How Can I Make Sure My Website Pops Up Through Online Searches | Let's Make Friends with Google | Part I of Many
This is a question I have asked and been asked many times in the last 8 years ... and the real answer is: this is a very complicated, very long answer ... and even if I do answer it today, it could all change tomorrow based on Google's algorithm << perfect example of that: Google used to favor blog posts that had comments on them ... the more comments your blog post had, the more Google thought it held merit << that is now no longer a 'thing' as much as it used to be ... so while I can certainly give some tips in this post and try to help you with simple things you can do, none of this should be taken as "law".
I also want to say, before we get started, that when I come on this blog and talk about things you can do, I am doing so from a SIMPLE place ... I want to give advice that ANYONE can do themselves. I had a comment on my personal FB page the other day that made fun of my alt and image texting advice << basically saying "Heather, this is so old school!! .. there are so many widgets you can upload and code for your site these days" << yeah, you're right!! But is that something I could come on here, explain, and have wedding pros walk away feeling confident and ready to tackle themselves? Probably not. If you are on this blog to learn things you can do yourself to increase your online presence, then awesome ... I will do my best to lead you in the right direction ... but if you are looking for me to come at you in *let me brag about all the coding sh*t I know so you can feel like an idiot after* then you should just go hire a coder for your site ;)
Ok, now that I got that out of my system ... simple things you can do for your website and blog to make friends with Google.
>> What you do TODAY for your website or blog will matter 6 months from now <<
This is going to be KEY to your sanity ... if you take some of these tips and apply them to your business website or blog and you expect to see results within a month, then good luck to you ;) You need to consider that you will always be waiting 6 months to start seeing results from the hard work you do TODAY ... and you need to do little things each and every day to make sure that momentum keeps flowing.
I already discussed alt and image texting on this site, but had some questions arise after, so let's discuss:
>> Google doesn't have eyes, so you need to speak in a language it understands <<
When a bride searches online for beautiful bouquet ideas, Google grabs text from websites that have those words grouped together ... depending on the page rank of the websites, it will then order the results based on highest to lowest page rank ... now, if you are a wedding florist and have images of bouquets on your site, you want to make sure that not only do the images show for people with 'seeing eyes' but that they are named so Google can see them with their 'robot eyes' ... some ways to do this:
- name the actual file a search text heavy name: orange_county_wedding_beautiful_bouquet_001.jpg
- add a caption or image text with pretty Google yummies like this: Orange County Wedding | Beautiful Bouquet with Purple Tulips | Orange County Wedding Florist
- add alt texting using html code (this will be different depending on what type of website structure you use for your content) ... repeat above ideas and if you have specific questions regarding your type of interface, feel free to contact me
Now keep in mind that you want to be as specific as possible if your reasons for beefing up your SEO are to reach clients ... don't be general!! Something like: wedding flowers | planning bride | wedding details will NOT help you if your goal is to reach brides in your LOCAL area. And this goes for your entire website.
>> What does your homepage act like? <<
Your homepage is a tool that needs to be used, but don't be spammy ... I believe there are 3 things a homepage should have:
- all your social media networking links
- a beautiful image (or multiple as long as it doesn't look cluttered) of your RECENT work using colors that don't clash with your brand
- a search text heavy blurb about your company that links to other pages of your website or blog
Search text could be something like .. I will use Copper Willow Paper Studio as an example:
Copper Willow Paper Studio creates beautiful wedding invitations and event stationery and custom paper designs for any occasion! We are located in El Segundo, CA and our calligraphy services and wedding invitation collections can be ordered anywhere we can ship. We specialize in Los Angeles weddings, Orange County events, and Santa Barbara brides love our style.
^^ that is just a small example and the writing needs work ;) But you can see the bold groups of text that I added ... those need to be linked to the appropriate pages in your website or blog. Make sense? This is a simple step that can make a world of difference ... Google likes homepages that have some sort of plain text on them. They eat it up like candy ;)
>> Have a blog <<
The best way to make sure your website doesn't lose Google's interest? Keep an up-to-date blog attached to your website ... so, in other words: YOURWEBSITE.com/blog ... not an entirely separate blog that people click out of your website to view. Your blog should be an extension of your brand ... so while they are on your blog, they should still be able to see your navigation bar, your logo, your social media links, your contact page ... SAME WEBSITE ;) I can't drill that into you enough ...
So, a blog is a tool and it is very useful ... you can use your blog to stay on top of the current trends, you can Pin from your blog, you can create awesome tags for your local wedding vendor relationships, you can create categories with local wedding searches, you can show off your gorgeous featured badges, you can post when you've been featured and link the feature with search heavy phrases ... and each and every time you post, you've added another link for Google to gobble up (6 months later!) ... a blog is a MUST HAVE!!! I will be coming back on here to talk about what your blog should work and act like soon << that is another big subject ... but for now, if you have questions pertaining to your blog feel free to contact me and I can help :)
I think these 3 ideas will be enough to get you started ... this is such a crazy question that I could talk about ideas every day that you can apply to your websites ... so be sure and come back again ;)