If it’s been more than 3 years since you had your website built, you might be starting well behind the eight ball. The landscape of the internet and how websites are ranked in the search engines has changed considerably in the last 3 years alone.
Have you seen your once 1st page rank deteriorate over time? Or you never had it at all?
Here are 10 tips to get you back in business.
It should be pointed out that long-term top rankings take time and effort. This is not a quick fix, but sure fire ways to get you headed in the right direction to get your fishing website moving up in the rankings rather than down!
Not an accountant? Me either! Lucky that this is not even remotely financial, in any way.
An audit means to examine your website. Click on internal links and through your navigation. Make sure they all work. Test your contact form. Does it work and do the emails come though to you?
If not, get it fixed ASAP!
Look for anything that is out of date. If your footer says “Copyright 2009“, get that updated to 2015 fast as you can.
Look at the message you are sending. In this case the message is “This website has not been updated since 2009”.
Your visitors will get the message loud and clear. Next thought, “Hey maybe these guys are no longer in business?”
Is that really the message you want to send to potential visitors?
And did you know that Google will get the same message? For every link that doesn’t work, you are telling the Google-bots (what Google uses to fetch pages on the internet), “Out of order!”.
One of the ways that Google determines authority is by the number of times your site is shared. This means that a link to a page on your website is shared on social media.
By incorporating social media share buttons, you are enabling this process to allow people to share what they see and like = instant authority to you.
PS – you can use your own share buttons to share your own website on social media.
Social Media Links: Added bonus points!
If you have an older website, you may be turning visitors off right away who can’t immediately tell whether you are even still in business. A link to your social media pages can immediately fix that impression – they can easily click on the links to your social pages and know that you are indeed in business due to your activity there (you have activity there…right?)
Did you know that Google is the search engine of choice worldwide?
Almost 70% of internet searches are made using the Google search engine. (Want to know number 2? Baidu. A Chinese search engine (18%).)
So its a pretty safe assumption that if you’re not doing your best to improve your listing with Google, you’re not doing your best. Right?
I use this word again and again. Authority.
Perceived authority is what ranks you in the search engines. (The search engines will rank you higher in a search result if they believe that your website is an authority on the topic searched.)
What helps you to build authority?
Linking to websites that have more authority than you.
For example, your regional tourism body website. Something that won’t take business from you, but is meaningful to your visitors.
Warning: use sparingly (overlinking=spam) and choose your websites wisely.
This one is straight forward right? A search engine see that this authorative website links to your website, you must be an authority too!
So how do you get your website listed?
Start with people you know and you work with regularly. It never hurts to ask. Sometimes that’s all you need to do.
We’re on a theme here. You can see that links drive visitors to your website. And links tell the search engines that your website is relevant.
Make sure that all your various social media profiles (you ARE on social media right?) link to your website.
Bonus points: link to your website from your social media from time to time.
You want an example don’t you? One that will work (and make them click the link?)
Example. Share a great photo. Post text: We have several more great photos from this trip in the photo gallery on our website. Check them out here (link).
(Fisher-people love looking at fishing photos. Proven fact!)
What? More links. Yes. But this time, within your website.
Want to find more about our reef fishing trips?
(No that link doesn’t go anywhere.)
What does this do? More authority building. You are telling the search engines (again) that there is content on reef fishing trips on your website.
If a visitor to your website backs out quickly (quick exits via closing a window or using the back button to go back to where they came from), it sends yet another message to the search engines. That message is: “Nothing to see here!” (Read: not an authority on XYZ topic). Thereby harming your ranking.
So lets think about why they would back away so quickly:
Your website is ugly (sad, but true)
Your website doesn’t work on their browser/mobile phone/tablet (have you tested your website on other devices?)
Your website looks old. There is nothing on your site that tells the visitor that you are even still in business!
(Do your site audit!)
Of ALL the pages on your website, make sure your entry page gives the right impression.
You need to know what search terms, what words potential customers use to search for your website.
Just sit back and think about it. If you were looking for a business that offers the services you do, what words would you type into a search engine?
These are your keywords.
If you are not ranking in the search engines already, maybe you are using the wrong words?
So how do you find out what these words are? Research. I can give you an endless list of tools but why not start at the easiest for everyone to use.
Start typing in the search box of Google. Pause after the first or second word. What happens now? Google prompts you with search terms to choose from based on real world used search terms.
Google is telling you the searches that people make.
Why is this important?
And where do we use these words? Keep reading.
There are two reasons that I saved this one to last. Or saved this one to first.
1. It is easily the most important.
2. It is equally the most difficult to do.
But here it is for you, no two ways about it:
Content is king!
There are several ways to add content to your website on a regular basis. (“Blogging anyone?” said the Queen of fishing blogging.)
But it must be valuable and relevant content. It must be natural text/conversation (keyword stuffing, ie. using words for the purpose of getting the words into your text with no real context, is a big no no). And yes, the algorithms (remember the Google bots?) can actually tell the difference.