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How To Optimise Your Rankings

May 20, 2008
The Sunday Times this week reported an in-depth discussion on the merits of search engine optimisation and how it has become an increasingly important marketing strategy. Adverts, pop ups and even pay per clicks all have their place but it would seems trends still show more trust in the organic results of an internet search engine.

Search engine optimisation works on the use of key words. This is the best known way to encourage Google and other such popular searches to list optimised sites to full effect. Type in a key phrase of whatever it is you are looking for and Google will do it's stuff, listing the most relevant pages first.

According to statistics, if you are not listed on page one of a search engine then you have, at most, a one per cent chance of getting your site viewed. This said, it shows how important it is to get listed on page one of as many search engines as possible. For the purpose of this article, we will refer to Google as it is the most widely used search engine although the principles apply to all search engines.

Google has an ever evolving set of rules that it uses to define how relevant a site is to a search. They will make guidelines known but never clearly publicise all the rules. This is because much of it's revenue is generated from pay-per-click listings. Whenever you do a search on the internet, the results will include a list down the right hand side and often the first few sites across the left hand side. All these are paid links and not necessarily the most relevant to your search.

Companies like Google are all in favour of search engine optimisation because any publicity is good publicity and any searches made will ultimately lead to at least a proportion of those users clicking on a pay per click site, thus bringing in more money.

The internet very quickly took over as the top source for information given it's instant access and is the prime place for company advertising. But how to compete with the thousands of other companies offering the same services?

Any search engine optimisation company worth it's money will tell you that this is an on-going process and that results are in no way guaranteed. This is down to search engines fine tuning their process every day. However, the SEO companies are also working daily to fine tune their processes that keep their customers among the top page listings.

And this is a huge business that promises continual growth for the foreseeable future. Spending on search engine optimisation last year grew a staggering 68% to a UK total cost of 250 pounds million. American forecasts are even more drastic with a rise in those businesses using SEO expected to climb a further 365% this coming year generating an income for SEO companies of around $8.9 billion. Not a revenue to be sniffed at by any means.

Appropriate use of key words on web pages is probably the best way to generate traffic. Search engine optimisers will have their own set of tools to carry out key word research on the internet, showing them the way when it comes to the most searched for terms in each particular business sector.

It is absolutely essential that these key terms and phrases are not used to saturate the website as this will lead to a rejection by Google due to bad practice. Striking the right balance is just part of what search engine optimisation companies do so well.

These key words can then be tied in to the meta data behind a website which is one of the first things the search engine robots will use to identify the relevancy of a site in any particular search.

Link farms were once hailed as a good source of advertising in SEO. This is where a computer generated website would be created purely to link sites and make them look more popular. This practice has now been discredited by Google who prefer to see sites linked together with much more relevancy. The more appropriate the linking, the more traffic will be generated to the customers website.

Article writing has also become a widely used aspect of search engine optimisation. Articles can be written on any subject. Appropriate use of key words again comes into play remembering the rule about not overly saturating any piece that is written. These articles will generate traffic back to the customers website and are highly effective because they are seen as new news.

Fresh news on a daily basis that avoids duplication and over use of key words will be quickly absorbed by search engine robots and push the relevant site up the search engine rankings. Whilst all companies know their own business, they shouldn't profess to know search engine optimisation. This is a specialised field that should be left to the professionals to avoid a site being completely dropped due to bad practice.
About the Author
SEO expert Catherine Harvey looks at the way search engine optimisation will raise your company profile int he search engines.
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