What is a name?
An ancient proverb found in the Bible book of Ecclesiastes (7:1) states that “a good name is better than fine perfume.” An alternate translation of that goes this way, “A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.”
Now, I am not here to get all preachy. Not my purpose at all. But this does illustrate how a reputation follows us through life just like our name. Few stop to think about how our name gains a reputation online, both in the eyes of readers and more importantly for sake of our discussion, the search engines.
Can a Website Gain a Reputation with the Search Engines?
The short answer to this is yes. The long answer is also yes. The point is, the search engines have a form of AI built in and they remember. Rather than calling them search crawlers or spiders, they should rather be called search elephants. Their memories are just as lasting.
If a website was built many years ago and was built poorly, it will continue to perform poorly for unless the right steps are taken to rectify the situation. If a site is rebuilt well, it will continue to perform poorly for some time. This is because early in the development of a website, the search crawlers determine how often content is added. If content is added infrequently, the crawlers will determine how often to scan the site. This is to reduce the workload on the programs and thus the expenses associated with computing space on mainframes and servers.
Thus, if a website gains a poor reputation early on and no radical changes are made, that reputation follows. That is the downside.
What Can be Done to Regain a Good Name with Google?
On the upside, Google is very forgiving. If a website has failed to gain traffic, there are many things which can be done to turn it around. The first step is to find out what is wrong. If a website has no traffic, this can be difficult, but not impossible. Just time-consuming. If a website as at least a little traffic, getting set up in Google Console can provide valuable insights into searchers habits and where the site is positioned. For this to be useful, though, the site needs to be getting at least some traffic from search engines.
Setting this aside for a moment, one of the best things to do is go through every page and update the information. If no updates are possible, add more content. And make sure there is enough content on the page to merit another look by Google. At one time, website owners were advised to create pages at least 700 words in length. Today, a webmaster would be best-served by providing enough written content to adequately answer any questions a reader of that page would ask. This usually runs in excess of 2000 words, unless someone has nothing to say or offer.
Next, if the site does not have a blog, add one. This will do two things if used right. Initially, a blog will trigger a notice to the search crawlers that they should check for new content. Generally, search crawlers will scan the site once a week until they know how often the site will add new blog content. If content is added sporadically or rarely, the crawlers will back away from crawling the site. If added regularly, the crawlers will scan the site often. I once had a site where the crawlers picked up on a post within 20 minutes. I know, because it went viral 20 minutes after I posted it. That was fun. That was my first, though not my only. But that is the one I will remember most.
What is The Most Important Thing You Can do to Regain a Good Name with Google?
Provide readers with value. Give those searching for what you offer a reason to come to your website. If you have a law firm website, stop using cookie-cutter content creators such as the big names in Law writing. The big names (you know, the publishers of Law Books) do not create valuable content. Instead, they take a cookie-cutter approach to every site adjusting it slightly per state law. The result is thousands of websites in a given region that all sound alike. The ultimate result is that the search engines cannot distinguish your site from amid the noise of all the other cookies.
Instead, step away from that and answer the questions readers are really looking for. Give your readers, that is, your target market, valuable information. Show them you are an expert by what you write. Do this and the search engines will quickly learn that your website stands out. You will then gain a good name with Google and your reputation will grow. In turn, your reputation with the public will grow and in turn, your practice.
About the Author
C J Oakes operates Oakes Writing Website Services from his home in Lubbock, Texas, where he spends as much time as possible with his son. Passionate about law, justice, and writing, he left the Criminal Justice field to work full-time helping Law Firms and other professionals build better websites.
If you have need of his services or have questions about what you have read here, call him at 337-660-4774, email CJOakes@OakesWriting.com, or complete the simple online form below.