Some SEO is done outside of your website, but most SEO has to be done within your site to ensure a good customer experience. Done well, it can transform a website from generating little in sales or leads, and turn it into a sales star performer, but ultimately: getting 1000 high quality visits is better than 5000 low quality visits. High quality visits are more likely to turn into customers.
- On-Page or Off-Page Content.
- Increase Business Goal Achievement Rates.
- Refine Traffic Quality.
What is Search Engine Optimisation?
Search Engine Optimisation is a Science, not an Art. There are several basic rules that you have to follow to make sure your website gets the right kind of people coming to it. Mostly, this is about making sure the traffic is quality traffic. While traffic volume also counts, it’s more important that the people you’re getting to visit your website are actually looking for what you’re offering. Optimising for something you don’t offer can have a negative effect.
It’s possible to launch a brand new website and get it to appear in Google search in as little as 10 minutes. It will probably rank somewhere for something unimportant and obscure in the space of a week. To get it to rank on page 1 in Google for a highly commercial term will take anything from 3 months to a year or longer of regular SEO work.
There are several Search Engines, of which Google is the most popular by far, now accounting for around 90% of all searches performed in New Zealand. Other Search Engines include Yahoo / Bing, Ask, etc.
More and more searches are now also being performed using mobile browsers in devices like smart phones and tablets, so depending on your target market, you should consider this when building a website.
Search Engines generally have two sections they will display results in: Paid Ads or Organic listings. Effective SEO will help you get better Organic Ranking, meaning, ranking you don’t have to keep paying for. Search Engines like Google also have filters that can be applied to the search results, like Images, Videos, Maps, local only etc. Ideally, you would optimise for each of these if you can.
Everybody wants to be ranked #1 on Page 1 of Search Engine Results Pages. Obviously, that’s impossible, not everyone can be #1. Effective SEO makes sure you rank as high as you can, it can never guarantee #1 position, because there are too many other factors you have no control over. If you make improvements on your SEO, so can your competitors. The key is making sure you do it now before they do, and grow your business faster than they can. It’s a race. Some people sprint, others walk, while many also just decide to sit and have a cuppa, while the rest of the world gets optimised and they miss out. Don’t be that person! The site that isn’t optimised will not win this race.
Lately, Search Engines are getting smarter and smarter. There used to be ways that you could “trick” them into thinking you were a great site to send people to. It was all about volume. Now however, it’s a lot more about quality. It’s better to get highly refined quality traffic to your website than it is to get zillions of visitors that don’t stay, or don’t buy. Now, Search Engines will behave more like people. It looks at the words on your site, decides if it’s relevant for your product or service, and if not, wont send you visitors (referrals). They now also look at where you’ve placed your words, what colour they are, if they’re bold, italic, large, small, title text, etc. Some of these will win you points with Search Engines, while others may get you a black mark.
Another influence on Search Engines is whether or not lots of other website are mentioning you, or have links to you. Don’t go crazy here and get 20,000 links from “link farms”. 100 links from good websites will earn you more points. 20,000 links from bad websites could do the opposite.
Don’t over-optimise. Search Engines like Google are now programmed to expect you to be imperfect. To err is human! We can give you advice on how to optimise without going over the top.
Why Isn’t My Website in Google
You may have a new website that you’ve just launched. It takes Google about 2-6 weeks to look at all websites around the world (there’s over 600 million!). If you’ve just launched your site, it could be several weeks before Google or other Search Engines will look at the site. This is called “indexing”. The “looking” at your site is done by things called “robots” and “spiders”. The indexing process is called a “crawl”. Your website will not start appearing in Search Engines until after they have crawled and indexed your site. It’s important to note that your site will never get crawled unless there are other sites on the web with links to it. Search Engines follow these links like they were pipes or pathways to your site. If no pathways exist, their robots will never reach you. Hence, when launching your site, your first task should be to get links from other websites.
There are other ways you can get Search Engines to crawl your site.
Your website might not have enough content to be appealing for Search Engines. Effective SEO is all about making sure your website has content in it that Search Engines think is appealing for people searching. The implications are that you have to have words on your website that are crawlable, i.e. the words on your site can be “seen” by the robots and spiders crawling your site. You do this by using text in the right format. Text in pictures can’t be seen by Search Engines. Also, some types of page content, like Shockwave Flash (usually used for making moving or changing images of dynamic responses to the viewer) also adds no SEO value.
You may be searching using a search term with unreasonable expectations. Searching for your site using a word or phrase that your site is not optimised for is more than likely not going to find your site, or it might render on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) way down the list of pages. Most people give up searching beyond page 1.
Your business may be called “The Big Apple Co.” but this competes with Search Engine Results for all sorts of things, like Apple Computers and electronic equipment, New York City (known as “The Big Apple”) and probably hundreds of other things possibly more popular than your site. If your brand is new, then your brand is also likely to be unknown on the web, and seen by Search Engines as relatively unimportant or irrelevant. It’s a painful truth for a brand you’re proud of.