Do terms such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Web Marketing make your eyes gloss over and bring on a wave of sudden tiredness?I totally understand how you feel but I can promise you that getting this area right will definitely lead to more business for you. In a tough economic climate this is one of those areas that you can improve easily and it won’t break the bank.
The good news is that it is not that complicated!
Just think of SEO or Web Marketing as “making it easier for potential customers to find your business online”
The Importance of Web Marketing
It goes without saying that being found on the net easily could be the difference between doing business and not doing business.Your website is in effect your ‘on-line brochure’ and it is vital that it is easily found by potential clients who may be looking for your services or products. Over 50% of all product and service searches are instigated by searches on the web. While this figure may vary from industry to industry it is constantly increasing.
Whether someone is searching for a Tax Consultant in Dublin, a Maternity Clothing Store in Limerick or even a PR Company that provides web optimisation services!, it is vital that you are found online if you provide any of these services. Can you afford not to be visible?
For the sake of argument, quickly do a Google search on one of your key services and see how your website performs – if I do a search for ‘PR in Cork’ it is important for my business that Fuzion appear in a prominent position. There are a number of areas to consider as part of your ‘being found easier on the web’ campaign:
Your Website = Your “On-Line Brochure”
It goes without saying that your website should present your business properly and much of this will be down to the ‘look and feel’ of the website in exactly the same way as a professionally designed brochure would create a good impression.
Just like the old saying ‘paper doesn’t refuse ink’, exactly the same applies for websites.
Google and other search engines, while very sophisticated in many ways are actually quite simple. If they are returning the results of a search query they are attempting to match the words that you have searched on with the index or catalogue of words and websites that they have on their giant database.
In doing this the search engines follow certain criteria but the bottom line is that they are trying to find the best match for the query. Words are the key to every search – it makes sense that if I search for ‘Tax Consultant in Dublin’ the search engine will return a website that has these words featured prominently on the site but critically used correctly. They are clever enough to know that a website with Tax Consultant in Dublin written 100 times is trying to cheat the system!
So, words are important but they must be used in the right way.
When planning your website decide on your key services & products and then make sure that the site is optimised specifically for each of these. I would advise a separate page for each key service, which should then in turn be optimised properly. Yawn, I can feel it coming on..
Optimise – this means ensuring that the content includes the important keywords, that the headings on each paragraph carry the keywords and the first introductory paragraph carries the keywords. Search engines can’t read pictures, except for the labels embedded on them – be careful with too many pictures.
If my company specialises in PR then Google expects to find the words ‘PR’ in prominent places on some pages of my website. Besides the content you see on each page there are a few things in the background that the search engines place huge importance on.
The title of each web page, the description for each page and the keywords for each page are really important. These are programmed into the background but it is important that they include the words that are important to you: ‘PR in Cork and Dublin’ should feature on my PR Services page.
How do you know if this is being done for your website?
The title of each web page appears in the line at the very top of the web browser. When you look at any page of your website click a button on the browser called ‘View’ and then ‘Page Source’ which shows you the code that runs behind the scenes. Check to see the content that appears after meta “description” and meta “keywords” and ensure that these include the keywords that are important for this page.
Outside of this your website should be easy to navigate, should be updated regularly (a Content Management System will enable you do this easily yourself), should carry links to relevant sites and make sure it is easy for someone to make contact with you.
Another good and quite obvious tip to encourage awareness for your website is to use your web address prominently on all advertising, uniforms, packaging and on company vehicles.
This is an area that’s very basic but is often overlooked.
Paid Search (Pay per Click)
If you have done all you can in terms of optimising your website naturally and you are still not achieving a position on web searches then I would suggest trying Google Adwords.
This is very effective in drawing very specific traffic to your website. Google will display ‘paid results’ alongside organic\normal results. These are the websites that appear at the very top of the page and on the right of the page.
In simple terms if you want your website to be displayed when someone searches on a particular keyword, you can ‘bid’ on that keyword. This is often referred to as ‘pay per click’ as you are only charged when someone clicks through to your website from your advert.
Until your organic or natural position improves, it is a great way of achieving a good position with relevant search queries and if your advertisement delivers exactly what a user is looking for then they will be inclined to click onto your site. It is advised that these campaigns are set up very carefully to ensure your budget is not wasted.
Being found on line is critical for every business. If your website cannot be found easily than this is great news! This can only mean more business when you sort it out, which is hopefully now easier than you originally thought.
After all that a strong coffee is required!