Is your website healthy? I don’t mean healthy for other people or to you. By that I mean, does it have all the right pieces to be rewarded with search traffic? In other words, have you or your web person fed all the right information to the website so Google shows it in the search engine results page when people search?

As I said in my previous article, “Top 5 Myths About Online Marketing That Just Aren’t True“, being in position #1 on Google isn’t the goal. It’s actually not even a realistic goal, because the #1 position will vary based upon a lot of factors, including geography, your customers’ personal search history, your competition, and a host of other factors.

But in order to be rewarded with search traffic, Google has a list of things that it does want to see from you. They want to display the “healthy” websites that have it all lined up, and show those first. With so much competition, figuring that out can be a challenge.

Here is my top 5 things your website needs to be found in the search engines:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – This is the fundamental criteria that Google looks at first, and probably the one that most commonly misses the mark. Do you have good page titles? Do they match the content on that page? Do they match what people are actively searching for without stuffing keywords? Is the content good quality content that provides value to the reader?
  • Mobile-Aware and Modern Coding – Without getting too technical, I’ve been saying for some time now that if your website was built two years or more ago, you probably need to refresh the design using current standards (i.e. HTML5/CSS3). It makes your content much easier to understand, and that much easier to change. With that, your website must be mobile-responsive too, and Google is rewarding those mobile-aware sites with higher rankings.
  • Fresh Content – Making sure you have fresh content on a regular basis is critical. Google demands it and your customers do too. The most common way these days is to have a blog (but making sure they’re optimized – see point #1 above). Having an active blog that you’re writing in, even if it’s just once a month, will go a LONG way to help your search rankings.
  • Social Signals – If people are coming into your website from social media, liking posts, +1-ing things, sharing your posts, leaving comments and creating trackbacks (very useful!), these are all signals that Google notices. If you’ve got people interacting with your content in this way, it means that it’s clearly important to others. Google will reward these sites with higher position in the search results.
  • Google Search Console – Have you registered your site with Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) and configured it? My strong suspicion is that by validating that you manage your website through Google, they’re more likely to “trust” your site information than a site that isn’t.

A couple other things that you should have that probably don’t have much to do with it being “healthy” in Google’s eyes, but will go a long way to helping you capture leads include:

  • Trust-building factors – Reviews, testimonials, logos like the Better Business Bureau, Verisign, and McAfee Secure (formerly HackerSafe) and so on help build trust with your visitors. The more they trust you, the more likely they are to give you money for your products and/or services.
  • Lead capture on every page – Making sure people can engage with you on EVERY page of your website and blog means that they don’t have to hunt for a way to get in touch. If you bury your phone number at the bottom in tiny font, or worse, only on your Contact Us page, it makes it much more difficult to engage. They may just give up and go elsewhere. After all, we all have competition, right? Who wants to make it easier for the other guy?

Online Marketing and SEO Workshop

If you’re struggling to figure out how to get all this done properly so your website is “healthy”, we have an SEO and online marketing workshop for non-web geeks (it’s OK if you’re a geek too!) coming up the in January near San Francisco, California. During this workshop, you’ll learn how to find out what your customers are searching for and the right way to get found by them! We’ll go step-by-step with you as you work on your own website right in class (bring your laptop!). If you’re planning your training for 2016, now is the time to sign up.

By the way, you don’t need to be a web geek to do this. We guarantee that every question you have will be answered in layman’s terms and demonstrated so you can walk away with a plan in place to get found on Google. The Master class includes six months of follow-up support so you can continue to get help as you implement your plans.

Hear what past students have said about the class here (video).

Space is limited to 10 people, so please register now ».