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What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

How to get found on the internet.

If you want your business or service website to be found on the internet, then search engine optimisation will be essential for your website.
The majority of people will use a search engine, such as Google, when they are looking for products, services or information on the internet. Getting to the top of a search page will get you more visitors.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is important.

Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves etc are all search engines.  The majority of people will use one of these when they are looking for products, services or information websites on the internet.  A keyword or phrase is put into the search box by the user, this results in a list of websites that contain the keyword or phrase.  But why does one company’s information appear at the top, on page 1 of a Google search, for example, and another companies information appears on page 7? Search engine optimisation is the key.

How does a Search Engine view my website?

Each search engine has a program that builds a summary of the content on a website, it is known as a ‘spider’.  It crawls web pages and gathers information about the website.  This information is then put on a database, which is what you are searching when you use a search engine.  The spider does not visit websites everyday, it is done infrequently, therefore the content of a website might be weeks ahead compared to what is stored on the database.  The reason why Search Engine Optimisation is important is so that when the ‘spider’ crawls your websites, it comes across a larger number of relevant keywords and phrases, this in turn can place your website nearer the top of the search list.  It should be noted that this is not the only factor to consider, the age of the website, how frequently it is updated, user behaviour, links to your website etc, also play a part.

What’s important In Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

How to increase visitors to your website.

Your keywords or phrases should appear on every page of your website. Keywords and phrases should be placed in various places on your webpages, such as:

  • title tag
  • file name
  • heading
  • bold text
  • first paragraph
  • navigation

If you have photos or pictures on your web pages, they should have an image description.  That means that as a visitor you only see the picture, but in the coding of your website there is a description (alt tag).  This is important because the ‘spiders’ that crawl your website cannot read pictures, only text.  Your website developer can do this for you, or if you have content management, you could do it yourself.

Why do I need to build links to and from my website?

Your website will have internal, incoming and outgoing links.  Internal links are links on your website that connect to other pages on your website e.g. on your homepage you may have a link that says ‘click here to contact us’.  If a visitor clicks on this, they will be taken to your Contact us page. Outgoing links are links that you put on your website, that link to other websites e.g. an accountant may direct their customers to the Inland Revenue website, to read more about employing people.  By putting a link on their website such as ‘read more about PAYE here’, when a visitor clicks on it, they will be taken to the relevant page on the Inland Revenue website. Incoming links are the most important for you, as far as SEO is concerned.  You want people to link to your website, in the same way an accountant may create links to the Inland Revenue website.  It is a case of quality not quantity.  High quality links to your website value more than just any old link.  A link from the BBC website to your website is worth more than a link from your friends 1 page, about me website.  High quality links can take more time and effort to get.  The theory is that the better a site is, the more links it will attract.  You can help to create more incoming links by updating your website regularly, writing articles for people, joining major directory websites, writing blogs etc.  You can investigate inbound links to your site by using siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/ You could use this to investigate where your competitor’s inbound links are coming from.

How will search engine optimisation (SEO) help my business?

It can be a maze out there for your potential customers to find you.  SEO can help guide people to your website, but more importantly select you over your competitors. When looking for information, companies or services on the internet, most people head for search engines, such as Google. Your website will be competing with other similar websites to get visitors. Those with the highest ranking are likely to get the most visitors. It is therefore important to make sure you have used search engine optimisation to increase the chances of your website being found. Search engine optimisation has its advantages and disadvantages.  It has long term marketing benefits, reaches a huge market, has a customer focus and lower long term costs.  The drawbacks are that it does take time and effort, you won’t see instant results and it is ever changing.

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