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Home / Promotion / Positioning

Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is a term used in a variety of ways. NetSecrets use it to describe the process of working on the structure and content of your web site so that it is more likely to be found in leading search engines for keywords relevant to its content. The benefit of this is obvious. If more people searching for your products or services manage to find your site you will get more enquiries and more business assuming your offering is competitive.

Site Submission is a service that works hand-in-glove with SEO and aims to get search engines to index more of your pages more quickly so that the improvements made with SEO get results sooner. It follows on naturally from SEO and achieves steady ongoing improvements in your site's traffic levels.

This document explains the most common actions we take in optimising your web site and submitting it to the search engines. It applies to sites designed by NetSecrets and to those designed by third parties although the degree of success can vary according to how the web site has been built. Some remedial action may be required to get the most out of sites built "the wrong way" - and there truly is a right and a wrong way!

1.0 Step One - Keyword Research

It's no good optimising your site for search phrases people don't use. You may think you know what phrases your potential visitors use to find your site and you may well be right in some cases but there are nearly always other phrases that could bring traffic to your site that you won't have thought of. NetSecrets subscribe to a specialist service (WordTracker) that gives access to what search phrases are really being used by visitors to major search engines. We use this and other similar tools to draw up an optimum list of phrases to be targeted by our search engine optimisation efforts. This comprises 15 to 20 phrases in most cases, often combined with place names to focus on preferred locations.

2.0 Step Two - Traffic Measurement

We cannot assess the success of our link building campaigns without measuring the results. There are several packages around that claim to meet this need but most are inadequate. We have in depth knowledge of the well known HitsLink package and use it for all the projects we undertake because we know it works.

Hitslink tells you how many visitors you get, where they come from, what they searched for and which pages they viewed. It looks at specific actions on the site, such as entering an enquiry or placing an order, and tracks the visitors who bought or enquired right back to their origin. So you can accurately see, for example, that this week 60% of your enquiries came from people searching for "green widgets" on Google or that £5,000 in orders came from Yahoo Directory this month.

As long as we work with you we continually update your HitsLink account to more accurately reflect the activities taking place on your site.

3.0 Step Three - Design Review

If your web site has been developed by NetSecrets, this step will not be necessary. If however another party has developed your site we will need to assess how well the site's design and structure meets the criteria of "search engine friendliness".

You can have two identical web sites, indistinguishable to the viewer in appearance or functionality, but one could be easy to optimise and so have potential for high search engine visibility, and the other could be unworkable. This is because there are ways of designing web sites that produce the same visible results but with very different effects on search engines. In extreme cases the choices are to start again or accept that other methods have to be employed to gain visitors rather than SEO.

Fortunately, in many cases, relatively minor changes can eliminate the worst problems. We will identify what is required and can either work with your existing web designer or make the changes ourselves for you.

4.0 Step Four - Establish Current Visibility in Search Engines

Having researched a list of target keywords we establish where the site is currently listed for these phrases in the leading search engines. This will be then produced as a monthly report to show what progress is being made. You can specify a list of recipients for this report who will receive it automatically by email.

5.0 Step Five - Optimising Web Pages

Firstly it has to be said that there are changes that can be made to web pages that can lead sometimes to massive improvements in ranking but which, if detected by the search engines, will soon result in your web site being banned. We never use these "black hat" techniques as they pose a major risk to the long term viability of your site, even if there appear to be short term gains. We keep ourselves constantly up to date with trends in SEO so that we do not inadvertently use a technique that has recently been banned.

There are several simple things that will make a difference to your web site's rankings. The "title tag" for each page needs to be carefully written to both make sense and contain keywords. Each page should have a unique title. Each page needs a compelling "description tag" to make people interested enough to click on it. Heading each page "Welcome to our web site" will just not do!

Keywords need to be introduced in a natural and meaningful way to the pages. This can be in page titles, image titles, bullet listings and many other places. What search engines want is to see clearly what your site is about and that is what we aim to help them do. It is a mistake to try to deceive and we never do that. Equally we know that panaceas don't exist. Success is based on steady, methodical improvements to your site content and structure over an extended period.

6.0 Step Six - Getting Into Google

It can take a long time to get into Google and there is no magic wand to change that. What we can do is to make sure there are no unnecessary delays and that when Google does decide to look at your site it has the best possible chance of success. One thing we do is to create a sitemap file, containing all the pages we want Google to index, and to submit it using Google Sitemaps. Once that is done we gain more insight into Google's view of the site and can make amendments accordingly.

In most cases we also submit your site to Google Local which provides another route to traffic within Google. And often we gain short term traffic by setting up Google Adwords for you, but that is the subject of another document.

7.0 Step Seven - Yahoo! and MSN plus The Rest

Yahoo! has a feature similar to Google Sitemaps and we set that up for you. MSN is often the quickest to index new sites and we have routes to get your pages listed without delay. These two plus Google amount to 95% of the search market for most people.

We do however make an effort to get your site indexed in several lesser search engines such as Mirago, Abacho, ExactSeek and many more. This is not so much because they themselves will send you many or even any visitors but because they can help in improving rankings in the big engines. Search engines search each other regularly so the fact that Google finds you in JoeAnt's Directory could persuade it to boost your position in Google.

8.0 Step Eight - Specialist Search Engines and Local Search

There are specialist search resources in many market sectors - finance, property, sport, the internet - and we will assess which of these, if any, provide you an opportunity for gaining relevant visitors. Some are free to enter, others involve a fee to subscribe.

Equally there is a major growth in Local Search. Many companies are mainly looking for prospects in their immediate locality and there are many services meeting that need. Google Local is free as are several others. Several offer paid inclusion but can be good value for money. The best known are and but some interesting newer companies are emerging such as

In both cases we will make our recommendations and you decide when and how much to invest.

9.0 Ongoing Support and Promotion

Once all is set up, as defined in steps 1 to 8, your site enters the support and promotion phase. This is an ongoing activity as search engines never stay still. New ones emerge, old ones decline. The "rules" that determine where your site is ranked change constantly. Your site changes itself as new content arrives and old pages are superseded.

Our support and promotion contract ensures your site is submitted to new search engines; that it is modified to meet changing criteria for good rankings; that pages which are dropped by search engines get re-submitted without delay. A monthly report shows you what is happening. Also your HitsLink results are constantly monitored and new trends spotted and exploited.

We strongly encourage you to add new content on a regular basis, mainly through news items or case studies. This provides new pages for the search engines to index, increasing your overall coverage. It keeps your site fresh to encourage repeat visitors. Little is worse than a site last updated a year ago.

10.0 Other Services

SEO and Site Submission are the most important source of long term visitor growth for your web site. There are other important services NetSecrets offer to augment these results and further increase your site's visibility. These include:

Pay-per-Click Campaigns: These are online adverts where you are charged "by the click". Best known is Google Adwords, the small ads down the right side of the page on Google. If prepared by amateurs these make lots of money for Google and little for the site owner. In expert hands, as with NetSecrets, they can generate significant traffic at a low cost.

Link Building: Links from other web sites can boost your ranking in search engines by indicating that your site is an authority in its field. Links from complementary sites can also bring relevant visitors who will do business with you. NetSecrets can undertake projects to identify potential link partners and negotiate links to your web site that will bring greater visibility and new customers.

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