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Search Engine Optimisation

Search engine optimisation can help people to find your website in search engines when they search for the goods or services you provide. This page explains what search engine optimisation is, and what it is not, and some of the basics of search engine optimisation.

We can't teach you everything about search engine optimisation in just one web page - search engine optimisation is a complex subject and takes a long time to learn and even longer to succeed at. However, we can give you an introduction to search engine optimisation, together with a basic guide to DIY search engine optimisation.

What Is Search Engine Optimisation ?

In short, search engine optimisation is about making your website accessible to search engines and inserting suitable keywords and phrases in the right places on each web page. The keywords or phrases used will be the ones that people type into search engines.

For example, if someone wants to buy "blue widgets", they will type "blue widgets" into a search engine. The search engine will list pages that contain the keywords "blue widgets". If you have a web page containing the words "blue widgets", and you have inserted those words in the right places on the page, then hopefully your page will be among those listed by the search engine.

Some basic search engine optimisation is fairly easy for most people to try, but good search engine optimisation requires a combination of good web design, research of keywords and phrases that people type into search engines, a good knowledge of how search engines work and a lot of time and practise - good search engine optimisation is a highly skilled job.

What Search Engine Optimisation Is Not

Search engine optimisation is not just the keywording of web pages, it is not simply adding meta tags, it is not magic, it is not something you can learn in a day, and above all, it is not guaranteed to get you top rankings in search engines.

DIY Search Engine Optimisation Guide

This is basic guide to DIY search engine optimisation for people that don't want to employ a search engine optimisation company yet.

Prepare Your Web Site
Organise your website and navigation so that search engines can access your website properly and find all the pages easily. Add extra pages and content where necessary.

Keyword Research
Keyword research is finding out what words and phrases people are actually typing in to search engines, how popular those words and phrases are, and how many companies are targeting those keywords. There are several tools available for keyword research, the most useful being Wordtracker. Sign up for a week or a month to access the full service and to give you enough time to use it properly - the free service uses data from AltaVista only so is really only useful as a demo.

When you have signed up for Wordtracker, enter a keyword phrase and Wordtracker will suggest other related phrases, possibly hundreds of them. Click on all the phrases you think are suitable and run them through the program. Wordtracker will calculate a score for each phrase, based on the number of users searching for it and the number of websites targeting that phrase. The higher the score, the better that phrase is.

Repeat this for every phrase you can think of that may be relevant for your site. Build a list of keywords and phrases to cover all of your products or services.

Keyword Your Web Pages
Each web page on your site should be keyworded (optimised) according to the list of keywords and phrases you have built from Wordtracker. The keywording on a page should be unique to that page.

Insert your keywords:
  • in the <title> tag
  • in the page headings (normally the <h1> tag)
  • near the beginning of your text content (within the first 20-30 words)
  • in your <meta> description and <meta> keywords tags
  • throughout the rest of your text content
  • in links from other pages to the page you are optimising
  • in the URL for that page (yes, we mean change your page names and links!)
If necessary, reword your pages to use the keywords. Avoid keyword stuffing and other search engine optimisation tricks - if they work, competitors will spot them and report your site to the search engines, which could result in your site being removed from the search engines.

You've now done the basic search engine optimisation - now you need to do some website promotion.

Notes

Bear in mind this is only a basic guide to search engine optimisation and promotion - we can't hope to teach you everything you need to know in one web page, but we have given you a good idea of what to do and how much work is involved.

A web designer or search engine optimisation company can do a much better job in much less time. The money spent on a web designer or search engine optimisation company can be a good investment that can bring very good rewards. Don't expect instant results - it can take several months for search engines to spider your optimised web pages and update rankings and listings.
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