Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Hertfordshire (Herts) Website Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing
Have a website already that is not ranking well in the search engines
You want a new website that is search engine optimisation
give us a call now on 01462 674840 or email
Why do I need Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
Most people use search engines extensively to find what they are looking for. They are often using search engines when they are looking to buy, to:
- research before they buy
- find the best suppliers of services or products
- to compare product specifications and prices
So Search Engine Optimisation (or is it Optimization or Web Marketing?) is intended to place your services and products in front of potential buyers when they are actively looking for your products and services.
What are the benefits of SEO?
Search Engines are a key source of visitors for most web sites. On average 50% of all website visits originate from a search engine. Of the other 50% most are made up of people who know where they want to go as they are revisiting a website they know. So most first time visits come from the search engines.
If your web site can't be found in the major Search Engines (Google is the most important search engine in the UK) then you are missing out on an opportunity to attract visitors to your website. Visitors using search engines are often specifically looking for something - if they have found your web site they are primed ready for your products or services. This is a great opportunity to promote your product or service.
If your web pages do not show up in the search results people may not find you. The business may then go to a competitor instead of you. As a website owner you will want your web page(s) to appear in the first few pages of the list of relevant web pages (ideally you need page 1 ranking). Any further down the list and your web site is unlikely to get noticed.
How do you get good Search Engine Rankings?
SEO comes in many forms. There are a number of things that contribute towards good search engine ranking for a web site:
- The content of your website this needs to be better than the competition, unique and focused on what people are likely to be searching for (Target key word phrases).
- Search engines prefer websites that change regularly, it shows the site is active.
- Search engine friendly coding, bad coding can get in the way or fail to make the most of your content.
- Good Meta tags (Title and Description), they should fairly represent that pages content and focus on your target keyword phrases.
And separate from the actual website itself:
- The overall web presence related to your site, so relevant links and references to your site elsewhere on the web, related websites, social media, marketing etc.
- The age of your website domain, sites less than 6 months old tend to be ignored,Â sites less than a year old tend not to do very well if there is strong competition.
- The popularity of your site, the more people visiting the better.
Other important related things:
- Google Places provides a free local search for businesses that is now mixed in and combined with organic listings.
- Google Adwords are pay per click adverts, many site owners use this to drive people to their sites. Previously known as sponsored links, now more appropriately labeled as Ads.
- Google Shopping provides a free product search for websites able to sell their products online. Results from these searches are also mixed in with organic listings.
So where do you start with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
Well firstly your website needs to have content that appeals to human visitors and is optimised for search engines. So
- good copy
- optimised code
On-site Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is primarily about the words (copy) on your web pages and the way they are coded within the html. The concepts are actually very straight-forward and logical (although the exact methods the search engines use are complex, constantly changing and are not made public knowledge).
Basically a search tries to rank the relevance of web pages by examining the visible text (ie the text you can see in a browser) on the page.
Any thing that may be regarded as an attempt to mislead the search engine (about what is actually on the page that you see) is actively combatted and is regarded as spamming. Beware of any Search Engine Optimisation techniques that do not involve focusing mainly on the visible text on your web pages. You may find your website penalised or worse - excluded from the search engine listings.
Isn't SEO just a normal part of the Website Design process?
It should be shouldn't it! It is with a number of good web designers but is not the norm. The norm is to treat web design (mainly focussed on how a web site looks) as one thing and SEO as something completely separate. Worse still many common web design techniques hinder the search engines.
So is your website search engine friendly or is it actively hindering the search engines? Here are a few basic things to look out for:
- Is your website Flash based?
- Is your website Frames based?
- Has your website got lots of graphics but not very much text?
- Did anyone talk to you about the keyword phrases you wanted your website to target in the search engines?
- Did anyone talk to you about changing your web site copy to focus on your target keyword phrases?
In which case your website is probably not search engine friendly.
- Do you know which key words and phrases your web site is targeting
- Do your pages have lots of text (preferably over 250 words per page - ideally 500 words)
- Is your navigation straight-forward and text based
- Do your pages use semantic HTML markup like <h1>, <h2> ... etc tags
In which case your website is probably search engine friendly.
If you want to know a little more - Beginners guide to Search Engine Optimisation
If you have a search engine friendly website it is likely to be a very straightforward task to search engine optimise your site. If your website is not search engine friendly this still does not necessarily mean that a complete re-design of your website will be required, it is often a case of removing the inhibiting factors and adjusting the text content.
SEO must not spoil the appeal of a website
An overriding consideration always is that search engine optimisation measures should not reduce the appeal of the website to visitors. This would be contrary to the fundamental purpose of the website.
Our Search Engine Optimisation Services (SEO)
Our SEO services can be on a once off basis if you prefer or a regular effort to improve the search engine performance of your website. Successful Search Engine Optimisation projects tend to be based on a long term effort to establish and build a good presence in the search engines.
To Optimise your website for the Search Engine we:
- Work with you to review the main themes of your website
- Establish suitable key word phrases to target
- Help you review and refine or build your copy to support your target key words
- Review and amend the design and the code behind your web pages to ensure that the common problems are removed or minimised (e.g. graphical navigation)
- Review the ranking of your web pages in the most important search engines for your target key word phrases
- Look with you at the opportunities to build relevant and helpful links to your website and consider other marketing opportunities to build on the popularity of your website
It is more straight-forward if we can have direct access to amend your web pages, however if you prefer we can guide your web designer.
In Addition: Usability
- We can also look at the usability of your website to see if there are improvements that can be made to increase the likelihood that visitors will stay with your website once they have found it.
PPC - Pay Per Click, Google Adwords
- We can review pay per click (Google Adwords) schemes that may be useful to your marketing campaign if you wish to go down that path.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation Services) Costs:
It really depends on how much search engine optimisation is required: Search Engine Optimisation is one of those things that you can spend as much time as you have available on. We therefore approach these projects from the point of view of limiting the effort to match a budget.
It usually takes several months for the search engine optimisation efforts to take effect and there is quite a lot of trial and error involved and there are no guarantees that top ranking can be achieved.
However experience allows us to make a best guess at what it might take to get good search engine rankings for your website and often we can achieve good rankings with a one-off SEO upgrade to your website. Therefore we normally recommend:
- Stage 1 is to sort out what keywords and phrases you want to target, bench mark current search engine performance, evaluate and perform a one-off optimise of your website pages. Then review search engine rankings after 1 or 2 months.
- Stage 2. If resulting search engine rankings are not as good as you would hope we then move on to Stage 2 - a monthly review of performance and web site optimisation. This will usually involve adding new copy to the web site as well as further adjustments to existing copy and code. There would be a brief monthly progress report provided. After 6 months we would then do a further review with you to decide if there is any further benefit to continuing.
We cannot provide any guarantee that any high search engine ranking can be achieved (no one can - unless they are talking about pay per click) - this depends on how good the competition is but we can show you how to get the full long term search engine potential from you web site.
What we will not do - Search Engine Spamming:
Some Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) companies offer various techniques that claim to place your website at the top of the search engines by exploiting loopholes, tricking or cheating (collectively referred to as spamming) the search engines into artificially ranking your website high. These techniques are called Black Hat SEO.
Spamming the search engines can sometimes work in the short term but the search engines are wise to all the spamming techniques and are constantly refining their algorithms to beat the cheats. If your website is spamming the search engines it is likely that it will be penalised or even worse banned from the search engines at some point. We promise that we will not knowingly involve your website in any activities the search engines consider to be spamming.
Search Engine Spamming and other unethical SEO claims and techniques we avoid:
We cannot "guarantee top search engine positioning".
(Nobody can - these guarantees usually are for keywords that there is little or no competition for).
We do not have a "special relationship with the search engines".
(Nobody does - this usually means that some form of pay per click scheme is being used to increase visitors to your site - which can be done by anyone)
We do not "submit your website to hundreds or thousands of search engines" – there are only a handful of real search engines, the others are free directories (most of which won’t be relevant) or "free for all links pages" (which are at best no use and at worse damaging because the real search engines know what they are and penalise your website for being involved). To submit to hundreds or thousands of irrelevant search engines can only be done for a realistic price using an automated tool – the real search engines don’t accept automated submissions. We will manually submit your website to the main search engines where required (although it usually isn't - all that is required is a link to your website from a website that is already well known to the search engines) and we can review relevant directories and manually submit your website to these.
We will not set up "virtual, doorway or duplicate pages" intended only for the search engines (cloaking). These pages are generally intended to be invisible to the normal visitor and generally do not work as there are no legitimate links to them.
We will not "stuff your web pages with lists of invisible key words" or hidden links.
We will not set up "special linking pages" on our own website or the website of another customer for the express purpose of sending extra traffic to your website and charge you for this artificial traffic.
Search engines are wise to all these techniques and your website is likely to be penalised or banned at some point if these techniques are used. We focus only on valid Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques to ensure your website attains long term sustainable high search engine rankings without risk.
Epsilis - Website Design and SEO
47 Farthing Drive
Letchworth Garden City
give Michael a call now on 01462 674840 or email
Articles on various aspect of search engine optimisation: -
Making the most of SEO using your website CMS system - Is your Website or Webshop Content Management System Search Engine Friendly? Do you know how to make the most of using it for search engine optimisation or is that something you think is being done automatically for you by the software? If you are just updating your web site and are not thinking about SEO you are missing out on opportunities to get better search rankings for your website.
Google Places - local business search - Google is moving much more to local based search results and is now blending Local Business Places (previously Maps)search results with Natural search results and the distinction is now blurred but no business should miss out on perhaps the most effective measure they can take to become visible on local searches.
Google releases updated version of their SEO starter guide - Google provides general guidance for site owners on getting the best rankings for their websites - they do not give away any of their secrets and most of what they say is not a surprise. However this new Google Search Engine Optimisation Starter Guide provides a very nice guide to best practices for increasing the effectiveness of your web site with people and search engines.
Tips to Help Search Engine Ranking For New Websites - Google's algorithms are designed to prevent new websites from surging straight to the top of the engine rankings. This is commonly referred to as "sandboxing". So what can new site owners do to minimise this problem?
SEO for Ecommerce Websites and Web Shops - Search Engine Optimisation for ecommerce sites is always a challenge. It is likely that your ecommerce content management software may not be helping much and your other main problem is probably that you are selling the same products as a bunch of other online shops.
Standing out in the Crowd - Optimising website content - Everyone is interested in Search Engine Optimisation for their website these days. It is therefore becoming much harder to get sites to the top of the rankings. So how do you get your website on to page 1 of Google?
Is SEO all Smoke and Mirrors?... You hear so many tales of bad experiences with SEO and so many companies pestering you regularly offering Search Engine Optimisation of one sort or another and - how do you tell who you can trust?
Search Rankings and Google Tools - Google provides a number of useful tools to help you get better search rankings. You should know about these if you are interested in marketing your website more effectively.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Marketing (SEM) Glossary - commonly used phrases explained.
Good or Bad Search Engine Optimisation - How to tell the good from the bad SEO? Offers and promises that seem "to good to be true". The problem for most site owners is that they just do not know what are valid SEO techniques and what are not, so I will try to explain how to spot the good from the bad when you see it.
SEO and Web Page Design.... an overview of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and relevance to Web Page Design
Beginners guide to Search Engine Optimisation - If you want to know a little more about the basic techniques of ethical search engine optimisation
Link Popularity and Link Building Suggestions - Some search engines use Link Popularity as a significant ranking tool so obtaining good quality relevant links to your website can give your site a boost in the search engines