Web Site Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation companies sprang up a few years ago.
These companies promised to get websites to the top of search engines.
These search engines included Bing & Yahoo, however in the UK the main prize is Google, as it handles over 80% of internet searches.
Therefore ensuring that your website is showing up on Google is important.
Of course just showing up is the fairly easy part, as Google uses things called ‘spiders’ to automatically crawl the Internet looking for websites to potentially index (list on Google).
To be an effective website means appearing on page one of the websites listed, when a potential website visitor makes a search.
Think about that last paragraph for a minute. When was the last time you looked at page 2 of the search results delivered by your search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing etc)?
Chances are that provided you are able to find the information that you are looking for, you stayed on page 1.
Its also a fair bet that you only looked at the first two or three top listings. Therefore that is (top three listings) where you need to have your website listed.
There are two ways of achieving this:-
- Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short
- Paid Search Advertising, such as Google Adwords.
Great you say, so lets go for option 1, as I don’t like the word paid.
Search Engine Optimisation is the process of making the content on your website Attractive to Google.
In the early days of getting your website to the top of search engines, such as Google, designers would include lots a relevant Keywords on their webpages, often hidden by making the text the same colour as the page.
This was known as Keyword Stuffing , and worked for a while, until search engines such as Google decided it was unfair. They introduced Algorithms to try and weed out the quality websites from the cheaters.
You may have come across the terms ‘Black Hat’ & ‘White Hat’, when it comes to search engine optimisation techniques.
Black Hat techniques include the Keyword Stuffing mentioned above, as well as other methods that Google, and other search engines consider bad.
Black Hat methods therefore should be avoided at all costs, as websites can be penalised by Google, which results in a lowering of your websites ranking, or even no longer showing up in searches.
‘White Hat’ optimisation techniques on the other hand are those that are not considered cheating by the search engines.
By now you have probably realised that care is needed when choosing a company to help with getting found by ‘Organic Search’ (not paid for by website owner).
Beware of companies that promise to get you to the top of Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. cheaply. These companies MAY be using ‘Black Hat’ methods.
Proper search engine optimisation for Organic Searches requires long term analysis and a strategy in place.
What we mean by long term analysis is analysis of your existing web pages, and also analysis of your competitors web site pages.
Specialist SEO tools can be used to analyse your own web pages, to ensure that it is as search engine friendly as possible.
These same tools can also analyse the performance and raking of competitor websites.
WARNING, Organic Search Engine Optimisation is not a quick result / ROI.
It requires regular performance monitoring and adjustments being made.
How to get to the top of Google now?
For the impatient types, there is an alternative.
Its called Paid Advertising, or Pay Per Click.
Paid advertising originally started with Googles Adwords service, but recently has been joined by competitors such as Facebook, Twitter & Bing
When you search for something on the internet you may have noticed that the results at the very top sometimes have the word ‘ad’ next to them. They also have slightly different font colours.
This is because the owner of the website that is showing in the link, has paid for it to be there.
The cost per click varies according to how popular that particular word or phrase (e.g: ‘Cars in Lincoln’ is).
When we say popular, we are talking about how many competitors want to use that word of phrase.
Therefore if you are in a competitive market, such as competing on a national level for sales of cars, then costs will be high.
Conversely costs will be lower if your business sector is a niche field, such as ‘Pagan Handfastings’ on the Brecon Beacons (We actually did film one some years ago, inc all night party. It was fun).
We will be producing another article specifically on paid advertising in the future, or you can contact us for a meeting.
Quality Content is King! Yes really, it is.
Gone are the days when you could produce web pages with low quality content, such as basically an advert page.
Many websites of course still do this in the hope that people will find their web page.
Whilst a web page with limited useful information can be promoted via paid for advertising, or via Social Media links, it is unlikely to rank well on search engines.
This is because of Google introducing new algorithms into its search and ranking criteria, which penalises poor quality web pages.
The good news is that Google wants interesting and informative content for the web.
Therefore producing such quality content, not only helps your potential customers, but also helps with optimising the chances of a high place on Google (Yahoo, Bing etc).
What do we mean by Content?
Well traditionally we meant text articles, however 2017 is being hailed as the year of video on the web.
Content can also mean photos, PDF presentations, and animations that explain your product or service visually.
One very obvious medium for displaying content is Youtube, as it is owned by Google.
Video can form an effective part of your Marketing Mix, if done properly. We can help with video production, editing, uploading & online channel creation & management.
Interesting text articles that inform and engage the reader, are also a smart strategy, and we can also help you with these. We have particular specialist knowledge in the Engineering & Education sectors.
Importance of Server Speed for SEO
Google has indicated that how fast that a website loads after the link is clicked on, can have an effect on the sites ranking.
Therefore if you are serious about promoting your business to potential customers online, you need to be on fast servers.
There are choices to be made, with cost implications:-
Basically it boils down to two main choices:-
- Shared hosting, which is the slower, but cheaper option.
- Own Server, which is fairly expensive, but faster.
We will be producing a post explaining Servers in more detail soon.
Benefits of Installing a SSL Certificate
There are some benefits to be gained from installing a SSL certificate to your web site.
Firstly, what is an SSL certificate?
An SSL certificate securely encrypts the data being sent and received between the computer user, and the internet server.
This is essential for any web site that is collecting sensitive data such as names and addresses, collected from a contact form on the website..
So why are we talking about SSL certificates in an article about search engine optimisation?
Well the answer is that Google not only encourages web sites to use SSL certificates, but also has indicated that they will slightly improve search engine ranking.
Apart from the benefits listed above, there is an additional benefit in having a SSL certificate on your site.
That benefit is trust. Potential customers visiting your website will likely recognise the small green padlock in the browser website address bar at the top of the screen.
They will know that you take their personal data security seriously. This builds trust.