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Search Engine Optimisation - Making It Easier For Customers To Find You

Wednesday, December 29, 2010   By Mike Reddy


Did you invest time and money in developing a website only to find that it isn't generating the amount of business you expected? Unfortunately, the belief that a website will magically generate more business is false. People searching for your products or services need to be able to easily find you. There might be a number of reasons why your website isn't working for you, but one very important one is likely to be search engine optimisation (SEO).

Search engine optimisation is a set of techniques to make your website more search engine friendly with the goal of getting a higher ranking on free (organic) search results. Organic search results appear in the middle of each page, with paid results appearing at the very top and right hand side of the page.

Does your site come on the first page of results when you conduct an internet search for keywords describing your products or services? If not, applying SEO techniques on a consistent basis will help you reach this goal.

The basic elements that play a role in search engine optimisation include:

  • the right copy on your site
  • relevant and interesting content
  • good website structure
  • pertinent links to your website from other sites.

We're going to look specifically at the first two elements, but before we start, it's important to have a basic understanding of how search engines rank websites. Search engines use what are called spiders and robots to crawl the Internet and analyse content and links to determine site ranking. By optimising your website over time, spiders and robots will take notice, and your ranking on search results will eventually move up.

The right copy for your site

You can use online keyword tools such as Google Adwords Keyword Tool to find the key words and phrases being used, and how often, to search for your product or service.

Let’s say your company sells laser printers. Here are the average monthly search volumes for Google searches in Grand Rapids, MI for the following phrases.

  • laser printers                                     27,500
  • laser printer                                      21,400
  • commercial colour laser printer             12,900
  • mid priced commercial colour printer       2,980

These are only a few of many key words and phrases used to search for laser printers, but they show us how to choose more effective keywords for your site.

Notice that there can be more results for the plural than singular forms of the phrases. This is important because most search engines, including Google, treat singular and plural words and phrases differently.  When writing content for your site, you will want to prioritise the terms commercial colour laser printer, and mid priced commercial colour laser printer.

When analysing websites, spiders and robots look for the density of keywords and phrases on pages. The optimum keyword density depends on the search engine, but you’ll want a keyword density somewhere between 3 and 7 per cent. If you were writing a page describing your laser printers, you would want to repeat the phrase laser printer often enough so that it makes up at least 3 per cent of the copy on the page. The challenge is to do this in a way that seems natural and doesn’t annoy your readers. Check your copy with one of the free online 'keyword density' tools.

Having relevant and interesting content for your site

Having relevant content for your site will help. If you are selling laser printers have an article in your site titled Tips for Choosing the Best Mid Price Range Colour Laser Printer for Your Needs. Not only will this give you the opportunity to include more keywords on your site, and improve your search engine rankings, it will build trust and show that you know your business.

Besides articles, blogs are a way to keep customers and prospects informed about the latest developments. For instance, you can write about the new model releases in your blog with the goal of ranking highly for search results for the latest models.

Search engine optimisation is vital if you want to increase traffic to your website. We have covered only a few of the many factors that can improve your site’s ranking in keyword searches. If you want to implement search engine optimisation strategies, find a knowledgeable SEO consultant or webmaster who can help you begin.

Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.