There is a deep dark secret to being found by search engines, and it is in plain sight. The king of search, well Google, of course, will tell you straight up. I’ll do the same. The primary job of a search engine is to deliver to answer the search query. So, to increase your ranking on search engines, your site needs to be the best site to answer the question. Search engines have been getting pretty awesome at interpreting our questions and giving us the best sites to get answers.
There are a couple of reasons for this and most of the advances have come from how technology interacts with and interprets human actions. First, search engines can separate out sites based on geography. If someone is searching for pizza, it is a pretty good guess that they want a pizza restaurant that is close. The second great leap forward has been in semantic search. With semantic search, the search engine does not look or words, but rather words in context. Computers, in general, have gotten much better at this especially in the area of voice recognition. Pick any word… let’s say, “channel” Without any context, the word “channel” could be the tv channel we watch, it could be a marketing channel, or it could be a waterway channel. We human beings can tell which by the context of the conversation. Computers and search engines can also tell now.
These advances help search engines deliver the right answer to the search query. Our best bet to have our websites be the solution to the query. No matter beautiful we make out websites, if people can’t find them in a search, they only way we will be found is through referrals and even then, when people are making a big buying decision, odds are very high that they are going to go online to research us and the competition.
The right tools always help jobs much easier- ( Well, that’s a no-brainer ) But, there are times when we either do not know they exist or if we do, where to find them. While working on the digital footprints of companies and non-profits, I find myself returning to many resources that I’ll share with you here.
- Searching for a domain name. Short, easy to remember and distinctly related to the nature of the product.
- Searching for a hosting company.
It’s easy to think that your web guy is pulling your leg when she tells you that everything is done, we just have to wait until it propagates. But, this is true. When we make changes to DNS settings, It can take 24 to 48 hours for servers around the globe to match your domain name ( mydomain.com) to the real IP address of the server your files are on. It can take a while for every DNS server in the world to make that connection. There is something you can do before making DNS changes or nameservers that may speed up the process. There is a setting called Time to Live or TTL. It is a setting that tells servers around the world how long to cache your info. By setting a low ttl in advance If you are like me, waiting comes along with the feeling of doubt. Did I do that right? If I make another change will I have to start the timer all over? Well, there is a little panic button we can use.
We can visit, WhatsMyDNS and enter our domain name to see where the servers have been updated and where they have not.
If you are impatient like me, you will probably leave a browser window open so that you can check it every 5 mins.
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