By Simon Wright
Creating a high-quality Web site is only part of the battle when companies are entering the online space. It’s all very well having a site that’s populated with high-quality content and ecommerce capability, but this will do you no good unless your intended audience knows about your Web site’s presence. This is where Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, comes in.
SEO, put simply, is a process aimed at improving the volume and quality of traffic to your Web site by securing your site a higher presence within search engine results. If we take an example, appearing on the first page of Google search results for “antique clock repair” will deliver much more traffic than if your site is hidden away on page five. And the benefit will be even greater if you are the top-listed search result.
A key aspect of pure SEO, however, is that it is achieved without the need to pay for inclusion on sites. Instead, the objective is met by aligning the fit between content keywords on your Web site and search engine query strings that consumers are entering. SEO, therefore, uses keyword analysis in an attempt to gain high rankings on search engines and industry directories.
Is SEO as simple as just getting your content right?
Not quite. When search engines are filtering results, they look not just at keywords and phrases on Web sites but also at coding tags on pages and images. And they also look for relevant links from other Web sites, such as trackback links. This means that a truly effective SEO approach must extend to the coding that your Web developer employs on each page of your site and to having referral links on relevant Web sites and directories. For example, if your industry has a recognized umbrella Web site, then it will pay to have your company linked to from that well recognized and trusted site.
Should I Hire a Search Engine Optimizer?
One of the key considerations that businesses face is whether to do SEO in-house or to outsource it to a specialist SEO firm. People sometimes mistakenly think that SEO is just about repeating a keyword enough times, but there’s a lot more to successful SEO than that. Companies that have a capable Web developer within their ranks may choose to undertake the SEO in-house. However, companies that outsource the building of their Web content will normally also outsource the SEO component as well. It’s important, of course, to ensure that you’re getting value for money and to realize that SEO isn’t a one-off occurrence but rather needs to be part of your ongoing Web strategy.
If this article has whetted your appetite about the importance of search engine optimization for your Web site, then check out Ian Lurie’s excellent and very comprehensive article, “Search Engine Optimization.”
About the Author
Simon Wright works as mobile delivery manager for Royal Bank of Scotland and has extensive experience across ecommerce and mcommerce including the launch and promotion of Web sites.