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Organic SEO Takes Time and Effort


9. August 2009 18:48

Like an old tree that takes time to mature, so does an SEO campaignIf you require your website to attract new customers from search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing then read on.

Search Engine Optimisation is important and should play a key role in defining the content and structure of your website before you even consider hiring a web developer, but SEO doesn't stop when the website goes live, a search engine friendly website is only part of the optimisation process.

SEO is a continual process and can be broken up into two categories, off-page optimisation and on-page optimisation.  On-page optimisation ensures your website is search engine friendly and optimised for your target keywords and phrases, but a search engine friendly website alone is rarely enough to drive traffic to your site unless your business is a very niche market.  To improve your search engine ranking you will need to perform some off-page optimisation to establish your website's reputation and authority.

Off-page Optimisation

Off-page optimisation is the process of building reputation for your website content which in turn aims to increase your ranking in search engines for your target keywords and phrases.  Reputation on the web is measured in backlinks to your website.  Google calculates your website's reputation with its PageRank algorithm and the other main search engines use similar ranking methods.

Link Building

There are a number of methods and strategies involved in gaining reputation, but unfortunately most of them require time and effort to acquire.  These include:

  • Creating link bait with a blog (creating content other people want to link to)
  • Reciprocal linking (swapping links with other websites)
  • Purchasing links - buying links is a violation of Google's webmaster guidelines
  • Asking similar/complementary organisations for a link to your website
  • Promoting via social networking sites (e.g. social bookmarking sites like delicious.com, and social media sites like digg.com)
  • Forum posting
  • Press releases
  • Directory listings

Not all Backlinks are Equal

The best links you can get to your website are links from authority websites whose sector/business/topic closely relates to your website. If you are building links just to build PageRank you are going about the process in the wrong way, build links that ultimately help humans find your site from related websites.  If you do this you won't go too far wrong, just beware that Google does not like the link building process as it undermines the PageRank system.  So please read Google's Webmaster Guidelines and stick to them.

Aim for quality links over quantity, and remember SEO requires time and patience.  Don't expect miracles over night.  If you can't wait for the fruits of your SEO to take effect you should consider pay-per-click advertising as an interim solution.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Scudsone.

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Should I try a Free Website Builder or use a Professional Web Agency?


7. August 2009 21:57

There are a lot of free website builders cropping up on the internet lately, and during a recession it can be tempting for a small business or sole trader to use a free or cheap "pay monthly" website builder rather than forking out a lump sum to a professional web design agency.

A professionally designed site will almost always surpass a cheap or free out-of-the-box solution in almost everyway, but don't dismiss them straight outright.  A lot of the website builders have free trials that allow you to demo the websites to see what you get.

Get a Web Presence!

Studies show that half of the UKs small businesses don't have a website, and half of those businesses think that a website wouldn't deliver any real benefits.

These businesses might find that the low cost of an off the shelf website builder package could tempt them into creating their first website.  Chances are they won't regret the decision!

If you are one of the businesses without a web presence, you should read our post entitled why do I need a website for my business.

Upgrade to a Professional Website

After trialling an out-of-the-box website, the business owner will have a fairly good idea what the package can and can't do and be in a good position to create a list of requirements for a custom designed website.  These may include:

Paying for a Website

Like the majority of businesses web agencies are also being effected by the recession and as such many are prepared to go the extra mile to win new clients.  This can work to the advantage of a small business by being able to negotiate on price or get more website for the budget.
You may also find many agencies will also allow you to spread the cost of a website over a number of months to lessen the burden.

Contact us today to enquire about our competitive prices and monthly payment plans!

What are SEM and SEO and do I need them?


15. June 2009 15:04

In the screenshot below is a results page from a Google search, often referred to in the industry as a SERP (Search Engine Results Page).  The blue highlighted region indicates the “natural” or “organic” search results, whereas the red highlighted area refers to the sponsored adverts.

PPC stands for Pay per click, which is another name for the sponsored adverts which appear on the search results page. As the term suggests you pay only when a user clicks on your advert.

To get your website featured in the sponsored adverts region, you will need to sign-up for Google Adwords and start a PPC campaign.  In as little as 15 minutes your adverts will go live on Google and you will start attracting visitors to your website!

 

Google SERPS - indicating PPC and Organic listings

To get your website featured in the organic listings Google will need to find your website and index it in its database. Your website’s ranking in a search engine will be based on many factors too complicated to cover here, but in order to improve your organic ranking it helps to have a search engine friendly or optimised website and promote your website using recognised SEO techniques.

SEO refers to Search Engine Optimisation the activities carried out to generate qualified traffic to a website in order to appear in the “organic” or “natural” results.

What’s the difference between SEO and SEM?

The term SEM refers to Search Engine Marketing and is used to describe all the activities that encompass the promotion of a website using search engines.  SEM can mean either SEO and PPC combined or one or the other.