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Search engine optimisation

Search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy

Search engine optimisation is a long-term strategy but one that should be developed at the earliest possible stage, whether your business is planning to launch a new website, or have an existing site that is not yet pulling in enough traffic from prospective customers.

Unlike pay-per-click advertising, which can start to generate results within hours, search engine optimisation needs to be developed into the content and structure of the website and, even with this in place, it may take weeks or even months before the main search engines start to rank the site well. Each search engine will use different criteria to rank a site well, including external site factors like inbound links from other sites, but despite the increasing competition in every market, high rankings are still possible and can be the most cost-effective way to attract visitors to your website from search.

Consider the following tips to help improve your search engine ranking strategy:

  • Be clear on the objectives for your website. What do you want to achieve? How will your target customers be searching for information? Do you want to attract a high quantity of visits from a broad customer base, or a small number of highly targeted visits? Do you want to draw traffic from worldwide, just in the UK, or within a smaller city or county region?
  • To succeed on search engines, consider the keywords and phrases that your potential customers might use to find information about you. It will be vital to get these right as they are central to optimising your website.
  • Your website will need to use the Title tag and Description metatag effectively on each page to ensure that it is targeting the best search terms throughout the site and on each relevant page.
  • Above all, content is crucial, providing users with relevant and useful information that will keep them coming back to your site – and written in a way that is search engine friendly.
  • Build in a page for links to other relevant websites. This will offer value to your users but more importantly, allows you to build ‘link popularity’ through reciprocal links, which in turn will help enhance your search engine ranking and create traffic from other websites.
  • Choose a web designer that understands your objectives and is not simply keen to demonstrate their skills on the latest web design techniques. Even if your web designer does not offer a full search engine marketing service, they should be aware of how to optimise your pages to achieve a good ranking.
  • Use ‘SEO-friendly’ website design to improve your chances of getting all your pages indexed and ranking well. Avoid redirect pages, software such as Flash, or other techniques such as some JavaScript navigation or image maps. These can all impact how a search engine can, or will, index your site. Dynamically-generated websites can also create problems for search engines to index a site, although they can also be used very effectively within an optimisation strategy. With all of these techniques – if they are used – then your site also needs to include a plan to work around these issues.
  • Don’t use ‘spamming’ techniques to improve your ranking as any short-term gain will ultimately lead to long-term loss if your site is blacklisted by the search engines.
  • If search engine optimisation is not offered by your web designer, talk to a specialist company such as our sister company Web Search Workshop. We understand the techniques required and keep up-to-date with the changing requirements of the top search tools on the web. We will work closely with you to achieve an effective search engine strategy and our marketing and technical skills will help to generate long-term and targeted traffic to your website.
  • And finally, remember that your web design and search engine optimisation should work closely together. Make sure that the content and design gives your potential customers an easy to use, attractive and useful web experience that will keep them coming back. The optimisation of your web pages will then work around your site to help achieve the best results possible.

If you would like to discuss the search engine ranking opportunities for your website, please contact us now for more information. Alternatively, request our FREE website marketing assessment to discover what online marketing opportunities may exist for your site.