Alternative Title: How to Get Your New (Or Old) Website to Show Up in Search Results in 3 Easy Steps
Congrats! You made a website. That’s awesome and super important if you’re a small business. But wait- you actually want people to find and read your website? Slow your roll there, wild thing. You’ve got a bit more homework to do before the masses can start fawning over your URL.
1) Set Up a Sitemap
Even though search engines send out webcrawlers to scour the darkest corners of the Internet, they, too, can get lost in the endless information out there- just like your consumers. When you set up a sitemap on your website, you make it easier for search engines to find, read, and categorize the information on your website so they can deliver it to interested consumers. The sitemap is especially important for new websites and those without a lot of external links because, “Googlebot and other web crawlers crawl the web by following links from one page to another. As a result, Google might not discover your pages if no other sites link to them,” (source). The good news is that it’s really easy to set up a sitemap. You can install a plugin on your WordPress website like this one or this one. Or, you can go here for more information on how to build your sitemap from scratch.
2) Don’t Let The Pictures Do The Talking
In our Instagram-able world, I know it’s tempting to turn your every thought into a neat little square. Resist that temptation and work on your typing skills instead. Search engines like words- lots of words. Despite our ever-evolving technology, search engines still can’t read pictures and so they need lots of text in order to understand what your site’s all about.
Go easy on those sweet little webcrawlers and spend time on writing keyword-rich content that your consumers will actually want to read.
3) Location Location Location
Consumers are no longer merely interested in information about a product or service- they want to know where they can find and buy that product or service near them TODAY. In fact, Google says that 46% of all searches are local (source). Aim to include your business location on every single page of your website. For example, if you make the best ice cream EVER in Swirly, TX but you never mention that you are located in Swirly, TX, than anyone searching for “awesome strawberry ice cream sundaes near Swirly, TX” will not find you. Get it?
Ultimately, the biggest factor in whether Google or other search engines serve up your delicious content is whether or not their algorithms tell them its useful. And the best way to prove that you are useful is to BE useful. Write content for your consumer. Think about the questions they might have and answers them. Then, tell your customers about your content. The more they click on it and share it with friends, the higher you’ll rank in search.
Happy Website Optimizing!