By David White
The first five are for natural or organic search and the next five are for PPC — Pay Per Click search, ideal for SME’s.
Natural or organic search
1. Get links from third party sites.
There are two good reasons to do this: First, they generate traffic to your site in their own right. For instance, you could write an article or comment on another site for their visitors. At the end of this, you place a link to your own site. This brings you already qualfied leads. Second, Google is set up to recognise a link — it sees them as a recommendation and will prioritise you over other sites. A word of warning though — make sure that these links are genuine — i.e. don’t create hundreds of false links thinking you will drive more traffic — these get picked up by the search engines very quickly.
2. Ensure site is written in CSS/Clean Code.
Minimise the amount of java script used on your site, ideally use CSS instead (Cascading Style Sheets). This simple measure means that the search engines focus more on your content and less on the code behind the site. This is also very good for the ‘real’ visitors to your site — the site loads faster, and ideally it also means you’ve written simple, plain English text.
3. Add Title Tags to every page – essential for search engines.
This is one of the most important factors in achieving high rankings. Calling a home page ‘Home page’ for instance means that you are losing an opportunity to promote yourself. Instead, use the 10-12 words in the title tag to explain more about your business. So if you are Johnson & Smith Accountants, your title tag should say ‘Johnson & Smith, London, Tax Accountants’.
4. Ensure you have a site map.
By site map we mean a list and links to all the pages within your website. This allows both visitors and search engines including Microsoft Live Search, Yahoo! Google and Ask.com to find the pages on your site.
5. Ensure search terms appear in your site content.
An obvious top tip, but an important one. If we use the Johnson & Smith Accountants example; make sure your page explains you are specialists in tax accounting, called Johnson & Smith and based in London. This helps real people as well as search engines to use your site.
Pay per click (PPC) search
1. Play it ‘cool’.
Do not get drawn into a bidding battle just for the pure competition. It’s very easy to fall into this trap and it’s simply not worth it.
2. Make a budget.
If you can’t afford to spend more than 10p per click, don’t bid higher. There are always more targeted keywords to be found. Even if you’re not on the first page, you will still get click-thru’s from appearing in the ranking. In fact you will still get clicks even if you are three pages in, especially on frequently searched phrases and you will have paid a fraction of the cost of those higher up.
3. Measure return on investment.
As with all forms of advertising and promotion, it is very important to track your clicks to spend your budget wisely. It is only through continuously tracking your performance that you can work out how to get the most out of search. Make use of what is available for free – Google now offer a free analytics tool.
4. Target your efforts by region.
If you are Johnson & Smith Accountants in London you might want to target home counties and London, but not Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Bristol & Birmingham etc.
5. Target your efforts by time of day.
If your business is not open over the weekend, or at night, or on Wednesdays, don’t buy search terms then. It is simple but many companies fail to take heed and end up wasting budget. If you are going on holiday, don’t book your search terms!