You have probably received speculative emails from companies promising to put your website at the top of the search engine rankings. You have also probably dismissed these emails as spam or scam, quite rightly.
There are plenty of unscrupulous businesses out there who are prepared to bamboozle and take advantage of whoever they can. So in this blog I’m going to attempt to demystify things a little.
Firstly let’s take a step back. Are search engines important to your business? Naturally we all want our sites to be doing well in the rankings for the search terms we are interested in, but there are many other marketing activities that may deliver much better returns on any investment (lower cost per lead). So before you spend time and money on SEO make sure you’ve considered all the other options, including, but not limited to… business networking, PR, direct mail, advertising, email marketing, print advertising, online advertising, social media, tele-sales, lead purchasing etc. You get the idea.
Also, and crucially, consider that there is no point in spending time and money getting visitors to your site if your site does not convert those visitors to leads. Your site must look good and deliver a clear and effective visitor journey, otherwise even the best SEO strategy is pointless.
If you decide that search engines are important then you need to consider your best strategy. To deliver a thorough SEO strategy you will probably need some professional help, but here are some useful pointers. Firstly, before you start, decide the search terms you are particularly interested in. Select 10 terms relevant to your business, like ‘Graphic designer in Wiltshire’ or ‘web design chippenham’. Now go into Google and type in those search terms and see where you appear, that’s your baseline measure.
At this point you may decide you’re doing OK, but chances are you’ll need to make improvements, so how do you do this?
To improve your rankings you need to understand a little about how search engines work. Search engines spider your site on a regular basis and make a note of all the content, links and activity in and to the site. They then use algorithms to prioritise this data, so that when someone puts a search term in the engine they can decide which websites are likely to be of most interest.
The exact way these algorithms work are secret, but the search engine companies are very open in explaining how you can go about improving your site’s rankings. In general these are the things that matter, in no particular order:
– how busy your site is – the busier the better
– how many other relevant sites are linking to your site – so called ‘inbound links’, the more the better and the more impressive the site that is linking to you the better.
– how much fresh and relevant content you have (relevant to the search term that been used) – the more the better.
So… what can you do specifically? The good news is that there are a few ‘easy wins’.
– integrate a blog into your site, so you can add unlimited fresh, relevant content. See associated post
– add inbound links from directories and encourage other site owners to link to your site.
– set up social media and write regular posts/ tweets that link back to your website
– encourage people to your site to make it busier, for example use email marketing to link people back.
– ensure your site is fully populated and that all page titles, metadata and picture alt tags are completed with your search terms in mind (getting a bit technical now).
Hopefully that gives you a bit more of a feel for SEO. These are general strategies that do need careful implementation and there is quite a bit more to consider. It can also also be worthwhile having a good SEO report on your site (this is a topic in itself). Fortunately we are here to guide you if you need help.
For more information about marketing and SEO strategies please give us a call on 01380 728898