search_engine_optimisation

Jargon Buster

Generic Domain Name

A domain name based on the top keyphrase being used to find your business, usually describing what you do and where you do it.

A photographer who operates in lancaster may find the top search for the business is "wedding photographer lancaster". If this is directed towards his company website, then the search engines can find his site quickly.

A generic domain name will not work on its own, i.e. if the website is not optimised correctly. It does give the site a slight advantage over the competition, and in the world of SEO, every little helps.

Key Phrase Analysis

Exactly what are your prospective customers typing into the search engines? How do you know that a keyphrase has enough searches to warrant optimising your web pages?

A Key phrase analysis is the most essential first step in the optimisation process.

If you were an estate agent in cumbria, which of the following would you optimise the site for:
Key Phrase Uk Searches
estate agent cumbria 1,915
property cumbria 1,352
estate agent in cumbria 754
cumbria property estate agent 399

It is impossible to choose because you do not know how strong the competing websites are in terms of links and content. There is no way of establishing the expenditure and time required to compete on the terms.

Return on Investment

The next step before attempting to optimise the pages, is to establish a return on investment figure for the top keyphrases.

A detailed examination of the top ranking websites in terms of content and links would establish a cost to compete on each keyphrase.

Depending on the best ranking position your website will realistically achieve in the top 10 of a search engine, I know how many of those searches you will convert into actual business over a 12 month period and you will know what each sale is worth.

A calculation is then made between cost and profit, and this gives you a Return on Investment Figure.

The website can be optimised for the key phrase that gives the most profit, which quite often is not the keyphrase that is the most competive.

They may all make a profit, so optimisation for all of them is dependant on your budget.

 

Find out how search engines are used
Search Engine Optimisation

Search engines are used by your current and potential customers to find information, products and services on the Internet, so the objective of optimisation is simple. If you want your products or services to be found, then your website has to achieve the best possible rank in the search results. Ideally, this means your Website needs to be listed in the first two pages of results.

Obviously, before you optimise your website you have to establish exactly what people are typing into the search engines to find your business. These are called keyphrases, and provide the base for optimising your site. In order to achieve a high ranking on these keyphrases, there are two main areas to consider.

1) Search Engines - a search engine reads your website in certain way, so your pages should be written (or optimised) around your chosen keyphrases according to the search engine guidelines. Once optimised, the search engine can quickly assess the subject of your website, and therefore can index it. A generic domain name containing your main key phrase also helps with indexing and ranking.

2) Competive Issues - a search engines objective is to bring back the most informative websites available in its index relevant to the keyphrase that is typed in. They are brought back in an order (or Ranking) from top to bottom. Ranking is determined by assessing the amount and quality of information available (content), and how your website is recommended (links). It is therefore comparing your website to all your competitors, and the results of this comparison determine where you rank.

In essence, if your website is optimised better, has more content and better links than your competition, you should rank higher than them

However, it is not this easy because there are many variables. The search engines tweak the rules for ranking your website, and your competition are usually working on their websites in order to achieve or maintain high rankings. The ranking position of your website has to be monitored, and if necessary your optimisation may need refining.

Website Optimisation

The structure of the site is a very important aspect of optimisation, mainly revolving around navigation. The search engine needs to follow the links within your site quickly and easily.

Every page within the site should be reachable through a text link and you should be able to reach any important page in the site from within two clicks of the homepage.

Flash navigation cannot be followed by search engines, and any content contained in a Flash file cannot be read. Dynamic content e.g. xhtml, javascript, can also prove difficult for the search engine robots.

On Page Optimisation

The keyphrase is placed in strategic positions within the main body copy of the page, and within the html code. This includes the html tags, which should be utilised for good on page optimisation. Some tags are more important than others

The page should be balanced. The key phrase should only be repeated enough times to constitute 6% of the total page content.

Competitive Issues - Content

Content is basically the text available on the website. It should be of informative and of a reasonable length (250 to 350 words).

The more times a term is used within a site the more it tells the search engine that the site is themed around this term. Having more content also helps pick up traffic from obscure terms that you originally wouldn’t have thought to target. 

Content also has to be optimised for keyword density and keyword placement.

Competitive Issues - Links

Link Building is the final aspect of optimisation. There are many ways to go about a link building campaign, but the basic gist is to get text links from relevant sites and directories that have decent Google PageRank, trying to get the keyphrase used in the link text pointing to your site.

Beware of Linking schemes as they will often do a site more harm than good. Many sites that advertise link-sharing programs not only offer little value and give you links that are totally irrelevant, but will distribute your email address without your permission, resulting in an increased volume of unwanted mail.

The key to a good Link Building campaign is striking a balance between quality (i.e. relevance and Pagerank) and quantity.

Time Scales

Obtaining natural rankings takes a long time, there are no instant fixes. A reputable SEO company should tell you approximate time scales along the following guidelines:-

Search Engine New Website Existing (indexed) Site
Google 9 months 3 to 4 months
Yahoo/Overture 6 Months 2 to 3 months
MSN 3 Months 6 weeks (sometimes)
Dmoz directory 9 months 9 months

 

 

Copyright Premier Internet 2006