I got an email earlier this evening (by the time this article is posted, it’ll be last night) from a client asking me a really, really simple question, which goes something like: “I’ve been onto Google and I can’t find my website when I type in my company name.” I must point out that the question is entirely valid, and it’s a common question for me to be asked by a client that I’ve just taken on to develop a website for.
You see, the common perception is that the moment the website hits the web, it’s visible for all to see.
And that’s right, if you type the web address straight into your browser. But it’s that visible aspect that’s the source of the perception issue, and a source of confusion.
Sending a link of your new website to a friend is totally different to actually finding that website via, say, Google for example.
However, lots of people – this particular client inclusive, as well as several others – use Google like a universal find-all. They will even type in a full web address into Google, rather than into the URL bar.
Searching for an answer
So the problem is one of latency; the time from which a website goes live differs greatly from when said website is visible to the search engines.
As a rule, it’s best to allow at least a month for this process to come through. The search engines can’t just find stuff instantly. The process is organic, in that the process of discovering a new website happens more quickly if there’s a link to it from elsewhere on the web.
That’s a function of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) rather than SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which focuses on ensuring that a website is accessible to search engines, a topic I’ve covered in more detail recently.
But this isn’t the whole story, oh no! Simply having a website is no longer good enough, even if you type in the name of your own company in the hope of finding your own website.
I’ve seen plenty of examples where a client is being out-ranked on the web by a directory listing. Much as it may annoy them, it’s not a total loss. If the would-be visitor goes to the directory listing, chances are they will be directed to the clients’ website, or find their telephone number.
Searching is irrelevant?
So how do you make your website more visible to search engines?
You need strong content, content filled with authority and words relevant to your industry, your business and your location.
There are some basic tips to bear in mind when planning and developing a website, which is something else I’ve covered in more detail recently, too.
Going live is just the start
A company website is merely (and I must emphasize that point) a function of marketing. To lose sight of the fact and think of your website as being something outside of, or beyond your broader marketing strategy is a mistake.
Promoting your company website is as much a task for off-line, ‘old fashioned’ marketing strategies as it is for any ‘newfangled’ on-line strategy.
Your company stationary is a prime location for your web address, the business card being the best place by far.
Time and traffic wait for no man
In the mad rush to get seen, these essential details are either overlooked, or perceived as a hinderance.
The web is seen more as a panacea, to be invoked at the touch of a button.
With some planning, the proper perspective, the right attitude and some patience, all good traffic comes to those who wait…
About the author
Wayne Smallman is the man behind Octane Interactive, a web design, web applications development and internet marketing agency. Octane has been around since 1999 and is based in Yorkshire, England.
Wayne has been in the new media industry working as a web designer & developer since the mid nineties and also provides a consultation service to businesses looking to make the most of their web presence.
He’s a passionate believer in the power of technology to better the lives of everyone and his passion and drive are hallmarks of his attitude to doing business.
Wayne is also the author of a series of web-related articles for businesses and individuals wanting to know more about the web and how the web can help them be more productive and work smarter, not harder.