Getting high rankings on Google is essential for maximising your
website investment. Your competitors will be thinking the same!

Want to know a little bit more about how Search Engine Optimisation can help you?

Read our quick guide to why businesses need to consider Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and how we can apply it to create a strategy for your website...

Creating a good looking website, with relevant content, clear navigation and reflecting positively on its owners business is only the initial stage of providing an effective internet presence. If visitors and potential customers are not aware of, or cannot find the site, then it will not be providing its best return on your investment. Research shows that 80% of all Internet users find new web sites through search engines. Having taken the time to look for online resources on a certain topic and then clicked your link to learn more they can be among the most qualified and motivated visitors to your web site.

Potential customers use keywords/phrases when searching for services using search engines.You will no doubt be aware that the website needs to be indexed by search engines so that it appears in their listings, but naturally with millions of web pages available on the internet, there is little value in your site appearing in position 100 of 100,000 results! People will rarely look beyond the first two pages of search results and increasingly only the first, so to become most effective a website should appear within these top positions for relevant keywords.

It would be extremely rare for top positions to be gained by accident. In general these rankings can only be gained by optimising the website so the search engine will return the site higher in the results listing than a competitor, in other words, become more relevant to the keywords in the view of the search engine so it presents your website above your competitors. This is known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). But not everyone can be in the top positions and you can be sure that among your competitors there will be many trying to achieve just that.

Search engines index a website by analysing page content taking into account many hundreds of factors about a website using sophisticated algorithms when determining the position (ranking) that a website is returned in their search engine results.  The aim of a search engine is to return the most relevant results for the search term (keywords).

The Google search engine is the most popular by use, followed by Microsoft’s Bing and Yahoo. In the UK Google has a market share of around 88%, Bing 6% and Yahoo 3% . Compared to these ‘big three’ the numbers of potential visitors from the many hundreds of other search engines are negligible.

Not everyone can appear in the top rankings and so websites are competing for these positions. Within an industry many keywords will be relevant to a large number of businesses and are highly competitive as they attract relatively large numbers of searchers. Websites not already in top positions for these highly competitive keywords can find it difficult to ‘dislodge’ those already at the top, but not impossible. We have achieved this on a number of occasions, much to the satisfaction of our clients and the irritation of their competitors!

As the algorithms used by search engines are not publicly known no company can guarantee top ranking positions for natural search results using relevant keywords and a company should be wary of anyone claiming they can.

An easier and quicker route for businesses is to pay to have their website appear at the top or right hand side of the results page in ‘sponsored listings’ for these top keywords such as Google Ad Words, competing with other websites for position and number of times results appear, dependant on amount of money ‘bid’ by a company and the budget allocated to the account.

These paid for listings can prove effective for highly competitive keywords depending on monitoring the return on investment as cost is determined only when a visitor clicks on the listing and visits the website (‘pay per click’). However, if not carefully managed and using the right keywords, the campaign can become costly and unproductive.

The ideal and more cost effective long term strategy is to have the website appear in the top of the ‘natural’ search results for a number of relevant search terms. Depending on the keywords and budget, it can be effective to use paid listings until the natural results appear high enough in the search results to enable the paid listings to be reduced or closed.

How Optimisation Works and How We Can Help.

Some of the factors considered by search engines are known and if used in conjunction with each other and applied to web pages the overall effect can improve ranking.

Essential elements of SEO include:

Title and Description ‘tags’ - web code that is part of the structure of a web page but not visible to the visitor. These can only contain a limited number of characters and so only a small number of keywords can be included in the title tag although slightly more in the description tag on each page. A third ‘Keywords’ meta tag, although no longer considered by the main search engines, can assist with some search engines.

The actual text content of a web page is one of the most important factors in determining ranking. The more relevant the text is in relation to the keywords a searcher is looking for the more likely the search engine will return the website page higher in its results (ie more relevant for the searcher). Including keywords within the page text will help make it more relevant – including too many of the same keywords will adversely affect ranking (regarded by search engines as ‘keyword spamming’) and so getting the right balance is important.

Keywords - determining the right keywords is essential. If all too highly competitive then it will be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to optimise for all. Less competitive keywords are less difficult to optimise for but used by less numbers of potential visitors. The ideal is a mix of both. Normally keywords consisting of two or more words are more effective and reflect the type of searches carried out by potential customers.

It is important to understand that a site cannot be optimised for all possible keywords and not all keywords subject of optimisation can rank highly straight away. It is also important that the majority of keywords chosen for optimisation are actually being used by searchers. Some keywords suggested may seem logical but historical research indicates they are relatively rarely used.

In agreeing an initial keyword list with you we carry out research to determine the historical volume of searchers within the UK for each keyword.  

A keyword list should be flexible but there are limiting factors as to the number of keywords that a site can be optimised for, including the number of pages within a website and amount of text on a web page.

Link popularity is another important factor - having certain other websites and directory listings include a link to your website. Ideally the link would contain a relevant keyword and be from websites within the same field of interest as your content eg trade bodies or associations. Some websites improve this through link pages where reciprocal links can be set up between website owners.

Naturally the majority of other websites within the same field of interest are likely to be competitors and so links with these would be inappropriate. In the majority of other websites and business directories there is little control over the nature of the link and use the website or company name as the link text and in these cases, although still used, their value is slightly diminished. To help with this a dedicated links page can be useful.

Above are a few of the known elements in optimisation. In trying to determine many of the other unknown elements that give a website a high ranking is not an exact science. However, by analysing the page content of those websites that appear in the top ranking positions for a given keyword - by virtue of their position they have the best combination of all the factors considered by the search engine - and comparing to your website it may indicate where improvements can be made.

After the initial optimisation our main SEO activity is over a two month cycle, with a smaller mid stage review after each month, in which we review keywords being promoted by:

  • Analysing the current ranking and competitor sites.
  • Applying optimisation changes to relevant web pages.
  • Re-submitting to the main search engines through dedicated accounts.
  • Wait for the search engines to index the web pages (minimum of 2-4 weeks but can be 6-8 weeks for some pages – the search engines are indexing millions of pages each day and re-index rates are not precise).
  • Check any effect on ranking (hopefully will improve but can go down for specific keywords as well due to changes in the search engine algorithms or SEO activity of competitors)
  • Review keywords for continued relevancy, introducing new ones if necessary
  • Repeat the cycle. 
Every two months we supply a report on website rankings as well as visitor numbers and other visitor activity on the site so that the benefits and development can be accurately monitored.

If you are interested in finding out more about our SEO services contact us with your website URL for a free feedback report on your current website and how you could benefit from an SEO strategy.