advertising, design, web design

Optimising your web site for search engine placement

There are many search engines on the Internet that ‘surfers’ use to find the information and the web pages that they are looking for. Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Ask Jeeves and Lycos are the major players.

However, it is true to say that Google is currently the most popular. This hasn't always been the case, Yahoo was top of the popularity list before Google, (Yahoo didn't start out strictly as search engine but as a web directory) and before Yahoo, Alta Vista held the top spot. Things do change in the search engine world, but so far Google has proved to be the bench mark that all others compare themselves to. However, the most recent entry into the arena is Microsoft with their MSN search and they hate the fact that they are not number one. How did they miss offering this utility at the beginning we wonder? Why it wasn't it part of Internet Explorer from the start? Questions they must be asking themselves.

There are web sites that specialize in watching and discussing search engines and their ratings. being one of the best known.

Why is it so important to take notice of how search engines work?

By far the greater percentage of your web sites visitors have been sent there as a result of a search in a search engine, so it goes without saying that if your site can’t be found in the search engines then you will be suffering a loss of traffic. Human beings also tend to be inherently lazy and it has been recognized that most people only look at the sites featured on the first few pages of the search results, it is therefore important that your details come as high up the list as possible.

You can try the search engines out for yourself

You can go to Goggle, Yahoo, Alta Vista, Lycos, and put in you main ‘search term’ and see where you site features in the lists and who's site is placed at the top of the list. If your site doesn't feature in the first four pages of each of the main search engines then there is work that needs doing to optimise your site.

What can I do for you and your site to help your search engine placement?

1. Registration
The first thing that I can do for you is ensure that your site is actually registered with the major search engines and directories by going to each of them and checking them to see if your site is included. If your site doesn't’t feature then I would fill in the search engine’s forms in their proscribed manner. This is boring and tedious process but it has to be done, there is nothing worse that putting your URL into a search engine and not being able to find your site in the results (again you can try this out for yourself just put your www.etc. into any of the search engines and see what happens). I will also help you write your site description and put it some of my sites where Google will pick it up.

2. Your search terms
I will help you focus on your search terms. How and where you describe your services in your web site is important although its not straightforward - it’s a combination of both art and science. However, there are some basic first principles that have to be followed in order to get effective results. Then it’s a matter of checking the stats and being persistent and patient - it takes time to get into all the search engines.

3. Meta tags
I will make sure that your meta tags are written effectively. You may have heard of ‘meta tags’ these are words placed in your web pages for the search engine ‘crawlers’ to find. They need particular care and attention because they instruct and feed the search engines with the information that your pages provide. If the words that you want found aren’t there they can’t be found, on one level it’s as simply as that but again trial and error plays it’s part here too.

4. Links
The links to your site from other web sites are important. Google in particular takes special notice of where your links are placed and uses this information as part of it’s ranking system. To be fair, there is a limit to what I can do to help you with cross site linking unless I’m working for you for some considerable time. Given time I can help you with setting up a links page (if you don’t have one) and ensure that you have quality links pointing into your site. I will of course put a link to your site in and I can in some cases set up a link swap with some of my clients sites that have relevant links pages. Links with other site just for the sake of swapping links are useful, but are increasingly being downgraded and are not as good as relevant links.

My rates

In the list above numbers 1 to 3 are absolute requirements in the process of search engine optimisation and form my first basic price of £250

The full service stretches over a year time frame and include all of the four processes above and a continual process of adding submissions and links, plus constant checking, monthly status reports, advice and help on ‘paid for’ search engine promotion, and help with general web site promotion.

This full service is a more tailored approach with set out objectives at the start and charged in stages the first being the £250 as above plus a further £250 payment after six months followed by a final £200 payment two months later.

A further monthly ‘watching brief’ will also offered after the first year for subsequent years.