Note: This is a series of weekly articles designed for the novice to learn step-by-step how to improve their position on the search engines. Each step takes approximately 15 minutes, and are all easy to implement. If you, the reader, takes each step one by one each week, you’ll soon be getting better search engine results, and hopefully more qualified visitors to your website.
Last week, we talked about how to see what Google sees when they look at your website. It’s critical to know where you are today, before you can start planning for tomorrow.
The first thing I ever do when evaluating someone’s website is to type into the Google search bar: site:yourwebsite.com (where “yourwebsite.com” is your company’s website address or domain name). I look at how many pages are indexed, where it says “x results” at the top left. This tells me how many pages Google sees. If you know you have 25 pages on your site, and Google sees 3, that’s a problem we’ll address next week.
The next thing I look at is the different listings Google is listing. Each of the listings is a page that Google sees, and it may look something like this:
This is what a searcher on Google would see if he or she managed to find your website in Google’s search engine results page (SERP).
This is a much better example of what the Title and Description tags should look like – much longer, much more descriptive and having useful information that invites a person into the website.
What Do I Do With That Information?
The main thing I’m focused on is the blue or purple (if you’ve clicked the link before) main headline. That’s called the Title tag, and you have 100% control over what gets displayed there. It’s also the most influential factor for helping Google to understand what your website is all about.
If you see generic things, like “Home Page” or “Welome”, “Contact Us”, “About Us” or things like that, you’re invisible. If you think about how many millions of web pages that are called “Welcome” or “Home”, Google has no way to know which one should show up at the top of the SERP. Further more, if your customers see it (somehow) in the search results, it’s not speaking to THEM and not helping determine if they could click or not.
So bad or generic Title tags will not show up on Google, and will not get clicked on generally.
Next, focus on the two black lines below the Title tag. This is called your Description tag, and it’s your first opportunity (and possibly last) to market to a potential customer. If your Description tag isn’t descriptive and helping people decide if they should click over to you, they’ll skip you and go somewhere else. Just as if you don’t have an attractive storefront window, and it’s empty or dusty, people will pass you buy and go elsewhere to do business.
So it’s imperative that you fix your TItle and Description tags with enticements to come check you out.
- Do the site:yourwebsite.com command on Google, on a competitor website and some other site in a related industry. Read each Title tag, and each Description tag and see what they say to you (as a person who is looking to do business with you). If they aren’t inviting, tell your web guy/gal to fix them!
- The Title and Description tags should be very easy to fix. If you use WordPress or another type of content management website (CMS), you should be able to log in and make changes to each individual page on your site.
- The Title should be keyword-rich at the beginning, and at least 65 characters long (including spaces and punctuation), but don’t exceed 100 characters.
- The Description should also have at least 165 characters long, but don’t exceed 250. You need include a keyword phrase about that specific page too. Make it “you” focused, instead of “we” or “I”. In other words, use something like, “If you’re having trouble with hobbits in your office, call us at 888-000-0000 for a free inspection and recommendation. Want guaranteed work and results? Call us now to set up an appointment.” (191 characters).
Either make these changes yourself, or have your web person manage it for you if you don’t know how. Then sit back and wait about a month for Google to figure it out. Do another site:yourwebsite.com in about a month, and Google should have figured out the changes you’ve made. This will be one of the biggest changes you can make to help Google know whether or not to display your webpages.
Oh, by the way, why didn’t I talk about the Keywords tag? Isn’t that where all your keywords should go? Nope. Google ignores the Keywords tag, because everyone stuffs all their keywords there. Just ignore it and leave it blank. It won’t help you at all.
Be ready for some more next week too!
Please ask any questions below.