05/01/2011

By Peter Aland, Director of iProgress

A company website is an essential sales channel and one of the first things that prospective clients look at when researching your business.

It’s crucial that your website is as visible and easy to find as possible and an effective way of achieving this is to appear high on search engine pages. Only five per cent of web users click to a second page of search results, so if your company isn’t in the first batch you could be losing out on potential business.

So what are the simple steps that businesses can take to help boost their ranking through search engine optimisation (SEO)?


CREATE INTERESTING, RELEVANT CONTENT

The first step in achieving a high ranking is to have a must-visit website. Make sure the content is interesting, accessible and relevant. The more unique users a website receives each month, the higher it will appear on search engine rankings, so give people a reason to visit.

As well as writing about your business, think about adding extra value. By offering tips or advice to your readers, you will encourage them to visit more regularly — and it highlights your know-how, positioning you as industry experts.


KEY PHRASES

One of the most important methods that search engines use when deciding on page rankings is identifying key phrases.

To ensure your website is relevant to the search term, it will look for words related to it, and how often the chosen phrase appears. It’s important to give these real thought - choose succinct phrases that best describe your business and industry. Firms should also consider the words that potential clients might type in to search, such as sector or location.

Include your chosen terms in the HTML title tag at the top of your web page as this informs search engines that your page is relevant.

However, avoid over-use of key phrases. Search engines spot businesses that litter websites with words that aren’t relevant to try and secure higher page rankings — they may blacklist your website. Aim for around three to five per cent of website content being important words and phrases.


LINKS

Another indicator is how often your website receives links from other sites. Having other reputable companies or organisations direct their visitors to your website gives it a level of gravitas.

By hosting links to partner businesses, they might choose to link back and it’s worth asking business contacts to host links to your website. Link with a degree of caution as, much like key phrases, it must be proper. The focus should be on getting quality companies and organisations linking to yours - quantity is far less important.


REGULAR UPDATES

It is important to keep your website as up-to-date as possible as web prominence is boosted by fresh content.

Search engines assess new content through an indexing process and your webmaster tools can tell Google and its competitors how often to examine your site, for example daily. After all, if they don’t know about updated content then they can’t factor this into ranking. Judge timing appropriately — if you update your site every seven days then instruct search engines to run a weekly index.

SEO needn’t be a baffling process and these actions can make all the difference to visitor numbers and potential business coming your way.

To learn more, why not visit the iProgress Website?