If you have a website, you know that if you aren’t doing well in Google, you’re probably not doing well on the web in general. And, over the years, I’ve had more than one client come to me asking about an SEO (search engine optimization) “expert” that has contacted them. These folks tend to make crazy promises of getting your site on the first page of Google results, etc.
Usually, I tell clients to steer clear of these unsolicited offers. No matter what they’re offering you, they most likely cannot guarantee you’ll be in the first page of results. They can’t reasonably guarantee anything, for that matter.
While there are many legitimate SEO gurus out there, the good ones generally don’t contact you out of thin air. The ones who do often use methods that are going to get your website punished by Google, instead of promoted.
Changes Are Coming
Google is always making changes to how sites are ranked. And, finally, the criteria for judging a website’s worth in the search engines is now starting to be based on quality of content. Google’s Official Webmaster Central Blog has a great post about this with some examples.
Instead of using the old fashioned (can I say that about something on the web?) method of using keywords as a top criteria for determining how well your site does in Google’s ranking, compelling content is going to be the key.
So, the bottom line for website owners is that you’re going to have to think more about what makes up the site, rather than just how it looks. If your site’s home page is just a bunch of photos with no relevant text, Google’s not going to like you as much.
That doesn’t mean that you need to have a boring, text-based design. The key is going to be keeping your website updated with content that has some relevance to your business.
Here are some things you can do:
- Have an email newsletter? Why not post, or at least link to, an online archive? You may even want to start a “News” section of your site (if you haven’t already) and just take the top two or three articles from your newsletter and post them.
- If you’re running a static, HTML website, consider switching to WordPress or another content management system (CMS) that makes updating easier. They’re also great at fine-tuning your site for search engines to crawl.
- Be sure to list any upcoming events (public or industry-related) that you will be attending.
- Setup a blog and use it as a resource for your customers. Let them know about the latest trends and link to useful articles that are related to your industry. The articles don’t have to be long, and you don’t even have to write every day.
- Allow customer feedback on your website. Perhaps setting up a Q&A section where customers can get their questions answered would be worthwhile. After all, other people may have the same question. And, when people have questions, they’ll often search for the answers.
As Google continues to tweak its algorithms, the sites that are simply trying to cheat the system with hundreds of useless keywords are going to plummet in the rankings. Make sure that yours isn’t one of them!