Getting Found on Search Engines

At 111WEB STUDIO, we understand that not all website owners are interested in attracting and retaining new visitors to their websites or enticing new them to return regularly, but if that is your goal, you will find detailed instructions below for building a strong starting foundation on which you'll build your search engine optimization work, crafting content-rich pages, and building effective links that point to your website, effectively all of which can be managed by the robust administrative interface that makes your Church111 the strong website building tool that it is.

If this sounds like more than you want to take on, though, know that 111 Web Studio is experienced and skilled in applying these and more measures to get your website found by search engines. A full list of search engine related services ca be fround here.

Knowing the basics before diving in

Right out of the box, your Church111 website is a fully functioning website, and anyone who knows your url (the www web address) can view your content. Better still, your Church111 is built on a lean, up-to-date HTML/CSS3 codebase that is easy for major search engines to find, evaluate and rank, giving you an SEO advantage right from the start.

But before you put your fingers to work getting your site found on search engines you'll need to understand a few basics about the process of site optimization and link building. We strongly suggest that anyone interested in attracting and retaining visitors to your website begin by read the following topics.

After you've read the sections above or if you already know the basics, begin your journey by reading, "Let's get to getting your website found, already" below.

Church111 as your search engine toolbox

The Church111 administrative interface — hereafter referred to as "the admin," or "the admin interface" — allows you, the website owner, access to virtually all areas necessary for page optimization. You can change your page titles, META tags, content and image alt tags to identify your page. You can also add in Google and Bing! verification codes to let the search engines know you're up, running and relevant and Google Analytics code to allow you robust traffic tracking capability. And you can help perfect the xml sitemap that your Church111 website automatically generates to reflect each page's priority in your site, so the major search engines know which pages to pay attention and how much attention to pay, effectively uncluttering your search results.

Church111 is loaded with tools to help your get your website found by major search engines. Church111 allows you to:

  • Craft HTML page titles, currently considered one of, if not THE most important page element in regards to search engine optimization.
  • Craft META keywords and META descriptions
  • Include other SEO related META tags, notably Google and Bing! verification code
  • Include Google Analytics (or no limit of other organizations') tracking snippets
  • Craft image alt-tags
  • Craft all visible content elements including headlines, subheads and text blocks
  • Create unlimited support pages to raise the authority of a main page's content

The why and how of each of these SEO-related tools as well as many other basic and advanced aspects of SEO are explained throughout this section.

The two halves of getting your website found

There are two halves to the task of attracting search engines and visitors to your website: making your site as search- and user friendly as possible, which is referred to as SEO, or search engine optimization; and building links that point to your website, all the measures of which fall under the umbrella of SEM, or search engine marketing.

Both halves are essential and both halves work together but they are, for the most part, separate in their implementation.

Start with a strong foundation

The foundation of a building may not be the eye-catching part of the project but one wouldn't think about beginning construction without it. So too it is the case with website optimization. Such foundational work begins by establishing a foothold with the major search engines by creating a webmaster account, verifying your website using a variety of methods, and creating an xml sitemap for use by the search engines themselves as opposed to human users. Then it is suggested that you install a tracking snippet on all of your website's pages. Once these steps are complete, you'll be able to proceed with confidence to true organic page optimization and link building, the finer aspects of each explained in various sections below.

Note that though it is not strictly foundational work, 111 Design Studio typically will bundle basic organic SEO work on your website's home page. We'll take a look at your home page title, META keywords and descriptions, text headlines, subheads and text blocks, and image alt-tags. Depending upon our arrangements with you, we will either make improvements direction or provide you with a list of suggestions so you can perform the work  yourself. This foundational work usually takes our SEO expert between 2 and 4 hours of work, again depending upon the nature and depth of the work decided upon.

Why aren't more SEO enhancements automatically added?

Websites can serve many purposes and not all require a focus on increasing visitor traffic. Of those websites that do target increasing traffic, the manner in which that traffic is reached can differ widely. Furthermore, there is a nearly endless list of possible enhancements and methods for increasing visitor traffic. Since many of these SEO enhancements can be done by the site administrator, to include them all would not only be unnecessary for many sites, but it might also put the cost of a website out of reach for many churches.

It is our belief that even the smallest or newest of organizations deserves a top-quality web presence. By allowing Church111 users who have a specific focus on search engine ranking to start from the same clean starting point, they can better choose the enhancements and customize their web site to fit their individual needs. An added benefit is that 111 Web Studio Link can continue to keep Church111 affordable for everyone.

How do search engines think?

Gaining an understanding of how search engines see and think is essential to everything you do regarding SEO and SEM because the search engines are as much your target audience as your human users. Here are some basic rules to keep in mind as you create and perfect page content, build page links and cultivate visitors to your website.

Rule 1: Search engines read text.¨
If you can select individual words in a web page, a search engine can read it. They do NOT read Flash or traditional images. They are also often unpredictably confused or outright foiled by dropdown menus, forms and (older) javascripts, There are work-arounds for each of these hurdles, but these work-arounds carry less weight than good, old-fashioned selectable text. And when it comes to selectable text, more — to a point — is better, but ONLY if the text is genuinely relevant to the web page's decided topic of focus. Whenever possible, avoid locking key content in images or the like and avoid hiding it behind convoluted coding.

Rule 2: Search engines reward change.
Nothing communicates "I am a thought leader" more than regularly updated content. Search engines learn quickly which sites offer new, fresh, relevant content and check back on them with increased frequency. More check-backs equals higher ranking, again, provided the content remains genuinely relevant and, as we'll read in a moment, well-connected. Consider updating content regularly. Use of a content management system is highly suggested as they promote easy management of content.

Rule 3: Search engines focus most on the home page.
Anywhere from 65-80% of a search engine's attention is given to the home page. That percentage of the remainder is split between the second-tier page. And so on, further clicks in. Most SEO time should be spent on a site's home page.

Rule 4: Search engines look for external links.
This is the entire basis for SEM, the opposite side of the coin from SEO and the second half of successfully raising the visibility of your website. The more interconnected your content is, the better, but the real strength comes from having links from other notable sites — organizations, associations, other thought-leaders, personal websites, etc. — pointing to key points on your site.

Let's get your website found, already

Now that you've got an idea of what Church111 can do for you, what you're trying to accomplish and how the beast you're trying to tame thinks and reacts, you can truly begin your journey. Keep in mind that every site is different and should be promoted like the unique work that it is. The following topics guide you along one suggested path to getting your website not only seen by search engiens but understood, even enjoyed, optimally shared by your human users. Every website is different and there are difference in how they should be optimized but you'll never break anything if you don't following any of the steps to a tee.