The search engine results page or SERP is the page(s) of website listings that a search engine shows you in response to submitting a search to that specific engine. Here in Spain, we hear “Google” shouted from the rooftops… and as this is the most widely used search engine, we will concentrate on that one.
There are a number of things you can do to help your website rank highly. But be aware that even if you cross all your t’s and dot all your i’s… you may still not get there if the keywords you are competing for are very common or are part of a saturated market. Everybody wants to be in the number one position… but take a moment and look at your competition. How many other villas are there in your resort, let alone Spain or the rest of the world? How many other pool cleaners are there? How many other Estate Agents? Bars? Builders? You getting the idea yet?
So you need to look at other differing key words that people may search for you with. If you have a unique company name, then great! But of course people need to know that name first in order to search for you don’t they? This is where other forms of marketing come in.
But this does not mean that you shouldn’t use best practices when designing, maintaining or promoting your site. If you honestly feel that you can not put any extra work into your site once you’ve put it live, then don’t expect to suddenly appear on page one of Google, and to stay there forever, it just doesn’t work like that. But… if you work at optimising your website continuously, you may yet get some brilliant results without spending a huge fortune on different forms of advertising.
Some important factors in helping your site succeed in the SERPs…
Do your research
Firstly you (or your web design company) must perform keyword research to determine what keywords and keyword phrases you are going to design your business around, as this will lay the groundwork for all of the meta data, text and links your site will contain. A decent web design company will do this for you automatically.
As we have already discussed, if you are using only generic keywords, you will have little or no chance to rank highly in the search engines. The key here is to target words and phrases that are more unique and have a bit more substance to them.
For example, if you are selling holiday accomodation, you’ll have a better chance of success if you design your site around “luxury holiday villas” or if they are in a particular area, use descriptive elements such as “luxury holiday villas in Lanzarote” or “the finest holiday villas in Playa Blanca”. The longer the keyword phrase and more descriptive, the better chance you’ll have to grab that organic traffic. Designing your site around keywords is the most important element.
It is extremely important to have fresh, unique content. And make sure that each of your pages follows that uniqueness too (which your web designer should see is reflected in the meta data on the page). The Google spiders steam in and try to read as much as they can on your pages – but if they see repetition, or things simply don’t make sense… then they’ll scurry off to another website.
Keep it new!
Search engines love to read new things. So adding, and enhancing your website as often as you possibly can will bring those spiders hurrying back more often for a good old read. If we could all add a new page to our websites every day, with fresh new text, linking it to other pages within our site… those spiders would permanently set up camp – as they do in places such as YouTube, Facebook, and PhotoBucket. The greater number of unique pages you get indexed in the search engines the better. This does of course all take time – and time is precious.
We’ve already skimmed across the tip of the subject of links elsewhere on this site – but we cannot stress the importance of these enough. This is probably the best way to get those spiders coming-a-hunting. The more inbound links you can get the better… But keep them relevant. Don’t fall into the same trap that others do with pages and pages of completely unrelated links. Aim to achieve at least 1 new RELEVANT link to your site per day – and you’ll be rolling.