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Search Engine Optimisation
What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is the process of making a website rank higher in search engines. It is an area that is full of over-priced consultants spouting smoke and mirrors to hide the fact that search engine optimisation is not rocket science. There is a process to it, and in many ways it is an art-form, but the vast majority of work that we do for clients in SEO, is tedious and time consuming. When choosing a company to work on your website search engine optimisation, we recommend you follow the process below:
- Obtain a free site analysis (you can get one from Get Started here)
- Be wary of guarantees
- Ensure the chosen company has specialists in all areas of SEO. Search engine optimisation is a mixture of programming, copy writing, web design, content editing and information architecture
- Make sure you are given one person to manage the project rather than being tossed around the company throughout the project
- Secure a fixed price - do not settle for an hourly rate with no limit on the hours
Search engine optimisation activity is divided into two streams:
1. On-Page Optimisation:
Ensuring that the site is well prepared for search engine listing and indexing
2. Off-Page Optimisation:
Implementing actions that will drive traffic and links to the website (e.g. link popularity campaigns, paid placements, pay- per-click advertising etc.)
On-Page Search Engine Optimisation with Get Started
Get Started's on-page optimisation techniques involve making sure a website is well indexed by a search engine by making navigation of the site as easy as possible and using target key phrases in the content and elements of a web page, in the right areas and at the correct density. This technique ensures that the pages are optimised for search engines and for a user of the web site.
Key Phrase Analysis: how good search phrases are chosen
It is not sufficient to choose a range of keywords that describe your site or products. Best results are achieved by targeting specific phrases that combine keywords. This approach filters out much of your 'competition' (sites with the same keywords) and delivers more targeted visitors. When testing your search phrases, enclose them in quotes (eg. "search engine optimisation"). People most commonly use 3-word phrases or 2-word phrases in a search engine.
It is important that your search phrases are commonly used in search engines, but not too commonly targeted by other websites. The best measure of this ratio between popularity and competitors is the 'Keyword Effectiveness Index', invented by Sumantra Roy. This is a simple formula (KEI = P/C x P) that returns a higher number for more effective search phrases.
In some cases we select key phrases that appear to have a low popularity however these phrases may be industry or location specific and therefore provide good results for your website.
Finally, but most importantly, your search phrases should be directly related to text that appears on your site. Whilst it might sometimes seem like a good idea to employ search phrases that are popular or that have a high KEI, search engine operators make their living by making certain that their customers are sent only to websites that have information that they are interested in, and will often 'blacklist' sites that are seen to be trying to 'trick' the search engine algorithms.
Using target key phrases in the web address of the web page strongly suggests to the search engine the topic of the page. Get Started enable search engine friendly web addresses to be created and controlled by the user. Get Started enable all pages to have meaningful web addresses, even dynamic pages.
Similar to web addresses, the page title indicates to a user, and a search engine, the topic of the page. It is important for search engine optimisation to have a page title relating to the content of the individual page or area of the web site as this is how a web site is fully optimised, on a per page or subject basis.
Within the main page content of a website, as in most documents, separate topics or ideas should be broken up using headings. Headings and sub headings make the page easier for a user to see relevant topics and to break up the page visually. Headings also suggest importance of a specific topic to search engines. Get Started manage the style of the heading tags in style sheets so that the headings can be used to visual effect throughout the website. The page heading can be pre-defined to use other elements of the page or can be set independently.
Image 'Alt' Text
The content of image alt (alternative) text should be optimised for search engines. Search engines cannot view images and therefore if the image contains text the alt text should mirror this, or reflect the point the image is trying to make. Alt text is also set for each image within a webpage for accessibility (i.e. for users requiring page readers).
Relevant key phrases should be used at an optimum level within the page content to indicate the topic of the page to the search engine. Get Started can advise on correct usage of keywords in content and perform keyword density analysis on your page.
Search engines may not navigate fully around a website if the pages are slow to load and if the content of a web site is hidden amongst heavy code. The search engine may not index the page properly and therefore not match it to relevant searches. By using external style sheets and scripting files Get Started keeps the file size of pages to a minimum, ensuring they load quickly and are easily read and indexed by search engines.
Off-Page Search Engine Optimisation with Get Started
Our off-page optimisation techniques are aimed at increasing the number of inbound links and driving traffic to your website. Get Started can put together a Link Campaign Strategy and provide you with instructions to implement that plan. Alternatively, we can do it all for you. The actions that we recommend will be a mixture of those below:
- Link baiting (the process of creating popular content that other websites will link to)
- Link requests (reciprocal and non-reciprocal)
- Google Adwords pay-per-click advertising
- Yahoo Search Marketing pay-per-click advertising
- Sensis Bidsmart pay-per-click advertising
- Banner advertising and other online advertising
- Email marketing
Our SEO Products
We encourage you to have a look at our range of fixed-price SEO products.
Frequently Asked SEO Questions
How important are meta tags?
There are currently only two meta tag types that are recognised by most search engines. They are the description and keywords types. The description field is important as it is often the content that is displayed below the page title in the search engine ranking pages (SERPs). However, is it widely agreed that neither field makes any difference to your search engine ranking.
Are search engines really that complex?
In short, yes. At least the big ones are. Google, Yahoo and MSN hold their search engine algorithms very close. They are constantly changing and upgrading these algorithms to get ahead of the dodgy SEO consultants that are out there. Most of what the industry knows has come about by deduction and trial & error.
Why are frames no good for search engines?
This is because the HTML page that the user, and the search engine crawler, sees just points to the actual frames of the website. Therefore, none of the content is provided in the HTML page. To get around this, search engines have provided a way for web designers and developers to place content in framed sites. Nonetheless, they advise against the use of frames and Get Started does not build websites with frames.
What about Flash?