HOW TO Get Your Website

Indexed Correctly by Search Engines

by Joelle Steele

If you have a Web site, you know how important it is to get it into the search engine results pages (a.k.a. the "SERPs"). If your Web site isn't indexed well it won't come up in the SERPS when a potential visitor searches for what you sell. In other words, you'll be invisible, and no one will visit your site.

Now, in the early days of the Internet, before there was a World Wide Web, search engines didn't have that much to index because they didn't have to "crawl" the Web — the millions of Web sites that we have today. So, nowadays, Web site owners have to work a lot harder to get indexed correctly by search engines.

Search engines are intuitive — or at least they try to be — and the Web is completely word-driven. So, if you write and code your Web pages correctly, and if they are filled with relevant content, search engines and visitors alike should be able to find you quite easily.

But there are other things that search engines index. And it'is important to keep those things in mind too. Did you know that your domain name gets indexed? That's why selecting your domain name is so important. The more clearly the domain name defines what you do or sell, the better. For example, if you are a public storage company:

POOR: www.millerenterprises.com
GOOD: www.millerpublicstorage.com

Search engines also index your file names. If you have a page with content about used automobile parts:

POOR: parts.html
GOOD: usedautoparts.html

Remember that search engines can read the individual words, even without the spaces between them.

The title of your page is also indexed. If your article is about how to build a birdhouse for martins:

POOR: "A Home for The Martins"
GOOD: "How to Build a Birdhouse for Martins"

A title might be very cute or clever, but it doesn't always say what the content includes. So, at the very least, make a more explanatory subtitle to go with a cutesy main title.

Lastly, your meta tags (head tags) are indexed. The title tag should be identical, or almost identical, to the page title. After all, that title tag is what will show up in the SERPS, where it will look something like this:

So, if you have an article about building a birdhouse, make sure the search engine has a title and description head tag like the ones above to show to your potential visitors who want to know that you have just what they need.

TITLE TAG: <title>How to Build a Birdhouse for Martins</title>
PAGE TITLE: How to Build a Birdhouse for Martins

The other meta or head tags, the description and keyword tags, are also indexed by search engines. You should have all the information in them that the search engine needs to index your page. For example, for your birdhouse article, you might want to code your head tags similarly to these:

<meta name="description" content="Here are some very simple instructions for building a beautiful redwood shingled birdhouse for martins.">

<meta name="keywords" content="birdhouse, bird house, bird house for martins, redwood birdhouse">

Before you launch that Web page, remember that search engines are looking at everything. Be sure what they're looking for is there when they stop by to index your Web site.

This article last updated: 11/04/2013.