Wednesday, 7 December 2011

What is Website Optimisation? and How Can It Help My Business?

You know there are still some people in business who think all they need to do is build a website and sit back and wait for hordes of visitors to appear – as if by magic.

If only it were that easy.

Building a website for your business is a sound investment. Yet if no-one knows you exist, it could be a huge waste of your time and money. No-one wants a ‘White Elephant’ website!

So what exactly is search engine optimisation? And how can it help you attract more customers or clients?
Quite simply, optimisation is a way of improving your website rankings organically. The other option is paid advertising – or Pay Per Click – for instance the Google AdWords programme.

When you enter your search term in the search engine you will get a split-screen of results. Listings found on the left-hand side of your screen are those that have achieved their ranking ‘organically’, while those on the right are paid for ads.

Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing will rank your website according to various criteria, including content and relevancy.

Not unsurprisingly, consumer surveys consistently show that more people trust those companies that rank highly in the organic listings, over those who rely on ‘sponsored’ results. Indeed, it is not unusual to find smaller companies ranking higher than their larger rivals for particular search terms. While there’s nothing wrong with using paid advertising to drive traffic to your website, ultimately better click through rates will be achieved through organic listings.

You will know from your own experience that if your website does not appear on the first few pages of a search listing, you will not be found. When you do searches yourself, how many pages do you view before you give up? All the ‘experts’ are on page one, aren’t they? Whether or not you believe that’s the case, this is how we tend to perceive things.

So how might your business’s website improve its current position?

Let’s start with keywords. Consider what keywords are relevant to your website and the products and services you offer and build or tweak your web pages accordingly, bearing in mind what each of the major search engines’ requirements are to obtain maximum visibility. Tune your pages to meet search engine requirements and watch your traffic and rankings grow.
Search Engine Optimisation is an increasingly competitive field, so it’s important to choose your keywords and key phrases well. And if your budget permits, ideally it’s advisable to use a combination of SEO and paid for advertising – that way you get the best of both worlds.
Optimisation is the key to effective online marketing – numerous studies consistently confirm that it’s the perfect vehicle for almost every type of business.

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