In this article, we discuss five things you can do yourself to increase the findability of your website, webshop and even social media in the search engines. But first we briefly explain how the ranking is determined in the search engines.
Search engines like Google use bots, when you give a search eg “night shop nearby” there are thousands of results that can be displayed. Now if you had to filter all those results yourself to find the most relevant to you, we would be a few days further.
Google works according to the principle, we show the most relevant and most up-to-date results first. If the search engine did not approach this, and, for example, just rank it in alphabetical order, we would quickly switch to another search engine.
We leave for another time how you can best organize your website and which content you should use. But if you want more information about this, you can always contact us without obligation to send an expert along. What we are going to do now are a number of tips that you can already apply to improve the findability of your website.
1. META-Titles & Description
No these are not animal species, but we can understand that this may sound Chinese. Let me clarify.
A meta title (red box) is the title of your page, which the search engine will also use to recognize your website. In this title it is important to explain as specifically as possible what you do with as few words as possible, and certainly no technical terms. We do this because otherwise it is very dependent on the competition. For example, if you have a company that supplies fresh food at home, a good title could be “Fresh meals delivered at home by Het Restotje in the Antwerp region”.
For example, if we look at the number of search results for “Meals delivered at home” versus the search results for “Fresh meals at home region Antwerp”, it should be clear that – the more general your keywords – there is more competition and it becomes more difficult to keywords to score. We call this principle “long-tail” but more on this another time.
The meta description (blue box) is the short text that describes the page, the search engines will also use this description to screen your website. The meta description often consists of two to three short sentences describing your page. Now to make this even more effective for your customers, it is best to add a call-to-action here. It is also important to match your description to your meta title, so by this I mean to have the search terms that you use in the title still appear in the description. As an example, let’s go back to Het Restotje:
META-Title: “Fresh meals delivered to your home by Het Restotje in the Antwerp region”
META-Description: “At Het Restotje we always provide fresh products for our fresh meals. We always deliver to your home at a time of your choice. We are fully available throughout the Antwerp region. Also hungry, but don’t feel like cooking? View our menu!”
2. H1 Tags for Titles
Every page needs titles. Now a person can immediately deduce from a text what a title is, but a search engine cannot. For Google, we need to clarify what the page is about and show that our page is the most relevant to people’s searches.
Now to make it clear to the search engine bots that we are the ideal result, we have to add H1 tags to our titles. We mainly do this in the code, but in most CMS systems such as WordPress, Jimdo or Wix you can also set this without coding.
For example, the robots that retrieve the information in the search engines know that our text is really about titles.
3.Think about how your target audience is searching
This is a very important one, but also a difficult one. Search engines don’t speak language, they only see code and text. But our potential customers only understand text and not code. We must find a happy medium in this, ensure that we seduce Google, but also the person who can visit your website.
When choosing search terms, think not only about what your company does but also about how your potential customers will look for it. An example is a vowel worker, now in my generation very few know what vowels are, let alone a vowel worker because this is no longer so popularly known. Then it is also less likely that people will use search terms such as “klinkerwerken in Beerse”. Your potential customers will always search their way, they will use terms that are more everyday. So instead of clinker works, we can better focus on “constructing a driveway in Beerse”.
4. Use fresh new content
As we said in the beginning, it is not only important to post relevant content, but also new content. How can you do this? Many, just like us, use a blog to keep your visitors up-to-date with the latest news every week, month or quarter. This gives you the opportunity to regularly add novelties to your website. Google certainly recommends this because you often come up with new relevant content for your visitors.
Now it is important that you come up with relevant content. As you know, we specialize in online marketing, so we are not going to write a blog post about must-do vacation spots.
Provide content that is appreciated by both Google and your visitors. Be sure to think about your keywords while writing, because they will help you the most in becoming findable.
5. Alternative texts
Google’s search engines consist of a series of robots that filter all possible results in a search and show the best. Now we as humans are very visual, but those robots are not. It is important that we start using different content options such as videos, photos, illustrations.
When we add a photo named “image_00013.jpg” to the website, the robots at Google don’t know what exactly is in that image. This is where alternative texts and keyword friendly image names come in handy.
As an example, let’s go back to the fresh meals at home. Our restaurant specializes in brasserie dishes. We have prepared a nicely served plate of fries with pot roast and we want to put a picture of it on the website. Your camera or smartphone automatically gives the image a name such as “image_00013.jpg”, we can best change that name to “stew with fries at Het Restotje”, so we give context to the image and the search engines can see that we have relevant images with place our product on the website. Now the images on your website will also be able to score in “Google Images”.
We take it a step further, we can also give images an alternative text. These texts are used, among other things, by software for blind people who cannot visually view the website but where the texts are read aloud. Search engines also use these texts to find out what an image says correctly, here too we can use keywords to improve our findability, for example for our fries “stew with fries delivered to Het Restotje”.