Search engines such as Google are most common entry points for users to navigate to other web sites. If your web site is not listed on the first page of search results, this means you lost up to 80% of potential clients. Only two out of ten internet users surf beyond the first page of search results.
Activities which contribute to a better placement of your web site in search engines are called search engine optimizations. Search engines use “crawler” programmes, which visit web sites on occasion and read the contents. On the basis of collected data the search engine indexes the sites: Collects them, processes and saves the data which enables a quick and accurate passing of information. Google uses a special algorithm to designate importance, which is a carefully kept secret.
Optimization can roughly be divided on technical optimization, optimization of contents and building connections. Our first concern is to ensure proper programming. Optimization of contents means adopting the texts, titles, names of menu bars and other attributes, so search engines properly “understand” the contents and can do a better job placing them. Here we can make a few simple, yet useful changes. This can support the activities of other contractors you might hire to optimize your web site, or just work on the third segment – building connections.
Your key words
Key words are the terms users type into the search engine when looking for something. It can be a single word or a phrase. First, try to think like a user, and think what they are likely to write if they were interested in contents at your web site. If you are for example a part of the meetings industry, your key words will include: conference hall hire, conference, event organizers et cetera. You can check your key words in two ways. First, simply type them into the search engine and see how relevant they are. Remember the placing of your web site among the search results. To get relevant results use the version of Google which doesn’t consider your search history and gives you unbiased and impersonalized results. You can find it at http://www.google.com/xhtml.
Then you can check how searched your key words are. You can use the free tools Google Insights for Search (http://www.google.com/insights/search/) and Google Adwords Keyword Tool (you can find it by typing google keyword tool into the search engine). This way you can asses which of your key words are searched enough they are worth highlighting on the web site and maybe even get other ideas.
Web site contents
When your list of key words is ready it’s time to include them on your web site. If you can edit the contents of your website yourself you have many options for improvement.
Check the text on your web site and change it to include the key words you have selected. It is important they are present at the beginning of the text, in titles and subtitles. They can even be written in bold letters since the search engine crawlers can pick this up and mark it as more important. Also, manage the names of menus on the web site. Key words used in names of menus will have more weight from the point of view of the search engine.
Metacontents are contents which can’t be seen directly on the web site and are directed exclusively at search engines. If you can edit this part of the web site as well, make sure your key words are included along with brief descriptions. These should also include key words and should not be copies of text from the site.
Pictures can be a valuable asset as well. Most of the time the picture files on web sites are named like this: IMG00965.jpg. Before uploading them to your webpage make sure they have relevant key words in their names, such as conference-hall.jpg. When naming them also enter a short text where you describe what is on the picture.
Patience pays off
The visits from crawlers and site indexation take time, so optimisation results won’t be visible immediately. You will have to wait a few months to see results, yet you should still take time to check your position in the search results as well as your key words. Your list of key words will help you when preparing new content for the web site as well as aid possible contractors, who will carry out other activities to optimize your search listings.