As we have mentioned before, today your customers are no longer just surfing the web…they’re searching the web.
Search engines enable your customers and prospects to search online for products or services that your business can offer. By simply typing in keywords for what they are looking for searchers rely on the search engines to come up with the best/relevant matches.
As a business owner, you definitely need your website to be found easily by your potential customers. But what if your site isn’t even being indexed? Or maybe it is way down the search engine results listings where it is unlikely anyone will ever read about your products and services.
Over the next few weeks, we will be posting a couple of blogs in this series to help you learn the 10 most common search engine optimisation / internet marketing mistakes that could well be holding your website back from the top positions in search engines like Google and Yahoo!
So here are the first three to watch out for…in descending order…
10. Hosting Issues – Your server might be too slow!
Some internet commentators’ estimate that there are now as many as 4 billion live sites out there, which means that the search engines don’t have too much time to spend trying to index all of them. You need to do everything you can to help them and if your website’s host server has a slow Internet connection speed, the search engines will often ‘time out’ – so your site might not even be indexed by them at all! It is easy for you to find out which pages are indexed by typing “site:www.yourdomain.com” into your favourite search engine e.g. If I key in www.wsiims.co.uk into Google I can see that there are about 110 pages indexed.
If you have no or very few pages indexed check with your hosting provider what their connection speed is. If you are ‘tied in’ to your hosting provider try and minimise the issue by making sure that all your web images have been optimised for the web, i.e. are a small file size as this will help your website load much more quickly.
9. Hosting Issues – You could be using a free Web space provider
If you host your business’ website with a free hosting provider, we suggest you might want to change this quite quickly! Like most things in life you only get what you pay for and website / email hosting is no different.
Some of the search engines will only list a certain number of pages from any one domain, so if you’re sharing that domain with thousands of other people, there is no guarantee that your site will get indexed.
Increasingly some of the larger Search Engines, notably Google, are now starting to disregard free hosted pages altogether – simply because of the amount of spam sites they receive from these domains. About 90% of these ‘free hosted domains are ‘Spam’ and you really do not want your business website to be associated with this.
As the owner of a legitimate business you should ensure that your business’ Domain Name builds confidence and trust in your brand for your existing and potential customers. Make sure your domain name is memorable and easy to type – typically, free domains are not. For instance, www.genericsites_forbusiness.com/uk/yourproducts/home.html (not a genuine URL) does not look professional, regardless of whether it’s been indexed by the search engines or not.
It is worth paying a few hundred pounds a year for ‘proper’ website hosting and to buy a Domain name that reflects your brand or your products / services. These will reflect a professional online image for your business and will be more easily indexed by the search engines from a search engine optimisation perspective.
8. Avoid special characters in your Domain Name / URL
Choose your Domain Name and website page file names (URL’s) carefully, especially for a business website!
If your domain name or page file name has special characters such as: “&, $, =, or %”, many search engines will struggle to index your pages. In fact, in some cases, the search engines will not even bother to try and pages with these characters will be ignored altogether.
Our recommendation is that it is best to avoid including these characters in your page names / domain names completely.