There are several ways that people find your website once it’s published on the Internet. Let’s talk about some of the most common and popular ways.
- 1. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, AOL, Netscape and MSN. There are many search engines available, but these are currently the most popular, however not listed in any specific order here.
- 2. Off line direct marketing and advertising materials. This includes print advertisement which are your business cards and company stationary, newspapers and magazines. This category also includes tv and radio.
- 3. Links or ads residing on other websites that when clicked, take visitors to your website.
- 4. One of my favorites is word of mouth.
Now you have the four most common ways that people find your web site. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Well, now I’ll burst your bubble, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Let’s talk a little bit about the search engines themselves and a few myths and misconceptions people have about them and how they interact with web sites. You just may find it doesn’t work the way you may think.
About Search Engines, a Few Myths & Why Good Optimization is So Important
Did you know that just putting a web site on the Internet does not guarantee that people will find it? It’s amazing how many people actually believe not only this, but some also believe that a site is immediately found through a search engine the moment it’s uploaded. This is quite honestly the farthest thing from the truth!
If it were this easy, there wouldn’t be a need for search engine optimization companies or Internet marketing companies for example. The number of web design companies would drop because this would mean absolutely everyone could publish a site and have it be a success. The fact that these businesses exist should be your first clue that it’s not as simple as some people think.
Some people believe that one simply needs to enter your company name or the website address (also known as a URL) and the site will pop up. Sometimes this will work, especially with bigger companies offering well known products. If you were to do this and enter specifically correct information – like the correct web site address – you will probably find your site comes up as #1, but this ranking would be absolutely meaningless. This is also not how web surfers search in most cases. Many times people don’t know the name of your company or your product or being human, they may not get it “just right.” If this were the only way to find a web site, it would be a very restrictive and would allow for a large number of mistakes.
What if the visitor doesn’t know the name of your company or the specific name of your product? When that happens, they are going to enter related words to what they’re looking for. If your site is not properly optimized and had enough time in existence, they’re not going to find it either.
Another reason a web site needs to be properly optimized is that domain names are not always the same as the business name or product. There may also be duplicate domain names but one may end in .com and another in .net for example. If the web surfer enters the more common .com and your site is .net they have just landed on another site, which may also be your direct competition or could even be one of those unsavory sites that you don’t want your children to visit! This type of activity not only doesn’t get people to your site, it may also damage your valuable reputation.
Some Do’s & Don’ts When it Comes to Search Engine Optimization
- 1. The most important thing to remember about getting good rankings (which helps your site get found and in turn helps you sell your product) is that “content is King!” I can’t stress this enough. Some site owners are under the mistaken impression that the site’s eye candy is of the utmost importance. Not true at all. Yes, your site should be visually appealing, no doubt about that. But the bottom line is “what does your site say?” Does it have enough content? To much content? Is the content related to your site topic or did you just throw some unrelated additional pages in to get more pages? Is the content written in such a way that it will help rather than hurt your site and its rankings?
- 2. You will need to learn the art of patience. New sites in particular need time to gain ranking and visitors. Statistics show that you should expect to wait three to five years if your site is optimized properly and you utilize other good marketing methods. That’s considerably less time than a site that has not been optimized. Existing sites that have been online for a few years yet have poor rankings and a low visitor count and who hire a reputable SEO company can sometimes see results in just weeks or a few months! Your SEO Specialist will give you ways in which you can help this process. The more you participate, the better for your web site. You don’t create your own web site or pay a designer to do it and then walk away. Stagnant web sites eventually just die off. SEO is not a case of “set it and let it.” Search engine optimization ideally needs to be an ongoing process.
- 3. Even though the Internet is a major force in business growth and opportunity, you should also be advertising in media such as telephone books, newspapers, maybe radio or tv. Never ever depend solely on your web site alone to make your business a success! Even if it’s the very best site on the Internet, your web site should be considered just one of your overall business marketing tools.
- 4. Dueto the ever changing evolution of search engines, search engine techniques and algorythms, your competition, other reasons to numerous to mention and additionally the growth of the Internet – a reputable SEO Specialist will never a guarantee Top 10 placement in any search engine. If someone is promising you the moon, runnnnn!
- 5. Submitting to numerous search engines is no longer necessary and in fact can get your site banned. Several of the popular search engines get their information through Google. There are only a handful of respectable, popular search engines. SEO companies (translation “scammers”) who make big promises are really just taking advantage of you and your wallet. In order to make good on their promise to you to submit to X numbers of search engine submissions, they submit sites to any and every search engine imaginable. They don’t care which ones, they only promised you a number so they haven’t violated the contract. Some of these deal in porn and other unsavory topics. Do you really want your business (and yourself!) associated with search engines like this?
- 6. Submitting your site to the search engines weekly, monthly or on some kind of schedule is a no-no. A search engine only needs to obtain your information once. Repeated submissions are not necessary and is another way to get your site banned. Do not latch onto one of those companies that promise to submit your site to a large number of search engines. This is truly a case of “if it sounds to good to be true ” it probably is.”
- 7. The way to the top is to stuff your keyword meta tags with as many words and phrases as you possibly can. This is very old school, stone-age type search engine optimization. There is a limit to how many keywords or phrases the search engines legally allow. The rest will be ignored.
- 8. Along with keyword meta tag stuffing comes adding a ton of key phrases at the bottom of the site pages. These are many times not even seen with the naked eye because they hide them by using the same color for the text as the site background color or a color that’s very close.
Utilizing any one of or combination of the above puts your site and your business in jeopardy because what stands to happen is your site being banned from the important, reputable and popular search engines. Once that happens, you can wind up with the sometimes impossible task of trying to get it reinstated. You may get lucky but it won’t be easy. On the other hand, your site may never see the face of a good search engine again.
Believe it or not folks, the search bots have a brain. Feed them right and with a little time and some good hard work, you’ll experience success. Feeding them to much junk food or starving them is not healthy for your web site or your business.