Building a website is not assurance of being found online. Often, I am requested to take a look at a website that does not come up in the search engines when the owner of the company starts realizing that the organization is not showing up in search results. In fact I just got off the phone with someone who has that exact situation. The marketing manager tried Googling the company name, and their corporate office shows up, other affiliates show up, but their website is no where to be discovered among the search results.
You don’t want to be a guinea pig for someone’s botched SEO experiement, and a hastily built website is one that can be done inexpensively. Keep in mind that not all websites are created equally! Sometimes, you get what you pay for when you get an inexpensive website that is no where to be found in search results.
The site in question was newly created. It is not a graphic site, and the pages are able to be indexed. That’s the first thing I check.
Site architecture: What this means is that the site archetecture has to be created in a way that enables the search engines to read the ‘content’ on the pages. If the site is constructed of pictures (even if they look like text) the site cannot be read by search engines. Sometimes, less experienced web designers will skimp by using pictures instead of text because it’s faster and easier for them. You can take a few minutes to check your site to see if it’s pictures or text – try to highlight the words. If you can highlight them (just as if you were editing a word documents) then they are “content”. If you can’t seem to click on the words, and a whole area of the website is highlighted, then the words are pictures and not content.
Duplicate Content: The next culprit for a website not coming up in search engines is something called “duplicate content”. When you plagiarize content from another website, it is penalized by Google. Even if you “have permission” to use the content, realize that the first website most likely has more crediblity and authority than your new site does, and consequently, the first, and older and more authoritative site will come up in the search engines – your website will not. Not only will your website not come up, you will have to overcome the negative SEO that is the result of being “dinged” by the search engines. Even empty pages waiting for content are considered duplicate content. Not good for helping your optimization efforts. Better to wait to add pages until you have content to use on them, than to add the pages as placeholders.
Irrelevant Titles. I appreciate that writing for the web is unlike writing for any other media. Even journalists who are expert at understanding the pyramid of “who, what, when, where, how and why” have to adjust the way they write when it comes to writing for effective online content. I evaluated a site the other day where the white papers had excellent information, however they had cute titles for each, like “Square peg in round hole” or “Don’t eat the daisies”. From those titles, you would have no idea what that company does. Use a title to entice and intrigue and draw the right traffic. Use a keyword, at least one good keyword, in your title. Writing titles is an art that takes time, but it’s incredibly important to helping your website come up in a Google search.
Wrong Keywords. While discussing keywords, having an “optimized” website is great, but only if you are optimized for the right keywords or keyword phrases. Another client was optimized for “supply chain”, which is marginally connected to his business, and which can yield many other results than the very specific audience he hoped to attract. Using keywords that are too general and expecting to rank highly for them is a beginners mistake. Using appropriate keywords that are related to your customer’s search will be much more beneficial than using industry jargon that is company specific. There are many excellent tools that you can use to evaluate keywords for the number of times they are searched and even suggestions of other words or phrases that may be better than the phrase you are contemplating.
Wrong perspective. It surprises me that when a company launches a website, they tend to think of the world from their perspective. I guarantee that your customer thinks of your products or services differently than you do. Try to consider what a customer or prospect may be seeking, rather than what you offer. It may surprise you that the navigation on your website is all wrong.
No social profiles. If you think that social media is for everyone else, or that your type of company does not need a Facebook page, think again. Search engines take into consideration the mentions that come from social media. They also tend to rank those sites with many inbound links as more credible or authoritative. If you have no social presence, you are unlikely to have other social entities talking about your website.
No blog. So when did a blog become important? It became critical once the idea of inbound marketing caught on and so many companies started optimizing their online assets. Simply having a website with static content is no longer a huge plus. A blog adds dynamic content that enables you to address popular questions that your customers have. It also enables you to add compelling, keyword rich content that search engines love. Keep in mind, the content has to be valuable, not just keyword laden pablum. There are too may organizations that hire journalism majors to pound out article after article that has little to no value. If you are simply adding words to a page, eventually the search engines understand what you are doing and you will be dinged.
Bad inbound links. People who think they understand how search engines work sometimes resort to black hat tricks to try to improve their search ranking. This is a bad move. Eventually these black hat tactics catch up with your website and wind up with resultant penalties. Recovering from a bad link is not impossible, but it takes time. Instead, build good links with good sites and take the time to use Google Best Practices. It takes longer, but the results are sustained and have longevity.
Once you understand more about why your site is not coming up, you can begin the process to remedy the faults and begin to improve your search engine ranking. Just having a website is no longer enough for appropriate marketing – you need that website to be optimized and to be shown when your prospects and customers are looking for your product or services. Understanding why you aren’t coming up is just a step in the process. Not only is your website important but your entire social presence, including social media are now also important to search engine ranking.