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Connexus : Issue 40
How to stand out in a crowd Is Google helping or hindering your business? BY CYNTHIA KARENA Google's role as de facto directory listing for everything on the internet makes it a powerful tool for mutuals trying to catch the attention of potential customers. Achieving a listing on the frst page of a Google search is considered crucial because it drives traffc to your website. So how is it done? A website's ranking is determined from a search engine's algorithm (or formula). Google, bing and Yahoo are examples of search engines. "The search engine algorithm evaluates the importance, value and relevance of millions of websites based on a variety of factors and rewards the 'best' websites with a top ranking," says Daniel Benton, general manager of search at marketing and communications fr m Salmat Digital. Understanding how to design and organise your website to make the most of Google has given rise to a term: Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. Good quality content is essential, says Benton. Find the right keywords "A mark of great content is how closely it is aligned with the keywords your customers are searching for and how effectively it solves their problems," he says. "Regularly updating your website with fresh, quality content can also help push your website to the earlier pages of an online search." You can fnd the most relevant keywords by asking your existing clients, suggests Noam Judah, director of SEO company TopRankings. “Survey them to fnd how they describe your product offering, ser vice or profession. What would they Google to fnd an organisation like yours?” Search engine friendly websites typically include targeted keywords on the homepage, across headings as well as the main body of the text, says Judah. "Ideally, every page needs signage [headings], like the signage in supermarket aisles to help you fnd what you're looking for," he says. For example, search for "home loan" and the frst Google listing is the echoice. com.au website. It includes the phrase "home loan" in its main heading, in its subheadings, and in one of the main sub-pages in home loans; and the word ‘home’ in the frst three tabs, notes Judah. Algorithm changes Website creators often attempt to trick the search engines, for example by embedding thousands of keywords on a site and constantly adding new content, much of it cheaply produced. But Google's page ranking algorithms (and those of other search engines) are regularly tweaked to and it helps to be aware of the changes, says Tania Taylor, general manager at AgencyXYZ online marketing solutions. "Google changes its search algorithm to improve searches, but also to weed out sites that use unethical tactics in order to achieve a higher ranking. "Examples include paying for links back to a site, or trying to create fake links to a site to fool search engines." Recent changes to the algorithm look for more natural linking patter ns, says Taylor. "Google wants to see links from a variety of sources -- social media sites (such as Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook), from press releases and news A mark of great content is how closely it is aligned with the keywords your customers are searching for and how efectively it solves their problems. Daniel Benton, General Manager, Salmat Digital 36 Connexus Technology