Websites Aren’t a “Build It And They Will Come” Proposition.

So, you just launched a new website? Is it a month or more later and you are wondering where all the traffic is? Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines don’t just “magically” know your website exists. After they do find you, if you and your web developer both have not done your jobs, you won’t be ranked very highly (or at all) for some time. Here is roughly how it should work.

Before you launch:

Some of you have heard me repeat this mantra many times. This applies for Google AdWords and for organic search results, here is what matters, “Landing pages, landing pages, landing pages.” On those landing pages, you need well-written “Titles,” Meta Descriptions,” “Headlines” and a first paragraph that contains the keywords for which you would like to be found. If you did not provide (or have your web developer edit and provide) well-written, keyword-rich content for your pages, those pages won’t rank well, if at all. If you want your website to be found for specific keywords, those words have to be well-placed on your landing pages. That, is a simple fact.

At and after launch:
  1. If your web developer does as he/she should,  he/she will create a sitemap.xml file that includes a list, of all, or at least the file names of the primary pages of your website. The sitemap.xml file should be submitted to Google and other major search engines. With Google, the correct way to submit it is using a Google Webmaster Tools Account. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and utilize sitemap.xml files. The search engine robots will follow the page links in the sitemap.xml file, index the content on the pages, and depending on your content, will include some or all of your pages in their search index.
  2. From there, your pages have to “earn” their way toward the high ranking in SERPS that everyone hopes to have. Notice I said “hopes.” There are no guarantees for organic search listing results. Good content and a good web developer can influence how you are are ranked, but if someone promises you a number one position or any specific position, put your hand on your wallet and run.
  3. If an existing website (preferably, one that ranks well in Google search page results, aka SERPS) has a link to your website, Google and some of the other search engines, will at some stage find that link, follow it, and as above, index the content on the pages, and depending on your content, will include some or all of your pages in their search index.
  4. Claim your Google Places page! I cannot emphasize this enough. Claim your Google Places page!
  5. You should ask to get your website listed in any local community directory. The Chamber of Commerce in most communities will have a business directory. Ask for links from vendors, and from associations to which you belong.
  6. Review and choose the Social Media that best suits you, and engage your prospects and customers.

Those are the basics. Most of the time, it takes weeks to months before a new website will rank well. If you do what I outlined above you will likely be pleased with your ranking  much sooner than later.

If you have done all of the above, and are still not ranking well, don’t despair. Just take another look at your content. Rewrite it making sure you have your keywords placed properly, and they are written according to Google’s guidelines. Review the websites that are getting found better than you. You will likely find some clues that will help with your website. Keep at it. You can get to the top!

Here are two effective ways to jump start a new website, or a newly revised website.