Friday, November 2, 2012

Do I Really Need To Optimise My Website?

If you want traffic to your website then the simple answer is yes! Lets start by defining exactly what SEO is. As you may or may not be aware SEO is short for search engine optimisation but what exactly is it?

In brief SEO is the process of improving a website visibility in the search engines. The more visible a site is the more visitors it will receive.

What do you mean by visibility? When we talk about visibility we are referring to where a site appears in the search engine results for a specific keyword or phrase. As an example we will use the keyword phrase 'florists in Birmingham'.
There are a lot of florists in Birmingham, all with websites so when a user types in 'florists in Birmingham' how does Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other search engine know which website to bring up in the number one position in search?
There are a number of factors which result in a websites ranking for a specific keyword. The site quality, how long it has been established, page titles, content, freshness and external links are just some of the main elements that play a factor in where a site ranks in search. In laymen terms the search engines use an algorithm to take into account all these factors and return the most relevant website in relation to the users search query.

How do I know where my website ranks for a keyword or phrase? The easiest way to establish this is to install a rank tracker. This is a piece of software that allows you to enter your website and find where it ranks for keywords or phrases.

How do I know what keywords or phrases to enter into the rank tracker? You want to think like a user that would be potentially visiting your website. What would they enter into the search engines to find you site. You can then validate these keywords using the Google Keyword tool which will display the traffic associated with the keywords or phrases. Just because a keyword has a low monthly search don't ignore it as this could be a very niche phrase that has a high conversion rate as opposed to a broader phrase that may have high traffic but low conversion.

I have established my keywords and have checked my rankings which aren't great. Where should I be aiming to rank and how do I go about optimising my site?

You should always be aiming for the number one position in the search engines as this will leverage you the highest amount of traffic. To get to number the one position will not happen overnight, if you are in a particularly competitive market this could take up to a year.

For low level sites that are looking to optimise locally you can often see great results inside a few months. Regional optimisation can take a little longer whilst Nation or international takes the most work and subsequently has the longest leads time.
If your optimisation is effective you should see your website slowly begin to climb the rankings so remember to check your site ranking every other week to see the effects of any works carried out.

Dave Jones has a keen interest in website and search optimisation. For more information on onsite and offsite optimisation works check out

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