Five Tips To Try When Your Website Isn’t Ranking
As a process server or private investigator creating a website may not be your forte, but it is important to know why your website should be ranked and how you can achieve better search engine results. More and more of your clients are going to the web to fulfill their process serving and investigation needs. For your customers to find you in the search engine results pages, there are a few things you need to know about getting your website toward the top of those results. The web can be an inexpensive and highly effective form of marketing. With the recent economic downturn, the more you can do yourself – the better!
Why Does Your Web Page Need to Be Ranking?
Website “ranking” refers to where a website shows up in the search engine results pages under specific keyword searches. For instance, if you own a process serving company in California, and search under popular keywords, such as “California process server,” you would want to rank for those keyword searches. While search engines like Google and Yahoo! won’t give away secrets to achieving high rankings, your website’s position can show you an indication of how important your website is, in the eyes of the search engine. This is important because if you want your customers to find you, you need to show up at the top of the search engine results. If your potential customers cannot find you online, it may result in a lost opportunity to reach more clients and increase income.
How Can You Achieve Better Search Engine Rankings?
As with any search engine results, the work you put into your website will be a marathon and not a sprint. According to Eric Ward, an online marketing specialist, if your website is brand new and the competition is average you should expect to wait two to three years to see a change. If the site is older (between two and four years), and the competition is the same, Ward says you should be able to see some changes in one to three months – nothing drastic, but a few increases in search engine results pages.
Generally, how quickly you move up depends on your niche market, the focus of your website and the competitiveness of the marketplace. No matter what the “experts” tell you, there are no rank guarantees. However, if your website is not ranking under the keywords that are important to you, there are some things that you can be doing to improve your results:
1. Submit Your Website to the Major Search Engines.
If you have not submitted your website to the major search engines yet, this should be your top priority. You can submit your website to Yahoo Site Explorer, Google Webmaster Central and Live Search Webmaster Center. These resources can provide you feedback on who is linking to your website, which pages are the most popular, which keywords drive the most traffic to your website and if the search engine has experienced any issues while trying to index your website.
2. Build Links.
Links are the most simple and crucial relationship on the web because links show the affiliations and significance between two websites. Essentially, search engines decide that when one page links to another page, it is casting a vote for the other page. As more and more votes are cast for a page, it gains importance. There are many other factors that are calculated into this process. For instance, the importance of the page that is casting the vote determines the vote’s level of importance.
All links are not necessarily good links. You want the links to your website to be as targeted as possible. Besides raising your website in search results, links are a source of driving potential clients to your website. Make sure that these links are coming from the most authoritative sites. Being linked to sites such as ServeNow.com or PInow.com often raise lesser-known websites in the search results because ServeNow.com and PInow.com show up very high and are seen as authority sites in the process serving and private investigation industries.
3. Write Unique and Relevant Content.
In order for people to link to your website, there must be something that sticks with them and inspires them to share it with others on their own websites. Superior content and authority articles are a great way to accomplish this. Great content is fact-based, aimed at your website’s end user and brings repeat visitors. For instance, would a paralegal association’s newsletter love to share tips from a process server on how to get papers served faster? Would an insurance company like additional resources on fraud investigations? Content-rich pages will portray you as an expert, and lead to inbound links without you always asking for them.
4. Update Your Site.
If your site looks the same today as it did two years ago, the search engines are going to look at it like an end-user. If you visited a site multiple times and saw the same thing, eventually you too would stop coming back to it. There are changes happening in your field every day. Stay on top of these changes and make sure your website is maintaining its relevance as well.
5. Go Back Over Your Latest Changes.
If your website recently has decreased in its ranking, try to make a list of the changes you have made to it in the past month. Ask yourself some of the following questions:
- Has your hosting company had any downtime? Perhaps a search engine has tried to crawl your website when nothing was posted. As long as your site was not down for multiple days the results should return as the search engines re-index your website.
- Did the structure of your website change? If your site has permanently changed, you need to provide redirects for every page on your old website.
- Have you seen a drop in inbound links? Look to see who is linking to you. If a very authoritative site in your industry is no longer linking to your website it may look less important to the search engines.
There is a lot that goes into search engine optimization and it can be very time-consuming, but if you keep just one concept in mind – build your website with your customers in mind – you are bound to improve your sites overall ranking. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of why web pages show up in the order that they do in search engine results pages. Your website is an important tool for your customers to find you on the web, and taking the time to try these tips could yield positive results.