The Importance of Search Engine Optimisation

Joke:
Q: How Are Search Engine Optimisers like Neapolitan Ice Cream?
A: We are 1/3 boring content, 1/3 sweet bait, and 1/3 dark secrets…

As everyone knows, I’m a technical cretin – so I’m handing this bit  over to my technical genius Alan Fair of Contact Multimedia, who patiently explained this in words of one syllable or less including pictures and hand puppets!


The Importance of Search Engine Optimisation

Okay, so you want to get your site in search engines, but first consider exactly how important the results are to you. Why? Well you need to decide how much time and energy you can afford to spend on SEO and what results you expect to get.

Not all companies require a number 1 spot and some companies don’t really need to be searchable online – really you ask? Yes really! You might find that you sell a service that responds better to word of mouth or advertising in the local papers, so think about your target market and if they would search for you online or elsewhere.

If however your business relies on SEO then be prepared to spend lots of time and money on getting to the number one spots.  As VAs your virtual shopfront is your website, think of SEO as telling people where you are.

Top SEO Tips

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Inbound Links

Get as many quality inbound links as possible to your website, how do you determine if it’s a quality link – well simply make sure the site is related to what you do in some way. If the company has a high page ranking (install Google toolbar to get this) then it’s a good chance that it will help your site ranking. Make sure the site you’re being linked from has a high level of visitors that would potentially click through to your site.  Top tip: SVA has a page rank of 3 currently – and we’re adding to it all the time!  Commenting on our blog postings with a link is an excellent way of creating relevant and quality inbound links…

Basic Listings

Getting a basic listing isn’t difficult go to the targeting search engine type in website submission and you should find in the top 5 results that Search Engines simple form that you fill in.

Is your product unique?

If your product is unique then you’ll find that it is easier to get up the search engines simply because there is less competition, but you need to make sure that the product or service keywords on your site are the ones that people actually would type in to find you.  So for example, “virtual assistants” is a pretty competitive search term, but “marketing assistant Cleathorpes” will be easy to get near the top of the search listing because there are less people in competition for it.

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Keywords

How do you determine the correct keywords to use on your site, simply follow the 3 bullet points below to get you started:

  • Will people search for the product or service you are offering on your site? If not you’ll want to stop here and try other marketing methods.
  • Okay so they will, now you need to figure out what words or phrases they would use to describe your product or service. Ask people to describe what you have, you may be surprised to learn words that you would never have thought of as you are too close to your company.
  • Now you have your keywords type them into search engines and see who your competition are. This will also let you see how difficult it may be to get up to the top of the listings.

Here are a couple of really good tools to help with keyword searches and the best bit it that they are completely free!

Ones you may need your web designer for:

This tip requires a little bit of HTML knowledge but is a vital step in your basic SEO campaign. You need to make sure the following include your keywords as much as possible but still of course make sense to your visitor.

  1. Page Title – This should be short (5-6 words) and describe the page content accurately. When possible try to use a keyword here.
  2. Metatags – The meta description and keyword tags should contain the main keywords and a short description of what is on the page. This is for Search Engines when they come and visit your website.
  3. Heading Tags – Ensure you use heading tags for heading in the body of the site. Add keywords to them to help your page rankings. Use only 1 <h1> tag per page if possible and then filter down to the <h2>, <h3> etc… if you need to add more.
  4. Page Text – This text should contain keywords and phrases that people would search for. Don’t repeat keywords for the sake of it your text still has to make sense to your reader, Spread them around without making it obvious. Any text that is contained on an image will not be picked up by Search Engines.
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We’ll also add that if you are using WordPress or another content management system, they often have “Categories”, “Keywords” or “Tags” in their system – make sure you add these into every single post you make.

  1. Alison Cooper on 27 August, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Alan

    A most useful and helpful article which I will be putting to the test immediately…

    Can you please clarify how I can establish the page rank of a website.

    Alison

  2. Nicola Burt-Skinner on 6 October, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Excellent and succinct article on SEO. I was struggling with this issue but your article has clarified a lot.
    Thanks

    Nicola

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