So you’ve created your shiny new website with all the bells and whistles to carry your message to the masses. But how will they find you? If you were to give someone your business address, they can plug that into any mapping website and get driving directions to your doorstep. Where are the “driving” directions to your website? There’s no easy way to know the address of a new website unless you know how to find it online. These days we find our online information through search engines—like Google, Bing, and Yahoo—and they provide the roadmaps to websites’ front doors. Lets take a look at what goes on behind the scenes to make that happen.
MOZ.com talks about the two primary functions of a search engine: to build a database of all websites and their pages, and to provide answers to search queries ranked by relevance and popularity. To build their databases, search engines send out automated robots that crawl across the entire world wide web, looking at every webpage, and following every link on every page to document connections and content. Each page is then indexed and ranked based on each search engine’s algorithms and is then placed into the database. When you conduct a search, the search engine returns a list of sites they think match your query, based on how their content is indexed and ranked. Where your website shows up in those results is critical. A Search Engine Watch report detailing research from Chitika, finds that the top five query results shared more than 75% of the average outbound traffic from search engines, and that the first page of results gets more than 90% of the traffic—compared to only 5% for page 2. So page one is always the goal, the higher the better.
Ranking is determined by a number of factors, and the important thing is that you have control over some of those factors through search engine optimization (SEO). SEO has two objectives–to make your website easier for the automated crawlers to read and index, and to make websites more user friendly. SEO uses a number of variables to increase search engines’ ranked value of the information each website contains. SEO Tips for Beginners lists a number of these variables, including using proper page titles and descriptions, employing a permanent link structure, optimizing images for speed and using tags for clarity, creating mobile friendly content, and probably the most important thing–creating original content that is interesting and useful. Google lists some ideas about what they consider quality content on their Webmaster Central Blog. If you can consistently create valuable content, and use some basic rules for how to publish and encode that information on your website, your search results will rise and people will find you.
Here at BOLTGROUP, our team has committed to write new content every month. We write about topics we know, those we feel are valuable to people conducting online researching related to branding, design, and creating experiences. When we publish to our site, we use proven practices to ensure that titles, tags, and descriptions are distinct and relate directly to the content. We use “long-tail keywords”—three- or four-word phrases that are more descriptive than a single word can be. And our site design is mobile friendly. These practices have helped propel our website into a much higher position in search engine results pages, even to the very top in some cases.
There are lots of ways to promote yourself on the Internet, both free and paid. However, in our experience, the use of a few simple techniques when creating a website or publishing new content online can be highly effective and will put your website on the road to more easy discovery.