The Truth About Search Engines

Search Engine Optimisation for Small Business in Nottingham by Net Quality

Understanding how to get your business to the top of the search results is important to all businesses.  We have written this article to help dispel some of the myths about Search Engine Optimisation, allowing you to concentrate on the effective methods of promoting your business on the Internet.

Truth Number 1 - Content is king

The reasons a site appears at the top of the search engine listings vary according to the latest complex algorithms applied by the big search engine companies.  They constantly update and refine these methods to try and ensure that the surfer finds the most relevant websites and not just the websites using the cleverest tricks.

This is great news!  No matter what changes the search engines make, they have one constant goal which is to find the most relevant website to match a particular search phrase. Therefore do not use tricks or cheats that might bring spectacular results today and disastrous results tomorrow.  Instead, work with your Web Designer to develop a rich and varied site with plenty of text on the relevant subject matter.  This is the type of site that always will be the favourite with the search engines.

Each website we create is carefully hand-coded by experts. This gives us complete control not only over the rendered site which your visitor sees, it also means that in the background we present your site in a well structured and easy-to-ready format for the search engines.

Furthermore, we place your strategic key phrases in exactly the right parts of your site ensuring the search engines know which search phrases are important to you whilst keeping the flow of the text in a readable format for the human user.

Truth Number 2 - Not all links are equal

It is widely known that most search engines, and especially Google, count each inbound link to your site as a vote for your site. The more votes, the more highly they think of your site.  So much so that after content, inbound links are the most effective way of boosting your site to page 1 for a given search term.

There are many unscrupulous SEO firms who will dazzle you with promises of many thousands of inbound links in a short period of time.  But the truth is that one relevant link from a quality website is worth 10,000 links from dodgy link farms.

If you want to be sure about the quality of sites, linking to you, enter this phrase into Google:

link: www.yoursite.com

Now type in almost the same but without a space between the colon and www:

link:www.yoursite.com

You will find that there are far fewer links with the second term.  It is this second search method that tells you about the good quality links to your site.  Use this same technique with your competitors' websites to find out which sites linking into them would help you.  The chances are that you can obtain links from the same people.

Truth Number 3 - Forget about meta tags! (well almost)

A Meta Tag is a small piece of code that sits behind your website to offer up information not available elsewhere within the page content.  Two of the most commonly known tags are the "Keywords" Meta Tag and the "Description" Meta Tag.

The "Keywords" mata tag was once absolutely vital to ensure you got your site to the first page of results.  However, since the early 2000's, it has become virtually redundant.  First of all, Google, the most popular search engine in the world, completely ignores this tag!  Some Search Engines such as Yahoo do take it into account but it only has a minor influence.  So by all means, ask your Web Designer to add a keywords meta tag but do not spend too much time worrying about it.  There are many more important things you can do to enhance your website's visibility in the search engines.

The "Description" meta tag is important but it has no influence on your position in the search engine results.  Take a look at the example below:

Net Quality result on Google showing the description meta tag

Google shows a description of our home page from the "Description" meta tag, not from the page itseelf.  Therefore, this tag should contain a useful phrase to tell the surfer what this page is about.

Truth Number 4 - Nobody can guarantee results!

We have noticed that many of our customers are receiving telemarketing phone calls from slick salesmen telling them that they can guarantee they will get you to the top of the search engine pages.  In truth, nobody can guarantee this.

What these companies do is work one the principle that thye can probably succeed in a certain percentage of cases.  Let us say for argument's sake that this is 50%.  All they have to do, is charge twice the amount that they want to earn.  That way, they can afford to refund the 50% of customers where they had no success.  Even more, they can make it awkward for those customers to get their refund so they can play this percentage game to their advantage.

Our advice is to steer clear of search engine optimisation companies.  Everything that needs to be done can be done by you and your web designer.  The only skill required is a reasonable command of the English language as you can see in the "Content is king" section.

Truth Number 5 - It pays to be patient!

This is perhaps the most difficult truth to accept.  The search engines trust sites that have been live for a long time much more than they trust brand new websites.  Therefore, whilst you might enjoy some limited success within a few days or weeks of your site going live for the first time, excellent consistent results are usually achieved no earlier than six months after a site has appeared and more often after one year or eighteen months.  All your time and energy during this period must be spent promoting your website in other ways and slowly and consistently building those good quality links.

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