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Getting to Grips With Search Engine Optimisation

Aug 15, 2008
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), the process of gaining good "natural" (unpaid) rankings in the search engines is being implemented effectively by more and more UK businesses. The investment can reap huge rewards, from increased brand exposure, increased traffic and ultimately, increased revenue. The following general tips are aimed at companies and marketers looking to begin a Search Engine Optimisation campaign.

1) Be Realistic

Everybody knows the "ideal" keyword / keyphrase that they would like to rank well for, but the chances of ranking well for this keyword may be slim / almost impossible in very competitive industries. Be realistic with yourself in terms of the amount of time, money and effort required to rank well for these search terms. Does the potential reward justify the time and effort? Are your competitors actively carrying out SEO work? Would the rewards of achieving 6th / 7th position justify the effort? If not, would you be better targeting more niche / long tail keywords? Are you competing against big brands outsourcing their SEO to large search marketing companies? Prioritise your tasks and look at outsourcing opportunities if you do not have the time necessary to complete tasks. You should be asking yourself all of these questions before deciding on a primary keyword to target.

2) Short Term / Long Term Goals

Related to the point above, setting realistic short and long term goals are great ways of staying motivated. Keep the short term goals towards longer tail search terms. If you already have a relatively established site, which terms are currently driving significant amounts of traffic? How easy will it be to increase the ranking of this term? Use click-through rate data to predict the number of clicks you can achieve. For example, if you rank 9th for "purple mice", and receive 22 visitors per month, if you increased this 4 places to 5th, you could expect to almost double this number. Look through all of your search terms looking for good short term search strategies. Longer term goals should be your more competitive keywords, often with a 6 -8+ month timescale (depending on industry) for achieving good rankings.

3) Research

Spend a lot of time researching every aspect of your strategy. Which sites are ranking for your target keywords? To what extent are they carrying out SEO work? What are your potential link-building strategies? Which strategies should you spend the most time on, and which are most cost effective? Who are the key industry authorities? Is there potential to partner with, write content for or gain backlinks from these authorities? In order to have a credible search marketing strategy, all of these factors need to be analysed in as much detail as possible.

4) Competitors

One of the most important individual factors to focus on is the competition. How good is their onsite SEO? Have they missed obvious tricks? Can you take positive things from their site design /structure and implement it yourself? How impressive are your competitors' backlink profiles? How are they going about obtaining back links? Is there scope to replicate strategies, or further improve on strategies your competitors have implemented?

5) Learning Online

A lot of basic SEO advice is available online, though dedicated SEO websites, blogs and discussion forums However, when reading and learning SEO, always pay particular attention to who is dispensing the advice. The internet is full of myths and bad advice on SEO, with hundreds of "experts" giving conflicting pieces of advice. http://www.mattcutts.com, http://www.seobook.com/ and http://www.seomoz.com are all considered reliable industry authorities.
About the Author
Latitudegroup is a search marketing agency established in 2001. Search Engine Optimization is the key to obtaining visitors for very little cost. In fact, SEO is absolutely vital to your search engine marketing success. As a result, every business wants to have the top search engine ranking for their targeted keywords.
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