Generally speaking, a website that’s been submitted to Google or has been linked to by a site that Google visits regularly will begin showing up in searches for its own name within a few weeks of its launch. In other words, joeblogswidgets.com.au should eventually show up in the results of Google searches for ‘joe blogs widgets’.
That’s a start, but it’s unlikely that many people are using that particular search term (keyword) on Google! It’s much more valuable for your site to appear towards the top of the first page of results for the keywords people actually use when looking for your particular product or service.
For example, if you’re in the business of selling widgets, ideally your site should be one of the first that potential customers see when they search with the keywords “buy widgets”, “designer widgets” and “discount widgets”.
AdWords and SEO are the two main methods you can use for getting your website on Google. There’s also a third method for those who only want to target their local area, but that’s a topic for another day – we’ll just look at the bigger picture for now.
Google uses the term ‘Sponsored Links’ to describe the listings that appear in a coloured box at the top of a page of search results and in a narrow strip down the right hand side. These links are part of the AdWords program, and Google sells them to advertisers who are willing to pay for website visitors on a ‘pay per click’ (PPC) basis.
Google’s AdWords program means that for a price, your site can easily appear on the results pages of keyword searches that are relevant to your business. Joe’s AdWords campaign is set up so that his listing appears when people search Google for “discount widgets”, “widget sales” and other widget-related phrases. The amount he pays per click depends on how much competition there is for those keywords and how close to the top of the page he wants his listing to appear.
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Since advertisers are able to connect with potential customers at the very moment that people are searching for their products and services, it’s not surprising that this form of search engine marketing (SEM) can be highly successful for businesses who target the right keywords.
Another option is to have Google drive traffic to your site for free using search engine optimisation (SEO). SEO takes longer than AdWords, and results can be more difficult to achieve, but is still highly valuable. SEO is an ongoing effort to get your website to appear in Google’s organic listings (those that appear on the left of a search results page). As with AdWords, the more websites there are competing for the same keywords, the more difficult it will be for your site to appear on the first page of results.
Optimising your site for good natural listings for a particular keyword involves getting the content of your site into a form that’s search engine-friendly, and convincing Google that the site deserves to be listed. You may need to manipulate elements of your site such as the page titles, headings and internal link structure, and may also need to do some off-site work to encourage other websites to link to yours.
The quantity and quality of those incoming links are especially important when you’re competing for listings with highly competitive keywords, because Google regards each incoming link as a vote of confidence in your site.
What effect have AdWords and SEO had on getting your website on Google? Please share your tips and experiences below.