To make your website show up better on search engines you have to know where your website currently stands in the search results. To do that you need to know what your keywords are. For this blog, we'll use our own website to demonstrate this, and our main keywords are "Columbus website design." (Learn more about keywords here.) You can see how we show up in Google search results for that search term here.
And for anyone to get truly accurate results, you can't just Google keywords sitting at the desks in our offices. Why is that? The two simple reasons are:
- Google knows everything, and
- Browsers are smarter than you think.
To be more specific:
Google knows where you're searching from, and returns results based on your location.
Want to test that? You probably already have when you Googled "restaurants near me" and you've seen the results they returned: all restaurants around your location. So we know Google tracks where we search from. Since your office location is in the exact location you're searching from, that makes your company (and the website that represents it) the closest company to where you're physically searching from. If that makes sense...
Browsers are smarter than you think, and show links to websites you've visited before.
We go to our website a lot to:
- write blogs (like this one),
- add new projects, and
- copy domain names (when we want to sent a prospect a link to, say, our logo page so we can email it to them, we go to that page on our site and copy the URL).
If you've been to your website a lot – and more often than any of your competitor's websites – your browser remembers that. So when you're Googl'ing the keywords you're using throughout your website (let's say "home builders in Dallas" or "plastic surgeons in West Palm Beach"), your browser remembers you've been to your site before. And trying to be helpful, your browser will return the link to your website higher than it does for someone who has NEVER been to your website before (which is most people).
How you can tell if a website is shown artificially high in your search results?
When you've been to a website before, the Page Title of that website is purple, while the other Page Titles are blue. (Learn more about Page Titles here.) That's a giveaway your website is showing up artificially high, because you've visited it before. In that scenario, you're seeing your website higher in the search results than someone who has never been to your site before.
Four ways to test how someone who has never been to your website before, sees you in the search results.
You might be wondering just how can you see what someone who has never been to your website before (ie: a new prospect) sees in the search results. As a side note: searching for what you do (ie: Phoenix home builders, Minneapolis plastic surgery, Columbus website design etc.), opposed to searching by your company name. Searching by what it is you do, is what SEO is all about. If people search for you by your company name, they will find your website. If they don't, you have a whole 'nother set of problems with your website!
Fortunately, there are ways to do see how someone who has never been to your website before sees you (or, worse, doesn't see you) in the search results. Here, in order, are the best ways to do that:
- Search from a friend's computer, from a location away from your office, if they've never been to your website.
- Go to the Apple store and use one of their iMacs on display. (We do that every time we're at the Apple store.)
- Clear your cache. If you're using Firefox, click here to see screen shots showing how to clear your browser's cache. If you're using a different web browser, just Google "How to clear cache on Chrome" (or whichever browser you're using).
- Search from Google Chrome browser's "Incognito Window." See how to open Google Chrome's Incognito Window here. Note, using Chrome's Incognito Window replicates someone searching from an "unknown" location (meaning not your office) who hasn't been to your website before. While Chrome's "Incognito Window" doesn't recognize websites you've been to previously, it won't hide what you're browsing from your internet service provider, which websites you visited (from those website's data), nor from your employer. So in that respect, it's not truly incognito. But for purposes of searching your keywords to see where your website shows up in search engines, it works.
Step 1: Under the History pull down menu, toggle to "Clear Recent History"
Step 2: Next to the "Time range to clear" toggle to Everything.
Step 3: select the four buttons shown, and click "Clear Now."
With Chrome's browser window open, click the three vertical dots to the right of the search window, and toggle to "New Incognito Window." Simple as that. The "New Incognito Window" will have a black background.
Important: If a pop up window comes up and says "Chrome's Incognito Window wants to use your location" (or something along those lines) be sure to click "Do Not Allow." The whole purpose for "going incognito" is so the web browser you're using DOESN'T know where you're searching from, thereby mimicking how a prospect would be conducting a search for your products or services.
We hope this information helps you see how your prospects are seeing you, opposed to how you're seeing yourself in search results. Without knowing this, you might think your website is showing up really well, when it's not. And when you're wondering why people aren't contacting you through your website, it could be because they really can't find it.
There's a lot to SEO and showing up well in Google and other search engines, and if you want to make that happen for your website, maybe we should chat. Feel free to contact us to learn more.