unfortunately many of our customers have lost thousands of dollars to companies who make false promises regarding website search engine optimization.
We work hard to make sure that each website we built has the greatest ability to be found. This is what we can promise. What we can’t promise, is that your website is going to be at the top of the search engines for all of the searches you’d like to be found for. We want your site to get lots of traffic, transactions and create successful outcomes for your business too! So let’s discuss how search engines find and display website search results.
How it Works
Search engines are designed to find you what you were intending to find in a search. This is what keeps you coming back and using the search engine. Here are some factors the search engines use to determine how relevant your website page is for a user’s search:
Website elements we can help control
First things first. A search result displays a page or set of pages, not an entire website. So it’s important to optimize each important page in your website.
- Domain Name – Does your domain name contain the search term or part of the search phrase?
- Page Name – Does the name and URL of the page contain the search term or part of the search phrase?
- Readability – Can the search engine read all of the text on the page and does it contain the search term or part of the search phrase?
- Headings – Are heading in the website properly organized and do the main headings contain the search term or part of the search phrase?
- Length of Content – Is there enough rich and relevant content or are there just a few works
- Images – Do the images contain the search term or part of the search phrase in the file name, title, and/or image caption/description
- Sitemap Submission – Has the sitemap (list of all pages/posts in the website) been submitted to the search engine so that it knows of the page’s existence?
- Interlinking – Do you link from one page to another with relevant keywords in your website?
- Speed – Do your pages appear quickly or are they taking a long time to load?
- Mobile – Is your page marked as mobile-friendly or does it have mobile readability issues?
- HTTPS / Security – Is your page running over https exclusively?
Elements we can’t control
While these elements don’t have anything to do with the design and development of your website, we’re happy to steer you in the right direction to do improve upon these.
- Credibility – Does the page receive a lot of unique visits, views and time spent on the website?
- Confirmation – When a visitor clicks on my page in a search result, did they find what they were looking for or did they go back to the search results?
- Authority – Does the page have important website domains linking to it and with the relevant keyword in the link?
- Maps and Business Properties – Does the business have a Google Maps or other location listing? These listings are often displayed ahead of regular web pages in search results.
- Reputation – Does my business listing on Google or other properties (Facebook, Yelp, etc) have lots of rich, positive reviews?
This is the stuff we will never do and strongly recommend you don’t do:
- Slow, Bloated Web Page – If your web page is receiving a low grade on speed and performance, your results may be negatively affected.
- Keyword Stuffing – If you are trying to be sneaky and stick a bunch of keywords in your meta descriptions that aren’t actually found in the content of the page; your results may be negatively affected.
- Hidden links/text – If you are sticking a bunch of keywords in your content but hiding it through style because you know users don’t want to see them; your results may be negatively affected.
- Duplicate content – if you are copying content directly from another source, and that source is the authority of the content; your results may be negatively affected.
- Text in Images – If some of your best content is inside an image, the search engine isn’t able to read this. It’s best to put your text in html.