Once your website has been launched, you will quite understandably be eager to see it appear on Google (and Yahoo etc) as soon as possible. Unfortunately, as we said in our welcome guide, a degree of patience is needed. Just like the real world, a "good reputation" on the web can't be built overnight. Having said that, there is plenty you can do in the meantime to make the most of your investment in a website.
In our welcome guide sent with your trial application form we state that it can take between 2 and 5 months for a new website to start appearing prominently on Google. Note that when we say Google, we are referring to search engines in general, though Google's dominance of the search engine world means that this is the search engine to focus on. This EZ guide has been written to explain a little more about why it takes this amount of time and what you can do in the meantime.
In the days before the internet we were all used to waiting longer for things to get processed, and the reason was usually bureacracy and the shuffling of papers between departments. This of course is not at all the reason for the delay in seeing your website at the top of Google. In fact we notify Google about your website within days of it going live, and Google adds it to its database of websites very shortly after. The reason you don't see your website when you go searching, if you'll excuse a blunt answer, is that Google doesn't think you deserve it. In plain English, Google gives priority to websites that have a good reputation, and you need to build reputation slowly. So, you will be in Google's list somewhere, just way down it, behind hundreds or possibly thousands of other websites. It is then our job to help you stand out from the crowd, which depending on the competitiveness of the search category usually takes between 2 and 5 months.
To stand out from the crowd, in other words to get on those important first 2 or 3 pages of Google's list, we work hard to enhance your website's reputation. We use our searchMAX system to help us do this. searchMAX starts working immediately your website goes live, helping our search consultants to prepare your web pages to be search engine friendly. In fact this first step is crucial or Google won't even know which list to put you in. You can visit the EZ Guide on Making Friends with Google for a recap on the advice which you will have received from your searchMAX consultant when your website went live.
After that initial preparation, begins the process of enhancing your website's reputation, so that Google considers your website deserving of a top place. This process, powered by our searchMAX system, continues for months and years - in fact it never stops. We can't be complacent as the web gets bigger every day and the people running the other top placed websites are also busy trying to enhance their placement.
At the end of the day the results speak for themselves. As a client of WebHealer its very likely that you joined us because you saw our other clients on page one of Google, as most of them are. And our searchMAX system doesn't stop there, because a good place on Google is only useful if it brings visitors to your website. We monitor this progress closely, and you too will see that over time your visitor counts will increase. In fact once your website is 12 months old it should be getting as much as double the number of visitors that it does when just two months old.
Essentially it is about links between websites. There are already billions of websites on the internet, some of which Google considers to have a good reputation and others a poor reputation. For example www.webhealer.net is a website with a very good reputation, which we have built up over many years. As soon as your website goes live we set up a link from our website to your website, and Google considers this a vote of confidence, a kind of thumbs up, and so a little bit of our good reputation is passed to you. Quite simply, the more thumbs ups you get from good websites with a good reputation, the more good reputation of your own you get, and the higher your website goes. The main part of what we do is therefore to constantly investigate suitable websites with a good reputation who will offer links to your website, and build up those links. In addition we research the other factors that make a web page more or less search engine friendly in order to make adjustments and improvements.
With all our experience, you might think by now we could just press a button and do all this work immediately. Unfortunately this would fail and would also be risky for the future of your website. Just like in the real world, good reputation isn't built overnight, and any person or any website which tries to give the impression of instant importance is met with a large dose of scepticism. If Google becomes in any way suspicious or sceptical about your website, then its response will be to ignore all new links, which effectively means our work is wasted. Instead we take things more carefully, allowing your website to improve slowly, and mature like a good bottle of wine.
While that is happening, as a website owner your focus should be to create qood quality content and ideally make regular updates to reassure Google that the information on your website is current and up to date.
In terms of building up your website's reputation and position on the main listings, no there is nothing else you can do. However Google like all other search engines, also offers paid-for listings, called AdWords.
These AdWords are shown to the right of the main listings in a narrow column and have the text Sponsored Links alongside them. If you visit adwords.google.com you will be able to set up an account of your own with Google and create your own advert. Unfortunately the adwords system is very sophisticated, and often quite daunting to use unless you're an enthusiastic technophile.
If you are keen to take an active interest in your website (and we encourage you to do so), then while we work on your "reputation", there is plenty you can be doing as well to help your website promote your business. This work falls into 3 main categories:
In terms of website contents, its good practice to keep your webpages updated. This tells Google that the contents are likely to be more current, and can help give a little extra nudge on search engines. If you can't think of anything new to say about your therapy or qualifications, why not keep a Frequently Asked Questions page updated. You could even allocate one of your web pages as a blog and write about your views on current issues related to your therapy.
In terms of website reputation you can also help. If you are a member of a professional association, it is very likely you have the option to join an online directory, which will almost certainly provide a valuable link to enhance your reputation and website position on search engines. Also if you are a member of a professional forum or chatroom or if you have a separate blog, its worth linking to your website from there whenever possible.
Finally, don't forget that there is more to website success than search engines. Lots of clients come through "Word of Mouth" and your website can help you increase that. It all starts by getting your website address in circulation so new people get the chance to see it. One way to do this is to add your website address to the signature of your emails. If you do not know how to do this, try this link about changing signatures. Another way is simply to let your friends and colleagues know about your new website, and if you are maintaining a blog then you have a great excuse to keep them posted on what's new.
Why not try at least one or two of these tips today?