The Importance of search engine optimisation
Your website is worthless if it doesn't get visitors and bring business! You can have a superbly designed website offering a great deal to your customers, but if few people visit the site you are simply wasting your money and handing customers to your competitors!
Visitors to your website will come along three routes. Many will come via links on other websites, such as Canal Junction. Some visitors come directly to your site because they know your website address, or it is in their 'favourites'. It makes sense to maximise visitor numbers from both these sources, so get as many 'inbound' links to your site as possible, many will be free, some may be worth paying for. Also make sure you publicise your website address on all your printed materials, adverts and on the side of your boats or products if possible! However Search engines are well known as an extremely important source of visitors, many canal sites get over 50% of their visitors from them.
So you obviously want to have good search engine listings.
first let's be clear that simply getting high up a search engine ranking
Number one, getting thousands of visitors from the search engines is pointless unless they are potential customers. You could get a great listing for 'free space rides' but that won't sell your canal boats to those disappointed visitors! Rankings need to be for things relevant to your business.
And, number two, there is no point in bringing people to your site if they don't like what they see, or they can't find what they want. It isn't uncommon for over 50% of visitors to leave sites without ever getting past the homepage. So good website design and engaging content is vital.
Why do some websites get really good search engine rankings?
• They contain relevant and useful information about that exact search phrase.
• Each page has been 'optimised' to ensure the search engine realises what that page is about.
• Other websites link to the site because it contains good relevant information.
• The site is regularly updated and developed.
• The site is well designed and compliant with current and developing web standards.
Paid or 'sponsored' listings
The only way to GUARANTEE first page listings in a search engine is to pay for 'sponsored' or 'pay per click' advertising. In Google this is called Adwords, Bing has adCentre and now Facebook has its own version. The advantages of paying for listings are that it can get immediate results, the budget is easily controlled and you can see exactly what you are getting. However it can be expensive, common keywords like 'canal holiday' can cost over £1 for every person who clicks the link, and when you stop paying you no longer get the visitors. You can manage a 'pay per click' campaign yourself, or Canal Junction can manage it for you for a management fee. Contact us for details.
Search Engine Optimisation
The best way to get search engine traffic is to get each page of your site optimised for a particular 'key phrase' (this is the exact search phrase that people type in to a search engine which you want to be on the first page for). This helps you get free listings in the search engines (sometimes called 'organic' listings). The advantage of search engine optimisation in the medium and long term it is much cheaper than 'pay per click'. However it takes longer to get working and first page rankings cannot be guaranteed, especially for popular general terms like 'canal holiday'.
Although it may be tempting to try to get listings for common search terms like 'canal holiday' it is much more effective to choose more relevant search terms like 'canal holiday Shropshire Union'. Not only are listings easier to get, people searching will be much more likely to be interested in your firm than those searching for 'canal holiday'.
Canal Junction offers a 12 month Search Engines Review and Optimisation service.
We optimise each suitable page for a single search term. We will discuss and identify the most relevant search terms with you and then optimise all the suitable pages in your website for those key phrases. Optimisation includes the use of techniques such as slightly altering the text on a page and the code behind the page. We analyse your visitor numbers on a monthly basis and use this information to 'tweak' pages to ensure that rankings improve. We provide quarterly progress reports. Contact us for details.
Need quick results?
If you want improved listings quickly consider a 2 or 3 month Google pay per click campaign for immediate results, combined with website optimisation so that you don't need to continually 'buy' good listings.
We do not recommend setting up duplicate sites or registering more domain names and pointing them at your site. Although you might think these could get you extra listings all the search engines will penalise duplicate content, by at least not listing sites which do not have original materials or at worst not listing ANY of your sites. If you wish to get multiple sites on the Internet they would need to contain different information, for instance a site about the local canal which included links to your hire site.
You can call us 01691 623126 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you appreciate now why Search Engine Optimisation to get good relevant rankings is vital. But remember that equally important are good web design and using the full potential of promotion including using online advertising, Social Media, email mailing lists, articles, blogs and newsletters.