That’s right Google, I called you an overbearing mother-in-law, and a snooping one at that. Now, granted, not everyone has an overbearing mother-in-law, but we certainly all understand the reference. Pushy, judgmental, constantly in your business, and searching through every last detail of your life to amass a list of disqualifiers that make you not good enough for their little punkin snuggle-bear (their fully grown adult offspring).
If Google was a real person (and an actual mother-in-law) it would be going through all of my stuff, looking under my bed, ransacking my sock drawer, and judging everything about my appearance from clothing choices to hair color. That may have sounded a little odd and improbable for a virtual interface, but that’s basically what Google is doing to prep for any future search query. They are tracking down every last piece of information they can on your site and everyone else’s to provide relevant results for the user.
While it’s extremely irritating when mother-in-laws judge you on every little thing, it is actually mildly understandable when you look at it from her perspective. Google has it’s reasons too, and they are much better, and make a lot more sense when you think about them. Google isn’t just a global conglomerate that is taking over the world of search engines, the web itself, and possibly the world, it’s also a business. And like any business, big or small, they want to maintain their reputation for being reliable and providing their customers with the best experience they can. In order to do this, they need to make sure that the search engine results that they display from a query are relevant, and more importantly, trustworthy. Google is regularly evolving their search engine algorithms to better respond to search queries, which actually makes for a better search experience for the user.
So in order to prove to Google that you are a real, respected, and trustworthy online business that will provide a valuable service or product to it’s users, it takes time and work to get rankings up on your site. There is no magic formula for obtaining faster organic search results or landing on page 1 for a search term.
So how do you prepare your site and prove your digital worthiness? Glad you asked…
Because here are a few tips:
-Just like any brick and mortar establishment, an online business needs to establish credibility with the target market to get and retain a customer base.
-Your site needs to be a minimum of 6-9 months old to start seeing results, but usually closer to a year or possibly 2 depending on the type of product or service you provide. If your business is a special niche or more unique than most, then you will be able to rank faster than a website that is one among millions selling the exact same products. This is mostly because there is less competition. If you are one of the thousands of websites selling the exact same pet products for dogs and cats, then it will take a couple of years to climb in rankings. Simply because there are just too many people trying to sell the exact same thing. It’s not like a small coffee shop competing with the Starbucks across the street, it’s a small coffee shop competing with ALL of the Starbucks everywhere.
-Another reason time is important is because of spam. There are literally thousands of sites created and deleted every single day. Just like the spam in our email box, there are also millions of spam websites out there plaguing us and the internet. So, the only way Google will know you are not spam, and will be a trustworthy website, is time, and the effort you put in during that time.
–The length of time you purchase your domain for. Yes, Google knows this too…If you purchase your domain for one year, you are basically saying to search engines, “Hey, I have no idea where my business will be in a few months.” But if you purchase your domain for a longer block of time, 5 years for example, then you are telling the search engine that you plan to stay in business for at least that long, which makes you a safer bet to direct traffic to.
-The information that Google scans in order to judge your site’s credibility and overall worthiness, is mostly provided by you the site owner so it’s important to make sure it’s relevant to your site.-Implement marketing. Most of the marketing done for a website isn’t actually visible to the human eye. There are lines of code that are specially written, and only visible to the search engines. This is what we call SEO, (search engine marketing). SEO involves writing *meta data, adding analytics to your site, verification codes, etc. This is how you tell Google what your website is, what you sell, what your message is, and how you want to be perceived. Other the verification code, and the analytics code you use to track your websites statistics, a majority of your meta data should be as unique to each page as you can manage.
*Meta data includes page titles, descriptions, keywords, and even instructions on how you want your website to be indexed by the search engines.
-Unique website content. Website content is basically anything that isn’t a category name, or product name. The paragraphs on your homepage welcoming the user to your site, the information on the “About Us” page, the content on your category pages giving an explanation of the products in that category, product descriptions, etc
-after the initial marketing efforts, and implementation of unique site content, it needs to be kept current. If you add new products to your site, or remove them, make sure the new information is reflected in the content.
-If you have a featured products section, update them every month or two. Some builders have functions that will actually do this for you automatically, you just need to specify a time frame. But if you have do it yourself, updating your featured products lists only takes a few minutes, so fret not.
So in a nutshell… Longevity + Effort = Credibility
If you don’t give your website the time and continued attention it requires, then it will just end up in Google’s dumpster along with all the other website remains of sites nobody wants to visit, or were deleted because the owner gave up after a year.
So, while Google and overbearing mother-in-laws of the world have much in common, Google actually has very good reasons for putting you and your site through the wringer. The overbearing mother-in-law however, is just plain irritating.
Even though a website is a virtual experience on a digital platform, try to think of it, and your online business, as a brick and mortar store. If you owned a retail shop, and left it sitting there for months on end with no upkeep, maintenance, or proper signage, would you really be surprised when you didn’t get customers? Probably not…
So what happens when your site ranks higher and the amount of visitors increases? That’s when the user experience takes over.