Search Engine Optimisation ? Why And How To Do It

In the following article I will give you some basic guidelines to follow in order to help get your web site ranked at the top of popular organic search engines. More detailed information can be found in our DIY Internet Marketing Guide "Start at the Beginning" Click here for an excerpt: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_2.html

What Is Optimisation?

Search engine optimisation is the process of creating or modifying a web site so that it encompasses the design, background coding, text copy, and link-building elements search engines check through when indexing your web site. Through the process of optimisation, you can develop or alter a web site so that the search engines will move your web site towards the top of the results generated for your particular, relevant searches. This means people who are actually searching for what you have to sell will click to your web site, as it will be listed above those of your competitors.

How Does Optimisation Work?

There are three fundamental elements to the search engine optimisation: background coding, text copy and link popularity.

Background coding is the manipulation of your HTML code so that it is "clean", uncluttered, positioned correctly, and easily accessible to the search engine spiders and crawlers. You need to be sure that the most important information to the spiders is located near the top of the page where it can be quickly and easily found and positioned thus, the spiders will consider that it is more relevant than information nearer the bottom of the page. You also need to ensure that java scripts and other such coding are moved out of the spiders' way.

Text copy relates to the text on your site. Professional search engine copywriters are able to write in such a way as to include your primary key phrases in strategic places so that you get the most "points" from the engines and also appeal enough to your customers to persuade them to purchase your product or service.

Link popularity deals with how many sites have links that point back to your web site and the quality of those web sites with regard to relevance. The theory is, that if others in your field think highly enough of your web site to link to it, your web site, and the products or services it offers, must be of good quality.

When you have a good combination of all three primary elements, you stand a much better chance of ranking high within these engines.

A Couple of Myths Exploded?
Isn't It All About the META Tags?

A long, long time ago, in a land far away?it used to be! When the Internet was first founded, virtually all you had to do to get high rankings was to stick a load of key phrases into your keyword tag and boom, lots of targeted traffic flooding to your web site. Now, however, the engines are smarter. They pay no attention to the keyword tags and very little attention to the description tag. The only tag that carries much weight anymore is the title tag and it is extremely important.

Isn't it All About stuffing Your Pages Full of Key Phrases?

No! Not only does key phrase stuffing (as it is attractively known) put you at risk of spamming the search engines, it makes your text copy look and sound horrible to your human site visitors. What good are high search engine rankings if your web site text puts off and doesn't convert those visitors into paying customers? You need to maintain the balance between natural language and key phrase use.

How can you get the balance right? Read the detailed information in our DIY Internet Marketing Guides "Start at the Beginning" excerpt available here: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_2.html and also "Writing Text That Sells" excerpt here: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_3.html

How to Optimise Your Web Site.

Set your goals.
The first thing to consider when embarking on a new search engine optimisation campaign is to establish the goals for the site and the optimisation in general. For instance, is the goal to drive more targeted traffic to the site, to get people to sign up for a newsletter, to get someone to make a purchase online, or is it to entice people to call or fill out a form requesting more information? Usually, the goals will be a combination of things. Very often different pages within the site will have different goals, and these need to be kept in mind throughout the SEO process.

Identify Your Key Phrases.
With the end goals in mind, the next step is to compile a key phrase list. Brainstorm the phrases you feel are important to your business and also make sure you go through the existing pages or your web site and add to the list any phrases that appear naturally within the copy. With list in hand, it's time for some heavy-duty keyword research. You can use a free suggestion tool such as those provided by Overture or Google or pay for time limited access to WordTracker.

WordTracker - http://www.wordtracker.com
Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool - http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/
Google AdWords - https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordSandbox

More often than not, you'll find that phrases that you thought were important are not actually searched for by real people. The key phrase suggestion tools above will give you alternate suggestions to test.

You will now be armed with a list of actually searched for, highly targeted, relevant keyword phrases. Weed out any irrelevant phrases from the list and rank the relevant ones in order of importance for your business. Then decide which 2 or 3 phrases to focus on within the copy of each page of the web site. The home page of the site should usually focus on the main 2 or 3 phrases that encompass the general theme of the site. Inner pages should each focus on 2 or 3 more specific phrases. If your pages already have some text copy to work with, take a look at the existing words on each page and see which 2 or 3 keyword phrases in your short list will fit best with the current copy. If pages of the site don't have much copy to begin with, or if there is no specific focus on any given page, a rewrite from scratch will be necessary.

Write the Text Copy.
Now it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty of writing the text copy for your pages. If you're starting from scratch, be sure you keep in mind which phrases need to be used, what the goals of the site are, and who the target market is as this information will affect how you write the copy. If you're lucky enough to have some existing copy, the next step will be to work in the necessary keywords whilst maintaining the flow and rhythm of the text. Once your copy is finished you should have a number of pages focusing on 2 or 3 key phrases each. Edit the HTML Code.

Optimising the HTML code includes creating Title tags, Meta description tags, Meta keyword tags, hyperlinks, and possibly headings and image alt attributes. All of these are factors in helping the search engine spiders to properly classify your site, with some being more important than others. There is too much detail to go into in this newsletter but more information can be found in our DIY Internet Marketing Guide "Start at the Beginning" Click here for an excerpt: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_2.html

Upload and Submit.
Once you have completed all the steps above upload your new pages to your server and if this is a new web site, submit them to the search engines. If you are updating an old site that is listed (all-be-it badly) in the search engines, it is not necessary to resubmit it.

Also don't forget to perform your directory submissions or directory change requests. Make sure you submit to directories only when your web site is complete as this aids the directory editor categorise your site more easily, and they'll be less likely to edit your submitted description.

Link Building.
Now it is time to begin your link-building campaign in earnest. Link building can be started in a quick burst, but should also be an ongoing process. You should always be on the lookout for sites that are a good fit with yours and contact them about exchanging links. For more info on link popularity and its effect on search engine rankings, please read our guide "Start at the Beginning" Click here for an excerpt: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_2.html

Wait and See.
All that's left to do now is wait for your organic listings to begin listing. If you've paid for inclusion with the search engines and directories that offer this service, you should start to see results within two weeks. If the initial rankings aren't as high as you'd like them to be, don't panic. Concentrate on your link building and your efforts will be rewarded over time. Try not to make any major changes to the web site its-self for at least 3 to 6 months.

Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for all those free, targeted, highly motivated customers!

For a complete guide to marketing on the Internet, including:

· The General Principles of Internet Marketing
· Start at the Beginning
· Writing Text that Sells
· Building Online Relationships
· Maximising Your Pay Per Click Campaign
· Measuring Success

Why not purchase the whole series of downloadable guides for the discounted price of £64.95. Click for more information: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/promo_ebook s.html

Justine Curtis
Enable UK
Internet Marketing Information and Resources
Make your web site work harder!
Web: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk
Email: [email protected]
Article from Internet Marketing Tips Newsletter, a monthly publication of Enable-UK
Copyright © 2004 Enable-UK.

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