Don’t get ignored by the search engines!
Think about the last time you searched Google for something. You got what – hundreds, thousands, perhaps even millions of results!
In an instant Google will serve you up more results than McDonald’s has served hamburgers – and that’s no bull! (sorry).
And that is great if you are looking for something – lots of selection, right? But what if you have a web page and you want people to find you.
So you build a page, put it up on a web server, and wait… After a few months maybe Google will list it on page 1,000,000,001.
The old adage ‘build it and they will come’ does not apply in search engine land.
The reality is that search engines want people to find your page. Here’s how you can help them, and help potential visitors to find your site.
The three top items to help your web pages make nice with the search engines are:
- Page File Name
- Page Title
- Page Description
Page File Name
Your Page Filename is the actual name of the HTML file, and is the first thing that a search engine seas when it comes to your web page. Most directory-level files are named ‘index’. Your web host assumes that any file named ‘index’ is the top-level page of that directory – or the home page of the directory. So, when you type in our site – www.virtualmechanics.com, the page the web server displays is actually www.virtualmechanics.com/index.html
Though your home page file should be named index, what you name your other pages has a big influence on the search engines.
Lets imagine we have a fictitious company called Teas of the World. Imagine the person we want to attract to your site – lets call her Sally. Sally is getting tired of boring old orange pekoe tea and wants something more interesting. So Sally goes online and does a search.
Think about what Sally might search for. Perhaps she searches for ‘distinctive teas’. Well, if you have named your web page file ‘distinctive-teas.html’ now Google has a clue that perhaps this is a page that Sally might be interested in.
A few tips when naming your web page:
- give your page a name that resembles what you think someone may search for
- use a hyphen between words. Don’t use an empty spaces
- avoid capitals, numbers, and odd characters (such as &, ª, £ etc) in the file name
Page Titles are similar to the file name in that they give search engines a clue as to what your web page is about. More so however, it also gives your potential visitor an idea what your page is about. That is because the search engine uses the Title as the main heading when it displays the search results.
If your Title is vague, or not relevant to what someone is looking for, then they will skip your page and move on to the next result.
Tip: A good branding practice is to include your company name in the page title, along with what the page is about. So to bring back Sally who is looking for an interesting tea, you could name your page: ‘Teas of the World | Delicious Dandelion’. Another page might be titled ‘Teas of the World | Amazing Amazon Aroma’
This is where you get to describe what the page is about. And like the Title, it is important not just for the search engine, but for the person looking at the search engine results. Keep your description to 160 characters or less so that the search engines do not cut it short.
For our factitious Teas of the World‘s Dandelion Tea page, they might say:‘Delicious Dandelion Tea is a unique blend produced only by Teas of the World. Order some today!’
Tip: Make your description unique (i.e. produced only by Teas of the World). Include a Call to Action (Order Today!).
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