Use Google to bring customers to you

Lisa ThompsonSearch engines such as Google and Bing play a huge role in directing traffic to your website.

But unlike in the Yellow Pages, you can’t get listed first just because your company name is at the beginning of the alphabet – search engines are clever and their criteria are stricter.

Here are a few simple tweaks you can make to your site to ensure you’re up at the top of the list. If you don’t feel confident in doing them yourself, most web designers will be able to do it for little money.

1. Optimise your site

Have a home page which has lots of text and use the sort of words that people will type in when they’re looking for you.

For example, if you’re a joiner in Rawtenstall then people will search for ‘joiner’ and ‘Rawtenstall’, not ‘Established in 1972’, so use relevant words wherever possible and use them more than once.

This also applies to the title of your page, which is the first thing a search engine reads. Call it something meaningful - if it just says ‘home’ it won’t get picked up.

Search engines are also impressed when other websites link to you as it proves your relevance. If you’re a member of an association, get them to put a link to your site on theirs.

2. Update it

Keep your site fresh, have a news section that is updateable by you so you can tell your clients what offers you have on or any new products or services you have launched.

Stagnant sites tend to get pushed down and fresher and newer sites can bump up.

3. Ensure it meets industry standards

Search engines prioritise sites based on validation - the more errors a site has the lower it will be marked.

A well constructed site will have fewer errors or none at all and will be built to current standards.

All websites must also comply with the Disability Discrimination Act, which states that the site needs to be suitable for the visually impaired, realistically the blind.

This is not difficult – but a screen reader must be able to read aloud everything on a page, and images should have a behind-the-scenes description that it can understand.

ISSL can help with all these things at very little expense.

Lisa Thompson, business development director, ISSL.