Web Advertising Part 3.
In this installment I will try to describe what is perhaps the most important step you can take to get search engines to favor your web presence; keeping it alive and relevant in the electronic eyes of those search engines. This is important for numerous reasons but let us focus on this one aspect first. The search engines preview content continuously so they can instantly show you relevant responses to your queries; in doing so, they visit web pages (remember when we registered our page(s) with the search engines) to verify that the page is still relevant and to see if it has changed. A couple of impacts occur as a result; if nothing has changed, the score for the page is reduced based on, among other things, how long it has been since the page was changed. If it has changed, the search engine will re-score the page based on the new content and then on its over all content including words, tags, descriptions and so forth.
This score I am talking about is a measure of what sorts of things the content of the website is relevant to. The search engines are completely mechanical in their scoring; no human interference, no human intuition, simple brute force data collection and tabulation combined with a measure of how fresh that data is, and how well the website embodies certain measures of accessibility (does it optimize for different devices, does it provide alternate text for non-text items, does it contain multi-media content and other factors are valued). Now, each search engine is a little different, each one scores differently; but, the intent is the same. The search engines provide quick direction to websites that are most relevant for the search criteria provided by a user; in addition to websites that have paid to be included in searches for some or all of the search criteria. Exactly how important each aspect is varies with different search engines; but, that freshness is always an important factor. You don’t really want to be shown websites that haven’t changed in five years (is that company still operating if their website hasn’t changed?) and this is one part of the score we can influence easily.
Over time, what you provide or how much you charge for products and services may change; updating your website to reflect that is a great idea if only for this reason. Bonus, updating that website also creates new interest on the part of the search engine and serves to potentially increase your score simply because your website is showing life, growth, freshness! As time goes on, you may get new improved media items to replace old ones or think of better ways to describe your offerings; don’t be shy, this is all positive in terms of increasing the score of your website. If you join a new organization pertinent to your offerings, add a link to that organization, get them to link back to your page, add a post or a paragraph to your page describing how this relationship improves your offerings. All of this keeps your website alive and interesting to the search engines and consumers alike.
I wish to offer a cautionary note at this point; particularly if customers use your website regularly for reference or their commercial or personal activities. Changing the overall structure of your website, which may keep it fresh, may also cause some frustration for your customers. Adding and enhancing content is one thing (a positive thing); but, making major changes on a regular basis can prove frustrating to folks for whom your website is a regular resource. Keeping the navigation of the website consistent and the type of content consistent can go a long way to maintaining customer loyalty. If you are thinking about providing an entirely new type of content, this is a good place to create a new website and then provide a link to it (the new website) on your current website (remember to provide an obvious return link on the new website). A quick tip; most hosting plans allow for free subdomains which can be a great place to test new content, new business ideas, with only your time as an investment as far as web presence is concerned. If you need help with this concept, your hosting help line or favorite consultant is likely to be very familiar with this and related topics.
Keeping your website and other web offerings up to date is one of the easiest tasks you can undertake and it offers numerous advantages related to why you created a web presence in the first place. I recommend that you set aside time each month to review all of your web assets with an eye to making small improvements on a regular basis; and remember the web itself is constantly changing, growing, and adapting to the demands of a huge audience; you can grow with it and prosper.