Search engines rank websites according to many variables which principally fall into two areas; relevance and credibility. The relevance of a website to a given search will determine if it is to be included in the results. The credibility of the website will determine how close to the top of the page the website will be listed. Relevance has to do with the structure of the code and text on the website. Credibility is primarily the product of references to the website in the wider internet.
Stage 1 – Keyword Research
One of our most important responsibilities is to define the most effective set of key phrases. SEO Account Managers begin by getting to know your business and the objectives of your campaign. Working within the parameters of your budget we’ll conduct in-depth research into the online behaviours of your customers, search volumes, market factors and your competition. Our objective is to identify key phrases that will produce the result you are after, be it a phone enquiry, form submission or online purchase. This will not always be the key phrases that have the highest search volume. Conversion rates are more important than traffic alone.
Stage 2 – On-Page Optimisation
Your SEO Account Manager and your SEO Technician will review and amend various components of your website to maximise its relevance to the key phrases. Our objective here is to control the search engines understanding of your website, in accordance with the search engines guide lines. With so many clients we are in the fortunate position of being able to observe trends and reverse engineer the search engine algorithms.
Besides the text content, the changes we make to your site are obscure to the human observer, so generally the look and feel of your website will not be effected at all. We can make these improvements directly or via a content management system where available.
Our competitors would dearly love to get their hands on our proven methods for the optimisation of websites, so we won’t go into too much detail here but there are some standard items that we’ll be looking out for…
Search engines use folder and page names to help them determine the subject matter of the website.
The titles that appear in the header of your web browser are also given a high degree of attention.
Search engines look at the way copy is presented on your website. Such things as headings, bold text, how many times certain words appear on the page, which words are towards the start of a sentence etc.
Links & Sitemap
The way your pages link to each other can help or hinder the search engine in finding its way around your site. When required, we’ll also submit a sitemap file.
Both site users and search engines prefer websites that load quickly.
As search engines favour sites with unique content, we look to eliminate content duplication, both within the site and externally.
Our job is to deliver quality visitors to your site. If none of them do what you want however (make a purchase, fill out a form, call your number etc…) then the benefits of our work are not fully realised. We’ve worked with every type of website you can imagine so we know what works. Part of our service is to help you structure your website with clear and concise pathways to conversion.
Analytics is an online tool that provides detailed analysis of activity throughout your website. Most importantly it allows us to see how many people are visiting your website from various sources, like direct links and search engines. We can also tell what phrases are being used to find your site. Other important metrics such as the bounce-rate (people leaving your site soon after arriving) and visits to critical pages such as shopping carts and enquiry forms can be tracked. This helps us determine the best performing phrases and identifies any issues that might be impacting on your conversions. We’ll ensure that Analytics is properly set up for your site and run you though how to properly view the data.
Stage 3 – Rank Development
Establishing your online assets and properly optimised the content so that search engines understand you is a critical first step towards claiming your piece of the online pie. This unfortunately is as far as most SEO providers will go. This may have been effective some years ago when doing any form of SEO set you apart from your competitors. Today, that’s not enough, because everyone is doing SEO – you have to do it better than they are.
We understand that establishing your relevance to the key phrase set is just the beginning. Search engines will now include you in their results but not necessarily too far up the order. With 96% of clicks to a website occurring on the first page of any given search it’s essential that you get up there. How does a search engine decide if you should be there? It rates your credibility, which it establishes by what others have to ‘say’ about you. A search engine is of course a program so it does this by looking for references to your website on other websites. This is why a link from an external website to your own will improve your search engine rankings.
These links can be bought or manufactured. Search engines take this into account so they not only look at the number of links but things like how many sites the links are coming from. They also look at the quality score of the linking website and the relevance of the content of the site to your own.
The SEO team will establish references to your website on other websites with particular attention to the quality of the links as well and the quantity. We’ve also learned that the process of rank development must be conducted gradually, as it would under normal circumstances for a popular website in your field.
These links will be sourced in a variety of ways. We’ll include your website in online directories, industry association sites etc. We’ll also look at publishing articles about you and your product or services both on your site and in other places around the web. The search engines will notice your growing profile and as a result move your listing closer and closer to the top for searches conducted for your target phrases.
How long will it take?
Our SEO campaigns run for a minimum term of 12 months. We are often asked if our work can be focussed in the initial months to achieve immediate results. The answer unfortunately is, no. In fact, too much activity in a short period of time can work against you.
Search engines also value your history. If your domain name is new or has not had a website hosted previously the search engines won’t pay you much attention. Website that are at least 12 months old benefit more from our work than new ones. The relevance of your domain name is partly a factor. Domain names that contain your primary key phrase are an advantage, which is why domains like business.com and casino.com are worth millions of dollars.
We expect the average website to be indexed or re-indexed within a couple of weeks. From this point, if your website has no SEO credentials, you’ll see a rapid accent through the rankings in the first few months. When competition for key phrases is low, we often see Page 1 results within 90 days. As your rankings move closer to the top, you’ll be competing against websites that have stronger credentials. Moving past these websites will be more gradual.
Ultimately the time involved will reflect the level of competition you face for the key phrases weighed against the budget you have set for the campaign. You may also considering combining a pay-per-click advertising campaign to run alongside the SEO program as it gets up to speed as pay-per-click advertising creates an instant presence.
During your campaign you’ll be given access to our proprietary rank checking tool. Here you will be able to monitor the current position of each of your key phrases and compare the results with previous reports.
Side Bar – Facts
The internet has opened up markets previously un-dreamed of. Companies are doing business with customers around the world – but this also means many more competitors. Businesses live and die on the ease with which they can be found and online search is the number one tool customers use to find products and services and make buying decisions.
- More Traffic
96% of click-throughs occur on this first page of a search engine and the activity is highly focused around the top natural listings. Natural results account for about 70-80% off the click-throughs, so these top placed sites receive the lions share.
- Highly Targeted
Visitors to search engines enter a search phrase, preview the results and then click on likely sites that suit their needs. The traffic is therefore highly qualified and more likely to purchase.
You can see how many people are visiting the website and where they came from, even what pages are being looked at the most. This real time data makes it easier to determine what is working and what isn’t, so that marketing strategies can be constantly improved.
- Return on Investment
Whilst paid advertising has its place, click-throughs from natural results are free. Once a website is ranking well for an effective search term, the cost of acquisition per customer is greatly reduced.