What if my website doesn't rank well?
Most people would like to see their website at #1 in Google, but it will of course depend on what search words or phrases you use. See Check your ranking for futher discussion of thst issue.
I can't see my website in the results - Whose fault is it?
The search engines use complex formulas (algorithms) to rank the websites in their database. These algorithms are secret and are changed and refined on an ongoing basis to keep up with developments on the web and to attempt to deliver the best quality results.
While the search engines are constantly trying to refine the methods they use to deliver the best quality, no search engine is perfect and it is amazing that such good results can be returned in such a short space of time. However, some "good" websites might get left behind if certain factors are given more weight than others. (Incidentally, if you're searching for information and can't find what you want in one search engine, try another. If it uses a different algorithm it might throw up some diffeent websites for you to try.)
Factors such as algorithm and frequency with which the index is updated will affect the results you see for a given search. So, to some extent your poor website ranking may be partly the search engines' "fault".
However, search engines are at least partly dependant on the content on the website in making their assessments, and it is hardly suprising that pages with unmeaningful titles and scant text should fair poorly compared to more informative and better designed competitors.
How can I improve my website ranking?
While the SEs keep their exact ranking algoritms a secret, there are some widely acknowledged practices that are likely to help a poorly-performing website. many will help yor human visitors, too. See Common website problems and Promoting your website for some ideas on improvement s that you might be able to make to help your website rank better.
"Search Engine Optimisation" (SEO) techniques are also discussed extensively on the internet. You'll find plenty of free information out there if you want to pursue this further. If you don't have the time or inclination to work on this yourself, there are many people offering professional SEO services that will be prepared to asist you, for a price.
Don't "spam" the search engines
A word of warning - While it is good practice to have SE rankings in mind when developing your webpages, don't think techiques like repeating a keyword over and over or hiding it against a coloured background are the way to go. Such obvious tricks might sink your websiteor have it banned altogether. Again, take a look at some of the SEO information available on the net for guidance on what is and isn't acceptable.
Have realistic expectations
While ranking well can be a great advantage for a business, and its worth making a resonable effort to improve your website's chances (especially if it makes the site more useful for your human visitors, too) don't expect to shoot to the top of the search engines' results for every keyphrase you desire.
It may take take quite a bit of time and effort to see results, and even then it may be very difficult to rank in categories with lots of competitors, or with well established and popular websites.
As the number of websites increases (it's to be expected that most businesses will have a website eventually), and business owners become more internet savvy, it will be increasingly harder to hit that #1 spot in the "organic" search listings. However, there are other ways to generate traffic to your website, such as offline and online advertising. See Promoting your website and Online advertising.
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