Recently I received a tender for a job where the potential client specified that "The design of the website must enable a high-ranking position within a range of keywords."
Wow, if only that were possible we would ALL have high-ranking websites.
Unfortunately getting your website to the top of the greasy search engine pole isn't as easy as that.
Most of the major search engines discourage free submissions and that even if you are able to freely submit your website, you could be looking at a considerable number of weeks before it has been added to the search engine. Even if free submits are available, you are not even guaranteed that your site will be included.
So what other options do you have available to promote your company website?
Small to medium businesses (and even some blue chips) may not have the same level of branding exposure and may have budgetary limitations that are as deep as my pockets but that doesn't exlude them from finding a number of ways for the population at large to find their website.
The first and most direct route is to take out a Cost-Per-Click account with one of the major search engines where you will have an "advert" containing your own personalised wording and a link to your website. You set the cost-per-click amount and you can set up as many accounts as you require for each campaign.
So if you want people to find out about the new garden shed you are selling, then "garden shed" would be an appropriate key word. Anyone enters that into the search engine and, depending on what your Cost-Per-Click is in comparison to other garden shed websites, your advert with a link to your site will appear.
Cost-Per-Click has it's place within a marketing strategy, but it can have it's drawbacks.
You may have a budgetary restriction of say $10 per day. At 5c per click I would guess that is 200 clicks to your site before you have reached your budget (my maths may be dodgy but you get the gist of it).
All good and well except my Dastardly Competitor sees my advert and clicks on it and gets his uncle, his grandad and the rest of his Dastardly Family to click on my advert. By the end I have wasted a percentage of my funds on a reduced exposure.
At this point, the general response from search engine companies is that they have set up their systems to counter this. Who knows?
Another point is that payment is by credit card and there are many companies who either have tight restrictions on the use of company credit cards or who do not use them at all therefore setting up campaigns is not practical.
The next alternative is the DIY scenario.
The consensus is that meta tags for title and description are still useful but it doesn't do any harm to add keywords.
Ensuring your home page is not overloaded with graphics and flash and that text contains appropriate content for search engines to find may help but will hardly make an impact.
By far, the main factor which contributes to improving the visibility of your site is links from other sites to your own with the minimum of links going from your site to others (on the home page at least). You may even have a "credit link" going to the design agency that created your site. Instead, create a new page which contains the appropriate credit information and any links and have your home page link to that instead.
Your blog can also help, if it contains links, hence you find reams and reams of irrelevant blogs containing keywords.
Another good source is directories. DMOZ.org
is an example. Netdaze
have been involved in creating both the Scottish Business Directory
and the UK Business Directory
. Again, they are free for appropriate businesses to add their details to.
Don't be suckered by claims of guaranteed high ranking by organisations who have the inside story on how to beat the search engine. Don't be fooled by softwares promising shortcuts to getting to the top of the first page. There are no easy ways.
Personally, I don't rely on search engines. They are unstructured. You enter your keywords and you spend the next hour searching through one junk site after another.
Next time: Is your website value for money?
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