The object of a website is usually to promote a service, a range of products, or information. For the promotion to succeed it must attract a lot of visitors who are looking for that service, range of products, or information.

The object of search engines is to list web pages that are most relevant to their visitors’ searches.

So if you want your website to be found in a search you must make it relevant to the words you want people to find you under.

Keep in mind also that most people only look at the first two pages of search results so if you are on page 5 then it’s unlikely that your target audience will see your website. If you are on page 5,000 nobody will see the website.

Domain names
Some domain names reflect the ego of their owners. Some use the initials of their business name or their own name, e.g. htwg.com. They may mean something to them and some of their friends but mean nothing to the rest of the world. There are initials which are known around the world, e.g. BHP. But to start from scratch with just initials needs the resources of BHP.

Some use their personal name, e.g. billsmith.com. This also maybe known to their local friends but tells the world nothing about what they are promoting.

Some use a well-known phrase, e.g. whoopdeedoo.com. Once again, although this is easy to remember, it doesn’t say what product or service it is promoting.

Startups using such names are doomed.

If you are selling gardening services then why not have the word gardening as part of your domain name, e.g. smithsgardening.com, gardeningtownsville.com. We once asked a website owner why the name they chose did not represent any products they were selling. They replied that they might some time in the future change to a different industry. They later closed their website due to lack of visitors.

There are many websites that are very attractive with full screen image sliders but only fifty words on the home page. Google needs a lot of words on a web page to index it. In the eyes of Google a page with only 50 words is less relevant to a search than a page containing 300 words. Search engines don’t read images. So while a web page looks attractive, it’s a waste of time and money if nobody sees it.

Certainly you can describe your business in 50 words, but to compete with a million other web pages it’s a fact of life that you must provide more detail for Google.

There must not only be as much information as possible. It should be quality information. It should not be just padded out or repetitive. Google can detect such practices. Also, as it is online, sentences should be concise and easy to read, not rambling.

Some websites have only one page. But once again the quantity of information on competing websites means that the one page websites are not found in Google’s top twenty. so are unlikely to be seen. Why not add more pages of information?

All websites should now be responsive to mobile phones. A visitor should not need to zoom in and scroll sideways to read the content.

The page title of each page and the website title are very important for indexing by search engines. So if these do not contain search words then it is a lost opportunity. For example instead of pages titled About Us and Contact Us which do nothing for searches, why not About Gardening and Contact the Gardener (for websites on gardening). And don’t title the home page Home as a trillion others do! Be descriptive.

It should be easy for visitors to find the information they are looking for. Large websites should have a search box.

A word or phrase on a page which is hyperlinked to another page is indexed by search engines with more importance that other words. So use search words for hyperlinks. This applies to email addresses, which are hyperlinked. So instead of info@… use a search word like gardening@…

Incoming Links
Other relevant sites with links to your website are counted by search engines as indicating your popularity. The more popular your website is the more relevant it must be. You can list your website with quality directories, local search directories and industry groups for such links. Don’t list with Link Farms. Search engines can see artificial popularity.

Common Sense
All the above tips are really common sense.

Imagine you are looking in a bookshop for say a book on gardening. You probably look first for books with the word Gardening in their titles. You would compare the size of the books and conclude that a book with say 300 pages has more information than a book with only 100 pages. You would look at the chapter titles to see if they covered the information you were seeking. You would ask the store which books were more popular.

The same principles apply to making a website successful.

You can always pay an SEO expert to improve your ranking with search engines. They usually charge $99 per month, but often only provide a lot of incoming links, which stop when you stop paying.

Website owners know their own business best. So by making the changes described above they can improve their ranking for good, not just a few months.

We wrote this article after a number of websites closed down due to poor design, poor SEO, lack of updates over a number of years, poor targeting of visitors.