SEO Tips: How do users find your site?
How do people find your site on the web? Is it via their home page? So what does this post have to do with SEO? Well, what if your site’s fans could not find your site on a search engine?
Recently the owners of a WordPress site I had helped create for their organization contacted me to tell me they were getting reports users were being redirected when they visited the site. At first I thought someone had compromised the site. Why? But I checked the site and all was well. So how are they being redirected to someone elses site?
They weren’t. Thinking about it a few minutes I realized it was a case of search engines not finding the site when people typed in keywords in the search bar. As the site was mostly for members of the site, I had never added it to search engines, but now I needed to because people were typing in keywords that should be matching our site but instead were somehow matching someone Else’s. When I first started our site came up about 5th in the hits on Google and about 10th on Bing.
You see, while it is hard to believe, there is a population of people who open Internet Explorer and the browser changes focus to the MSN search box. They type in their “website” or keywords they can remember about the site and then click on the top link that comes up in the search results. While that defies logic perhaps, it is a very common practice to those who are not tech savvy or who are very new to the Internet and computers. A segment of the world only knows one browser and that one browser is Internet Explorer. Remember with Windows being the primary operating system of the PC world, everyone’s default browser starts off as Internet Explorer.
Both Bing and Google have webmaster tools, though admittedly I prefer Google’s. It seems at some point Bing crawled our old site (the site had been moved to a new hosting provider and to WordPress) and the ghost links won’t go away. So I will have to create redirects and permanent moves for all of the “long gone years ago” links to the old site. Google is happy to see a new sitemap and move on its merry way. But Bing seems to remember the past a little two well. I submitted sitemaps to both sites. Yahoo uses Bing’s webmaster tools (and basically Bing Search) so optimizing a site to use Bing optimizes for Yahoo at the same time. Additionally I had to prove I “owned” or at least controlled the sites by saving a special page to the site, one for Google and another for Bing. Then allowing the engines to hit that page to confirm ownership.
Then on our WordPress site I updated keywords to try and help distinguish our site from the other group’s site.
We aren’t competitors but we have similar keywords so I needed to be sure the keywords emphasized the differences so when our MSN users typed in the keywords our site came out on top. After three days on Google we had gone to the top of search results and in five days we were now the number two hit on Bing. Once we fix the redirects for moved pages, we should end up back where we belong, on top of the search results. For Google Webmaster tools, you will need a gmail account and for Bing, you will need an MSN/Hotmail or Outlook account.
Here are links to improve your search engine ranking and I hope you enjoyed these SEO TIPS :
The next post we will talk about the submission process.
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