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Search Engine Optimisation For Small Business

Ten top tips to make sure that your potential customers find your site.

One of the most effective ways of generating visits to your website is to ensure that your site appears when a potential customer types in a request to a Search Engine.

With literally millions of sites jostling for the all important top 20 results on the likes of Google or Ask Jeeves, what can you do to increase your chances? We have put together a brief guide as to what you need to consider for a successful campaign:

1.What do you want out of it? Are you looking for actual sales of your product or service? Are you looking for new enquiries, sign ups to your newsletter, or just awareness / branding of your business? Your message must reflect the desired outcome.

2.How do you want to reach your audience? The obvious place to start is with a website optimisation, to ensure your website has consistent high ranking on the main search engines, including Google, Yahoo!, MSN & Ask Jeeves. Alongside the optimisation, you have a choice of extending your search engine marketing campaign. This can be with a selection of pay per click activities, such as Google AdWords, this means that you pay an agreed amount every time someone clicks on your link. (Be very careful, as this can become expensive with no guarantee of any sales).

3. What is your budget? A few years ago, you could get away with gaining high rankings in the search engines on very small budget; however, it is not so easy now, particularly if you are after quick results. Therefore your budget needs to take into account pay per click campaigns whilst the search engines are indexing the website, and even paid submissions for directories. This is the best way of kick starting a campaign and seeing results in a relatively short period of time. Of course, if budgets are tight, you can play the waiting game, up to six months at least before real results are seen.

4. Is your website up to the job? It could be a waste of money if the site is not usable to visitors. Make sure that whatever it is you want your visitors to do, e.g sign up to a newsletter, make an enquiry, they can do it easily, in the least number of clicks possible.

5. In house or outsource? Do you have the resources to handle a search engine marketing campaign in-house or will you need to outsource the service? If choosing an outside specialist, it is vital you ask them how they intend to promote the website. If they are not willing to disclose how they do it, guarantee number one results or say they use special methods, do not trust them. Ask for testimonials from other customers and even ask if you can contact them.

6. Choosing key phrases. The most important part of any search engine marketing campaign is making sure you are targeting the right key phrases.

7. Measuring results & linking. When starting a search engine marketing campaign, particularly via pay per click, ensure you have the tracking in place before the campaign starts. This will tell you whether or not your spend is giving you a good return.

8. Incoming links & directories. Incoming links contribute to the link popularity of your website, most search engines will rank according to the number of incoming links and your sites relevancy to the search terms. Links can also bring in a significant amount of targeted traffic to your website.

9. Complement your campaigns. You may need to think about complementing your campaign with other online marketing activities such as marketing by email to your opt-in list, advertising on carefully chosen portals and websites, particularly those targeting the audience you want to reach.

10. Keep at it. Keep at it and dont expect quick results, particularly if your website is new. Search engine marketing takes time and patience. With the right targeting and care when setting up your campaign, you will be reaping the rewards in the months ahead.

Samantha McArthur

Sam is an Internet Marketing Consultant, specialising in search engine optimisation, pay per click campaigns and general website consultations.

For further information & advice on any of the above activities, please contact Sam McArthur, Forty First –, or email You can also find me blogging at Savvy Marketers,

Sam McArthur
Forty First

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