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A simple search engine check-up you can do yourself

How is your website doing with search engines?

Often website owners aren't sure how to gauge the sucecss of their website with search engines... here are a few simple steps:

Step 1 - List 10 keywords or keyword phrases that you think people might enter into a search engine to find your website. If you're having trouble coming up with 10 terms, try adding words that relate to geography. (i.e., 'farms in the Cowichan Valley', 'organic farms on Vancouver Island') Local search is becoming more important, particularly if your business involves clients or customers coming to your location.

Step 2 - use five search engines to test your list of keywords and keyword phrases. Google is the most popular search engine at the moment, but Bing, Yahoo, Ask, InfoSpace, WebCrawler, MyWebSearch, are also good choices. Or do a google-search for 'top ten search engines'.

Step 3 - Score your site. Give your site 1 point for every search term you test that shows your site listed in the top 10 results (or the first page of the listings). If your site shows multiple listings that's great, but you still only get one point. If you test 10 terms with 5 search engines, your maximum 'score' will be 50 points.

Assessing your results

If your site scores over 25, that's great - you have several keywords ranked well with multiple search engines. If your site scores less than 10, you might want to look into that further. Is there one search engine you're not showing any results with? It might be just a matter of time - if your site is new (or if you've selected keywords that relate to recently added content) you might need to wait a few more weeks to see results.

HINT: Post date-relevant content (events, sale dates etc.) at least 8 weeks in advance whenever possible - search engines can take a while to index newly added content.

If there are only a few keywords or phrases that your site ranks well for, consider adding more content to your website. Go back to your keywords list and think about how you can write text that relates to those keywords, and will engage your website visitors. If you're technically inclined, consider updates to your site meta-tags and image alt tags too.

Search Engines: Google -
Bing -
Yahoo -
Ask -
InfoSpace -
WebCrawler -
MyWebSearch -

More ways to check on your website success with search engines

How do you, as a website owner, find out how your website is doing? Is it successful with search engines, or are people having trouble finding your website? In addition to checking your site's ranking with search engines (see Part I). Here are five more ways you can assess the success of your website.

Alexa site ranking - gives your website a ranking in comparison to other sites, and offers tools to compare your websites success to other similar sites. Information about what sites link to yours, and other data may also be available.

Meta-Engines - search engines that return results from multiple other search engines. This is a great way to see how your site is listed in popular search engines without checking several sites. Try DogPile or Info or Search

Check your site meta-tags - a good tool to check out how your site meta-tags are looking to the search engines. Are you tags too long, too short, or are there other problems with your website meta-tags? Try Scrub the Web which offers a free meta-tag analyzer to help you check up on your site meta-data. Just enter your website address to get a free report immediately.

Check your keyword density - if you are not happy with you websites performance for certain keywords, you might want to check to see how frequently you have used those (and similar) keyword phrases - are you using too few, or too many? Either can be bad. SEOBook offers a free keyword density analyzer you can use to check out your own site, or your competition

Test your website speed and file performance. Images that are too large can cause pages to load slowly, and search engines to rank your site poorly - there are other aspects of your site performance that may impact your ranking. Try these free tools to test your website performance. Test your site's speed at or try Nibbler, another free website testing tool if the information you get from WebPageTest is too technical.

You have put a lot of time and effort into developing your website, writing content, taking photos and building your online presence. It is worth some time to make sure that your site is working hard to support your business. If you find you want to improve your website performance with search engines or if testing reveals problems you don't understand, you may want to consult a professional. Please email Andrea to talk more about what your website might need to find search success.

Contact Search Success Specialist Andrea Goodman if you have questions or suggestions for future articles


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