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
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
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
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
7.0 Step Seven - Yahoo! and MSN plus
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 yell.com and thomsonlocal.com but some interesting
newer companies are emerging such as TheBestOf.co.uk.
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
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:
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.
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.