Google is a lot like a blind person reading a website: if your site isn’t readable by a screen reader (a piece of adaptive software that enables blind people to navigate the web) Google won’t find it either. While Flash sites look great- they are self-contained files that don’t have searchable content.
To find out what Google has indexed on your site- go to Google, type in “site:yourURL.com” (or .org, .biz etc) and you will be presented with a list of pages with details about each page- this is what Google knows of your site.
Because Search engines can easily return a million hits, getting your site to the front page isn’t something that happens by accident. But search engines evolve constantly- and that means that your site has to as well. Because the amount of information being added to the Internet daily is huge (I’ve heard over a terabyte a day) search engines are quite busy indexing new information as it is added. So- if you want results, adding content daily will help your site keep the search bots coming back.
How much is that top of search results worth? This is where web stats packages can really help you put things into perspective. If you aren’t looking at your webstats at least once a week, you are missing some of your most valuable business intelligence data available. How many unique visitors did your site have this month? How long did people stay on your site? What keywords or keyphrases did they use to find you? What websites were they referred from? All of these pieces of data can help you make your marketing better- and your site get you a higher return for your investment.
What can, or should a web site do for you? I had a client in my office yesterday, we are about the same age- and we couldn’t remember how to spell the name of a local bar- she went looking for a local free weekly paper because they advertise there, I went to the web. I found the answer faster- and it cost the bar less to reach a much larger audience than that ad did. So- if you are looking at your ad budget- and especially the Yellow Pages advertising expense- and compare that to the costs of having just an informational site up- you start to see the price/value equation. If you don’t have a site that allows people to find you quickly- and have current info on the site- you are missing a huge opportunity.
So, what is the most important secret of building a website that works? You have to be able to edit, update and control it yourself- no farming it out to some web geek. The beauty of WordPress is it is as simple as Microsoft Word- to publish instantly to the web. WordPress allows you to publish, edit, manage a web site that is totally search engine and screen reader compatible, and that gives you features like RSS and interaction as part of a simple package. Your site will rise to the top of Google based upon the content of your site, not upon your budget for design.