You’ve heard the question: If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears, did it make a sound? The same is true for the Internet – it hardly matters how good our online information is, if no one is listening or finding it, then it has little value.
Ouch! The Internet is critical to our lives and constantly changing – a powerful combination. The big question here is “who is in control of the information?”. Hopefully not the small group of people who profess to understand the Internet and are capable of reading through the jargon of an industry built on algorithms. At times it can make you a little crazy putting together all the pieces, especially knowing how important this medium is to our businesses and our personal lives.
So here in simplest terms is not only a brief on how the Internet captures information for Google and other search engines – but how we can better understand, and respond, to what makes this behemoth work.
A simple story about spiders. Every night search engines send out ‘spiders” to capture new information and put into the search engine ‘web’. This action is what gives value to search engines and the formula is so secret that recent stories tell of Google making 50 changes a month to its formula so other cannot copy it.
These spiders work very efficiently. If a website, let’s say yours, has new information it captures what is new, processes it into its search database and makes a note to be back to this site for new information. The more often you have new information, the more often the spider visits and your website inches up on the search engine results.
However if your website is static with no new information the spider visits less frequently and you languish or drop in the search engine results.
Pretty simple, but revealing. And it leads to the next question – how do I assure that spider makes frequent visits to my site? The answer is to assure the spider finds “fresh” information on his visits.
Here are 6 simple ways
to put that “fresh” content on your site while not only making it enticing for the spider, but relevant for your customers:
#1 – NEWS – what’s new with you? Share it through news releases posted not in your press room. If you don’t have a press room, add one. And if that news is well written and newsworthy for local news outlets, all the better. If it ties to YouTube or a photo sharing site, even better.
#2 – BLOGS – do you have a blog and it is tied to your website? If not go to wordpress.com and start one. Kind of like a professional diary you can find zillions of samples of blogs at word press and set up your own, for free.
#3 – CALENDARS – the good news is tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to post something new about your company. Do you have promotions? Celebrations? A charity event? Holidays? All those can be a reason for your customers and those spiders to take note of your organization.
#4 – DEALS – are you having a seasonal sale? Do you have a coupon? Anything that is a one time special should be trumpeted on your site in as many ways as possible.
#5 – COMMENTS – also called ‘user generated content’ – maybe these are positive reviews of your organization, a recent letter of thanks, a comment about your blog posting or even comments from your own employees – make a box on the home page where these are posted and updated frequently.
#6 – FAQ’s – sections on your website like Frequently Asked Questions can be another opportunity for updates. If you’ve been hearing a new question lately, add it to FAQ’s. Or add an educational piece or How-To that might be of value to your customer. These are not only appreciated but keep your site worth visiting.
If you approach your website as a living entity that needs daily or weekly care you will be making a commitment that will result in more customers discovering what you offer. And along the way you might just discover a bit more about yourself, your company and what your customers are looking for too.