The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Friday Guest Blog by Mark Blackhurst

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is by far the most cost effective way of marketing your business.

Effective SEO is all to do with creating a plan or strategy that will make your website much more effective or attractive to the Search Engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing for example. Research carried out by many leading authorities have shown that if an SEO and Adword/Pay per click search campaign is run at the same time, the end result can mean an increase in website business by figures of 200/ 300 /400% sometimes more.

Of course the work has to be carefully planned and managed.

In the current business climate it could mean problems for you if your business isn`t appearing on page 1 of the search engine results. Certainly people are moving from the shopfront only situation and many who have an effective SEO strategy are seeing their online trade increase exponentially. If your website is not featured upon page 1 of the search engines it is clear that your corporate identity or brand may be seen to be less effective or less dependable than the companies featured near to the top of page 1.

The race for companies is now to get into the first two pages of the search engines but there are people who are spending large amounts of money on building great websites which showcase their fantastic products or brilliant service only to find that no thought whatsoever has been given to producing a website that is Search Engine friendly.

When building a website the first thought should be ‘where is my site going to be placed on google?’ and at this stage effective planning for the SEO campaign should begin. For small businesses thinking about creating a website find out what SEO is best for your business and what you need to do to get your website ranking up at the top of the search engine pages. Beware of agencies that offer SEO or pay per click campaigns very cheaply.

The idea that SEO is a dark art is now being dispelled by making the SEO service open and accessible to organisations that genuinely have aspirations to do better in their online
business and trade. SEO is a process that has to be ongoing. New content and articles must be created to keep your site relevant and these will build inbound links to your site. It can be a full time job and costly to do in house, you may be able to save time and expense by engaging the services of a good reputable SEO agency.

Good SEO may be the best marketing tool you have, outstripping traditional forms of advertising and media. In some cases the benefits can be mind-blowing. It will work for current sites and new site designs, so if you have a website and ambition, with correct planning it will work for you.

A tip is the older a domain name the better SEO potential as it is normally more respected by the search engines. Just remember if you are placed well on Google and the right organisation finds you this could mean new contracts not just in the thousands of pounds but in the millions of pounds.... I have seen this happen a number of times in the past few years.

The costs of SEO are monthly, the work is carried out month on month and the net result is that new business and search engine ranking go hand in hand.

Good tips for website owners to enhance your online presence, all of which can be managed by a reputable SEO agency.

 Understand your target market and work out what you aim to achieve.
 Incorporate Blogs in to your site and blog regularly.
 Create content that is correctly focussed and well distributed
 Investigate and ask your SEO agency about social bookmarking
 Join internet forums as these provide a way of networking and connect you with like minded or forward thinking individuals.
 Think about an online video, as this creates a more tangible interaction with potential customers. Web video creates a fast interaction and brings personality to your profile.
 Think about online events – using the relevant networks such as linked in and the new interactive networking get togethers.
 Social media – Facebook etc who is discussing your brand? Create buzz and excitement.
 Online PR – Submit news and make the net work for you.

The web and social media creates a connected web and network. Your reputation and online profile can mean the difference between great success or the total opposite.....

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