I receive many inquiries from small business owners who have websites. Many times these folks are looking for website maintenance, or want more traffic from their websites. It only takes a few seconds to determine whether the person who designed their website had any interest in search engine optimization. Seriously, just a few seconds, and I’ll show you how.
Call up the website under scrutiny on your browser.
Look at the title at the very top of your browser. No, not the URL (web address) but above it.
Does it simply state the name of the business? Or worse yet, does it say “home”?
This title is called a “meta tag”, which means it contains information that’s about your website, and doesn’t appears anywhere in the content. It’s a higher level tag than the other tags. This it why it appears outside the content, at the very top of your browser window.
Want to see where else it shows up? In the search engine snippet. If you’ve never heard of this, you can watch Google’s Matt Cutts explain the anatomy of a search snippet here. It’s important your title contain your most important keywords – and this is critical – unless your business is already known, don’t use the name of your business first in the title, put it last. You’re trying to have people find you who don’t know the name of your business.
This meta tag, the title tag is super, super duper important. It tells search engines what your page is about. Yes, the content on the page matters as well, very much so. But this one tiny detail of web design, that is so vital to search engine optimization, will frequently be ignored by web designers who care more about how a website looks, and less about how well it will serve the small business owner.
So if you’re looking for a web designer, and you’re looking through their portfolio, notice their titles. If you don’t see any attempt to use keywords in the titles, look no further. Find someone else.
Likewise, if you have a website and your page titles are “home” or “your company name”, find someone to do some minimum search engine optimization on your website pronto. Unless of course you’re Home Depot, but I’m guessing you’re not ðŸ™‚Jill
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.