Sirens blare. Ambulance lights flash. The paramedics jump out and attend to the things that they need to do to stabilize the patient. They check pulse and breath, administer CPR, minimize the bleeding, and brace the neck. Then they load the victim onto a gurney and rush back down the road to the hospital, where the doctors can really fix the problem.
No one wants an emergency—but if you’ve got one on your hands, it’s good to know the steps to take to “stabilize the patient.” If your small business emergency is that your website isn’t showing up on the search engines, there a couple of steps you can take right now.
You just have to check 2 things to perform Search Engine CPR on your site:
1. That the search engines know about you.
This step is simple. Just go to Google or Yahoo and type in your business name. If that doesn’t turn your site up, then try typing in your URL.
If neither search results in your business showing up, then it means that the search engines haven’t found or indexed your site yet. In all likelihood, the source of this problem could be that your site hasn’t been up long enough.
The search engine’s robots have a long list of sites to visit, and they just might not have had a chance to get to yours yet. If you just launched your site, it can take up to 9 months for them to come visit you.
If this is your emergency, you can “light a fire” under the search engines by visiting them and submitting your site to their to-do list. Look for their “Submit Your Site” options—all the major search engines offer this option. This will ensure that they have your site on their lists and that they’ll stop by sooner rather than later.
2. That your site is using title tags effectively.
Do you ever wonder why some sites display a bunch of text at the top of your Internet Explorer or Firefox window instead of just the company name? The text in that area is controlled by your title tags, and people put all of that text in those tags because the search engines really notice them. The engines give that text a lot of weight when they decide where to rank your site.
So, if you pull up your website, and your business name or page name is all that’s up at the top of the browser window, you aren’t using your title tags as effectively as you could.
Go back to these tags and re-write them to include keywords that relate to your business. For example, if you’re a pet sitter, your title tags might say “Happy Wags Pet Sitting | Watching dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, turtles and even goldfish in the San Francisco Bay Area.” That gets many more keywords into this valuable real estate.
Once your tags are rewritten, you can add them to the title tags in your HTML, or if you don’t know how, just ask your web designer or coder to do it for you. It shouldn’t take long, and it will pay off in a big way!
After you get your website out of emergency status with these two basic CPR steps, you’ll be able to step back and plan to improve your site’s ranking instead. And that plan will enable you to fix the problem and really get noticed by the search engines instead of just stabilizing it temporarily.