Villing & Company

Why You're Not Getting Googled.

What do you say when the boss, asks “Why aren’t we showing up in Google?”

“Good question!” is probably not an answer that provides much job security.

How to enhance placement on search engines is by far the question we hear most frequently from clients when redesigning their Web sites. The process is called search engine optimization.

Let me explain. It starts with the amount of competition that exists for the top tier space in any particular search. Obviously, a locally-owned restaurant – like Parisi’s in South Bend – has a greater chance of appearing in the top-ten of a narrow, specific search – such as “South Bend Italian Restaurant” – than it does for a search of “Indiana Italian Restaurant”. Simply put, there’s just less competition for space in the former example.

So how could Parisi’s optimize the possibility of landing in the top 10 in a search using the “Indiana Italian Restaurant” example? Here are the basic steps to consider:

  1. Content on the Page
    Search engines try to provide results that match most closely with what people are searching for. Therefore, it's important to write text that is targeted to the specific keyword or words you believe your target audience will be using. It is also important to structure content so the most important keywords are toward the top of the page, and, ideally, included in a headline (coded with the proper headline HTML tag).
  2. Specific Page Titles & Meta Tags
    The page title, description and keyword tags in the HTML of each page should be specific to the content on that page. If the name of every page on the site is the same, search engine visitors won’t know what they are getting. People are more likely to click on links that mention the keywords they have typed in (either in the title of the link, or in the description)
  3. Keep Content Updated
    Search engines tend to favor pages that have been updated recently over those that haven’t changed in years.
  4. Reduce the Number of non-HTML Elements
    Placing important text and keywords in images, Javascript or Flash files can make it more difficult for search engines to read the page. Using bad HTML coding practices can also make the content more difficult for search engines to understand by changing the order of words and increasing the complexity of the page.
  5. Avoid using Javascript or Flash to Create Page Navigation
    If you want search engines to be able to follow your links and find all your pages, it is essential to create the site’s navigation in a way that search engines can see and follow. By creating navigation that shows up only for users with Flash and/or Javascript, you are effectively hiding the site from search engines. If using this sort of navigation is needed to achieve specific creative objectives, be sure to include an HTML-based navigation on every page, as well.

Essentially, there is no way to guarantee that a Web site will consistently appear in the top 10 of various searches. The Internet is just too dynamic and, for many marketers, the amount of competition is simply too intense. Even “pay-per-click” search engine ads also depend on the amount of competition that exists for the same space and are highly influenced by a bid process that can fluctuate based on what companies are willing to pay for premium space.

However, by following the rules outlined above, companies and organizations can maximize their potential in achieving high-level placements for their Web sites. At the very least, it will provide a good answer to give the boss.

Filed Under: web

Villing & Company

Villing & Co
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5909 Nimtz Parkway
South Bend IN 46628
574.277.0215

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