The answer to this question is basically, through hard work.
Unfortunately, you can’t just make an amazing website and expect it to be up there on the first page. If you search for something on Google, the chances are, there’s some websites on the 1st page that are not fantastically designed and seem really basic, looking like they were made during the Windows 95 era.
The fact is, they’ve probably been ticking away and been worked on regularly for many years. And these websites have a good customer base with visitors remaining on their website for more than a millisecond.
So, what can you do to compete?
Firstly, the most important thing on your website will be content, content and more content. This should be well written, so please use a spell checker. There’s nothing more unprofessional than bad grammar and punctuation. You could have the most attractive website in the world which would be nothing if the writing isn’t up to scratch. Prospective customers just won’t take you seriously. Also, use the content wisely, putting in phrases that you hope ‘would be’ customers will be searching for on Google. Think about the way you search. I wouldn’t mind betting, most of you reading this probably ask questions like, Where can I buy a cordless drill in the UK? or ‘What is the best restaurant in Cardiff?’ etc. So, try to incorporate questions in your website content, even if it’s a FAQ’s page with questions and answers relating to your products or services. That way someone could find your website by typing one of those questions into Google or other search engine.
Your page title
When you make a web page, you need to enter a title. This website is Aunty Lil’s Place but a few additional words relating to the website are added. ie. Aunty Lils Place – Articles on Diet, Gardening and other useful Trivia. So think carefully how you can add value to your title.
Your home page should have a great description, again using phrases that are key to your products and services. It might be clever to use big words and flowery sentences but that’s no good for people trying to find you amongst the zillions of websites out there. Keep it basic but full of sensible phrases that could be searched for. There’s no point in mentioning things you don’t do in the hopes you’ll get visitors, as they’ll click straight off your website creating a large bounce rate. That will tell Google the search term used wasn’t relative to your website and basically give you a black mark. This will do more harm than good. Sending you down the rankings instead of up.
Keywords and Descriptions
Google doesn’t take a lot of notice of keywords these days, though there are other search engines that do, so there’s nothing wrong with adding keywords. Also, Google does take note of meta descriptions. So add meta descriptions to your pages and items for sale. These descriptions are hidden in the source code. To get an idea of what a popular website is doing, right click on their website and click on ‘view source’, If you don’t understand html and css etc., just look near the top of the page for items like <title>, <description> and <keywords> to see what your rival is using. This will help you think about your own content.
Love it or hate it, Social Media is the way to go for Site Engine Optimisation. I recently read an article that Google are now placing a lot of importance on your likes and followers on Social Media. It also gives you all important backlinks, which basically make Google think you must be worth putting higher up the search list. So, the more followers you can get, the better. Get yourself on Google+, Have a business page on Facebook, do Twitter and have a Pinterest page showing your products. Make sure you name your images exactly what they are, as this also helps with search results. No one will find your amazing products if you just name the images, img1, 2, 3 and so on. Get yourself a channel on Youtube and add some interesting videos to your channel to get your name known. And when you write on Twitter for example, don’t just write boring stuff about your website. Put something funny up there, so people will want to follow your amusing anecdotes, images and videos. Your followers will have followers and hopefully, they will spread the word, making you more and more popular with Google.
Simplicity is key
There are a lot of people out there who are very nervous of using websites, so make yours as simple as possible. It might look great having an all singing, all dancing design but it will confuse a lot of people who want a simple experience when purchasing. Make it as easy for them as possible.
Spend some time listing your website on Directories, most of which are free. Google take quality backlinks as an endorsement of your relevance. There’s a list below to get you started. Join forums and give advice on your products. Lots of the forums will let you mention your website address (URL). And if you answer technical questions, you will encourage people to use you for your great customer service.
Here is a list of directories that will add your link for free. I found this on clambr.com
|Directory Name||Directory URL||DA|
Scrub the Web
Free Website Directory
Directory My Link
Pro Link Directory
The Web Directory
Elite Sites Directory
1 Webs Directory
247 Web Directory
The Net Directory
Best Free Websites
Vision Web Directory
SEO Free Links
PR Web Link
Royal Link Up
Leading Link Directory
SEO Up Link
Good Useful Links
Vision Web SEO
Web Apps Directory
Email campaigns are the most important thing you can do to get customers these days. Try to get people to sign up for newsletters by offering discounts, or special VIP status, competitions etc. And make your emails interesting with nice images and content. No one takes any notice of an email that is plain and simple. Also make sure the Subject line catches their attention. e.g. ‘10% off if you order this week’, or ‘Competition to win £30 Cash’. ‘You have been selected for a special offer’
Make them think the offer is only for a limited time.
Think about how you buy from online shops. You may have bought something a long while ago and meant to keep the website bookmarked but forgot what it was called. If that online shop contacted you, you would think “Great!” I meant to go back there.
So there you have it. The first steps in SEO.
Coming soon! How to set up an amazing online store for virtually nothing.