SEO

We study other designers’ websites. We see references to a website being the ‘shop window’ for the client’s products, a nice metaphor. Its important that the display is attractive, demands attention and encourages the shopper inside, to buy.

But, what if the lights are out and the shutters are closed? The display is still impressive – but no one can see it. Waste… Wasted money, and worse – wasted opportunity.

Yet we see numerous websites in exactly this condition. The design is good, the product or service is well presented, but the site is effectively hidden from view.


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Question – What’s missing?

Answer – Search Engine Optimisation.

We all use Google, 1.1 billion users each month. And then there is Bing, 350 million and Yahoo 300 million users per month, plus more.

Household names like Sony, Apple, Debenhams and Tesco don’t need to rely on Google to be found on the web; but the vast majority of businesses do. Surprisingly, a lot of them know they do, but still they don’t….!!

Question – How do I get my site to appear on Google and attract visitors?

Answer – Search Engine Optimisation.

If you need a physio in Brentwood, you will type into Google – “physio brentwood”.

Prominent on the first page of results is www.sportsandspinalphysio.co.uk

If you need a hairdresser in Skelmersdale, you will type in “hairdresser skelmersdale”.

Prominent on the first page of results is www.trimmershair.net

This doesn’t occur by chance, it is the result of a detailed SEO strategy, whose objective is to achieve, and retain, this strong position on the world’s predominant search engine.

What Does Search Engine Optimisation Involve?

ssp_desktop_imac2013_frontEffective SEO is kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. It requires many different components, to work together. Unlike the puzzle, the pieces are not all the same size, certain elements of SEO carry more weight than others. You can get by without certain, lighter weight components, but the overall effect is then diminished.

The objective of this puzzle is to present to Google a complete picture of the business, an accumulation of the detail held on each piece. The more comprehensive the picture, the better Google will rank the website in its results.

Whilst I emphasise Google, the same applies to most of the major search engines. Optimise for Google and, largely, you have optimised for the rest.

Here are some of the prime considerations of Google in deciding where to place a website in its ranking for a particular search:

Quality Webpage Content

Google changes its algorithm (its formula) over time. Sometimes to improve the relevance of its results, but often to negate the effects of people trying to cheat the system, to get higher website placement by false / unethical means.

Google’s webmaster liaison officer, Matt Cutts, frequently emphasises that THE prime factor in its ranking formula is good quality, original text, relevant to the search. Simple as that.

Keyword Indicators

The website text should be written / edited by an SEO expert, who knows the appropriate level of keywords to use in the text. The expert will also create a range of tags for the website. Some are visible in the site text, others are embedded in the code of the web page, but all are useful indicators of relevance to Google.

Good Quality Inbound Links

A good quality link is seen as a positive by Google. Someone sees enough merit in the website to link to it, so this is an indicator of appreciation. However – this indicator has been badly abused by people trying to cheat the system. Be very careful not to incur Google’s wrath on this issue…! Links out, to relevant, quality sites, are also positives for Google.

Social Proof

This is the power of third party affirmation at work. Autus distinguishes between reviews and testimonials, and we use them in combination to maximise their contribution to a web site’s SEO.

Website Visitation Rate

Put simply, Google’s logic is that a website that is visited frequently must have some merit, in the eyes of the visitors and so Google promotes such sites.

Visitor Engagement

Using the same logic, a site which retains the interest of a visitor longer, must have a better chance of satisfying the visitors information search.

Mobile Friendliness

ssp_tablet_ipadair2_silver_portraitMobile Friendliness works in two ways. Firstly, mobile users dislike non mobile friendly sites – they are not prepared to scroll and pinch for information – so they switch off them. This hits the engagement stats – see the consequence above. This represents bad user experience, so for mobile based searches, Google downgrades such sites. Secondly, because Google has downgraded these sites, they have a lower overall visitation rate – see the consequence above.

Website Integrity

This refers to the condition of the website. Google is a committed champion of ‘Good User Experience’. So anything that detracts from this will cost you positioning on Google. Issues include:

  • Slow loading websites, there are two main causes. Firstly, too many large image or animation files and secondly, cheap hosting that is overloaded and thus slow to display pages. This is becoming even more of an issue on mobile phones, and these users are even less tolerant of slow loading pages.
  • Broken links. Often a website owner will be unaware of broken links but a competent web designer can check for broken links and fix them. There are numerous causes but ultimately, to Google, a broken link is a broken link and is a cause of user dissatisfaction.

You Need SEO to Create Business for YOU

There is more that we could tell you about SEO, but having given you a taster, its best that we speak about this and other website promotion opportunities in a 1 to 1 environment.

To explore how Autus can configure your website’s SEO to deliver business results for YOU, please e mail us or call on 07971 484 695.