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Search Engine Optimisation

Is SEOP right for your business or would an alternative approach reap better rewards to achieve a successful on-line presence.

This article takes a brief look at Search Engine Optimisation & Positioning (SEOP) and provides a useful math tool to determine if you should consider hiring a specialist to improve your search engine rankings and bottom line performance.

What is Search Engine Optimisation & Positioning
Search Engine Optimisation & Positioning is the art and science of ensuring that major search engines such as MSN, Google and Lycos, notice your website and add it to their listings.This involves a continous process of building, changing, and tweaking a website so that it will receive good rankings and in turn become more visible to the millions of Internet users.

Most companies have three main goals for search engine optimisation:
1) To make sure that people searching for your domain name can find it. This is a relatively easy task because your domain name is unique to your company.

2) To help surfers find information within your website, such as products, services or articles. In instances where you are marketing specific products or services, you will obviously want to ensure these are recognised by search engines. This is a more difficult process because it requires more work (you may only have one domain, but many items within it).

If your website consists of mainly graphics or is flash-heavy, it becomes even harder because search engines have trouble picking up this type of content. In addition, if your website contains products that also appear on competitors' sites, you will probably be competing for search engine attention for those duplicate product names.

3) To ensure that your website appears when people search by related terms or phrases. More often than not, people don't search by product or company name, so it is imperative that your website to show up in the search results. This is the most difficult element to manage because there can be many competing sites, and it requires a great deal of thought to figure out which terms or phrases people might use to search for your company. Once you have identified these, you'll then need to know which ones are worth spending time and money to optimise!

How much is SEOP worth to your company
It is important to identify what your Return On Investment (ROI) will be if you hire a SEOP expert. A simple method of calculating ROI is by using the following formula:
a) Identify the total number of times per month / year surfers use your terms and phrases that best describe you products or services (a specialist provider such as the cheese room will use the latest available software to help you to calculate this number).

b) Multiple the sum of the number identified in a) by a 10 per cent click through rate (research has identified 10 per cent as being a realistic click through rate for websites having well-written text listed in the top three search results). Now you have a forecast hit rate for you website.

c) Multiply this number by your average conversion rate (your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who convert by joining your mailing list, filling out an online form or buying something. This rate can easily be established using your management information results supplied by your website host) and finally

d) Multiply the quantity identified in c) by the average gross profit your business makes per conversion.

You now have the additional gross margin you can realistically expect to achieve by having a Top 3 search engine rankings.

What are you paying for when you hire a SEOP specialist
There are essentially four separate elements that make up SEOP:-
Site Optimisation
This involves working with your current website design, including meta tags, page title tags, headers and the actual visible site content. NB This task should be completed before moving to the next steps! (see article on how to avoid the common web strategy mistakes).

Search Engine Submission
This means proactively submitting information about your site to search engines. The submission process is often more complicated than you may think. Not all search engines will take submissions; some only take them on a paid basis; and some only require payment for a rapid evaluation of your site.

Search Engine Positioning
This involves using a variety of methods such as creating doorway pages and improving link popularity to achieve high search engine positioning.

Search Engine Advertising
There are three types of search engine advertising, namely banner ads, text ads, and paying for high-ranking positions.

How can SEOP affect your bottom-line
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence about the number of web surfers that use search engines and how high search listings outperform banner and button advertising. If done correctly, SEOP will drive qualified traffic to your website at a lot less cost per visitor than almost any other type of online or off-line marketing. The extent that SEOP will affect your bottom line will vary from business to business, but by using the calculation above will enable you to identify your additional sales growth and profitability by hiring a specialist.

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