A great many web sites are launched every year, and in some respects it’s a little like building a shop in the middle of a forest e.g. you can’t see the wood for the trees.
Web design and search engine optimisation are two quite different disciplines. Most web designers are focused on form – intent of producing a visually attractive site which will gain a cusomers interest and attention long enough to make the sale etc. Few web page designers implement SEO as an integral part of the web development project.
Retrospective SEO requires a great deal of extra effort and, consequently, additional costs. For that reason many site owners opt to not do this at the outset, but find it necessary to address it later when site traffic does not match initial expectations.
For any business enterprise hoping to make any Internet-based sales, or promote its services, it is crucial that your prospective clients can actually find your web site. A great many businesses and clients will make their first contact via search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN.
The prospective client seeks out a service or product by making a search using a particular key word or phrase. Those web sites that appear in the first 1-2 pages of results have the best chance of making a sale. If your site does not rank in the Top 30 results, you basically have no chance of success, as barely 10% of searchers will go to or past the 3rd page of results. If they don’t find what they want of the first or second page, the majority will either refine their search term, or go to a different search engine.
Search Engine Optimisation is all about marketing your web site more effectively, with the goal of improving your site’s exposure to customers and clients on the Internet. It has often been described as “part art and part science.” There are two main aspects to SEO;
The first is where we improve your “organic” or natural search results -achieving higher rankings by optimising and increasing the relevancy of your site to a specific search query. This is done by carefully analysing your sites ‘”theme” and ensuring that it is easy for the search engines to accurately categorise and index it. This requires the ability to concisely and accurately describe precisely what the site is about, using correct key words and phrases.
These key words and phrases are positioned at the strategic on-page and off-page locations that search engines expect to find such descriptive elements. These elements include meta-tags such as Title, Descriptions, Keywords, Image ALT and Comment tags, page and image file names, hyperlinked anchor text & bookmarks, paragraph headings, and body text.
Organic search engine rankings are regarded as the ultimate because they are “free” once the initial work is done. Better still, searchers regard these “natural” high rankings more favourably than the sponsored listings type described next.
The second aspect of SEO is pay-per-click, where your site appears in the “sponsored listing” section of the search engine’s results page and in Adsense advertising panels in many individual web sites. This requires you first to develop a list of relevant keywords or phrases. Then, you write advertising copy by way of titles and descriptions to be displayed to a searcher who uses the keywords or phrases you’ve chosen.
If a searcher clicks on your listing within the “Sponsored Listings” and goes to your site, you pay a predetermined amount per click. You set the “bid” threshold that you will pay, and this ranges from a few cents to over a $ for very competitive keywords. The most commonly encountered example of PPC is on Google – do a search for anything, you will 2-3 sponsored listings at the top of the page, and a block of them down the right hand side.
For many businesses, a combination of organic and PPC search engine optimisation works best. This is especially true if you sell a wide variety of items. Under those circumstances, it can be difficult to target all possible permutation of keywords and phrases within pages on the site. However, using Google Adwords or Yahoo Search Marketing, it is possible to target hundreds or key words and phrases – the usual editorial criteria being that you can only use terms which are relevant to the content on your site. Listings are validated by the PPC editorial staff prior to allowing them to go live online.
Both organic and PPC options are good at delivering “qualified” traffic to your site e.g. these are visitors who actively searched for the specific product or service, found a link to your site and clicked on it.
These days there is a great deal of competition amongst millions of web sites for rankings on the search engines. If you do not ensure your site is properly optimised for your specific theme, product and service, then it is doomed to mediocrity.
The consequences of NOT optimising your site are;
- most people will only find you by accident
- you don’t get “qualified” traffic – visitors who want what you sell
- you miss out on sales of products and services - your competitors get them instead!
However, the “return on investment” for SEO is usually very good indeed!
A properly optimised site will see prompt and measurable increases in search engine traffic, usually accompanied by an increase in enquries and sales.
Author: The SEO Guy
Last updated byTags: on .File Names, SEO Companies, Yahoo