While the internet seems like a giant mysterious animal it’s actually quite logical once you understand a little how it works.
Many websites fail because of a lack of traffic. No visitors equals no sales. The frustrated website owner who invested all their time into setting up their website blames the site and declares the internet a waste of time.
Well, the owner is usually wrong in both cases.
First of all, it’s usually not the sites fault. Sure, the content could be bad, and the site could look horrible, but that’s the owners fault and not the site!
And secondly, the internet is not a waste of time. You just need to know how to use it.
In most cases the lack of visitors is simply down to the fact that no one knows the site even exists.
I call it the ‘build it and they will come’ syndrome. The internet is not magical. Google does not possess magic powers to randomly find websites. If you build a website people won’t just come.
Google usually finds sites through two different ways – Links and you telling Google your website exists.
The importance of links
Links are really important for two reasons.
- It helps Google and other search engines find your site, and:
- It tells Google and other search engines how good your website is.
The first is easy to explain. Take this image below. It is a section of the internet with a few existing websites in blue. Your new website is in orange and it sitting out there alone:
Kind of looks like a spider web right? Hmm… world wide w….
Some of these websites link to other websites, as indicated in red. Google sits in the middle and as people search for keywords it shows results of websites it knows. These red links are very important for Google. First of all, the Google website crawler which travels the internet looking for websites and content to add to its database travels from link to link between sites. Like a spider does crawling over a web between two tress. When it finds a new website it looks for all the links on this site and travels from that link to another site. In some cases this can take Google to a new website and this site will now be added to Google’s database.
At the same time Google records the number of sites that link to each other. If a website has a high number of other sites linking to it then Google assumes this website must be good, otherwise why else would the owner of the other site link to it? Therefore, it will rank this website higher in a search result and this is gold for a website owner.
So links are import for two reasons:
- They help Google (and others) find your site
- Most important of all, it tells Google your website is good. So good that others link to your website and its content. Again, pure gold for a website owner.
If your website is all alone, with no links from anyway (websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc) and you’ve never told Google you exist then Google probably won’t find you. Certainly your customers (or potential customers) won’t. You might be lucky and someone may mention your website on their own site, or talk about it on Twitter or a blog. But that may never happen and you will not benefit from the wonderful Google juice that will flow through links to your website.
As a website strategy you should be looking for as many websites to link to you as possible. Ask customer who are happy with your service to recommend you by linking to your website from their site. If your suppliers have a reseller directory then list your website on this. Links are very important so take them when you can.
However, the Google juice or love that flows between links is only really useful if a website links to you, but you don’t like to them. In other words, Google realise that a bunch of websites can all agree to link to each other in order to fool Google into believing your website is loved. So to prevent this Google won’t increase the search result ranking of two websites that link to each other. When it comes to Google love it’s really a one way street!
Tell Google you exist through Google Webmaster Tools
Besides finding you through links Google has a tool that lets you submit your website address to their service for consideration. It’s called Google Webmaster Tools and here is a quick introduction video from Google:
Google Webmaster Tools have several great services for website owners such as reporting crawler errors (problems Google found with your site), identifying search queries people are using to find your site, and how many of your websites URLs or pages Google knows.
But most important of all Google Webmaster Tools lets you submit you website directly to Google.
Add and verify a site:
- Sign into Google Webmaster Tools with your Google Account.
- Click the Add a site button, and type the URL of the site you want to add. Make sure you type the entire URL, such as http://www.example.com/
- Click Continue. The Site verification page opens.
- Under the ‘Alternate methods’ tab select ‘HTML tag’
- Select and copy the “<meta name=”google-site-verification”…” tag.
- Log into you DecoNetwork website
- Browse to Manage Store > Appearance > Customize Template HTML
- Select the Create custom layout tab and check Override Default Layout.
- Paste the “<meta name…” tag you copied above before before the </head> tag in your customer HTML. i.e.<meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”yourcodewillbehere” />
- Click Update to save your changes.
- Return to your Google Webmaster Central tab and click the red ‘Verify’ button to verify your HTML tag.