web design & development : search engine optimisation

Optimising your website for search engines is an ongoing process with popular websites like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft's Live Search changing their ranking algorithms all the time. However, SEO can generally be split into two types, on-site and off-site optimisation.

On-site Search Engine Optimisation

On-site search engine optimisation is partly about ensuring the various pages of your website include specific keywords and phrases relating the subject, product or service on that page. More importantly that these keywords match what your prospective customers are searching for. This allows the search engines to rank the relevancy of your website's pages to the searcher's keywords. Depending on how well your competitor's websites are optimised and how many competitors you have, certain keywords and phrases will be more competitive than others and so more difficult to reach top of the listings. We use various tools to help identify which phrases to optimise for maximum effect and to generate the most traffic to your website. This is of course only one factor of many used by search engines to calculate relevancy and page rank.

Another piece in the puzzle is ensuring the search engines are aware of your website and it's pages in the first place. It is possible that your website will be discovered and indexed without any action on your part by external links on other sites pointing to your website. If this is a brand new website then you will not have this benefit. Regardless, new or old websites can all benefit from the use of XML sitemaps and pinging technology to let search engines know when your content has changed or you have new pages to index.

Off-site Search Engine Optimisation

Off-site search engine optimisation generally relates to external links pointing to your website. These give the search engines some idea of the popularity and importance of your website pages. The value of these links depend on the importance and page rank of the linking website, the keywords used in the linking text and the relevance of these keywords to the linked page.

There are a plethora of companies offering search engine optimisation with prices ranging anywhere from reasonable to extortionate and an even bigger variance in effectiveness. The truth is that many of the techniques still in use today no longer work. Techniques such as keyword stuffing, META tags, linking schemes and link farms are either obsolete or are frowned upon by search engines and in some cases websites can be demoted or worse removed from their indexes. Even paid for links, if detected, are seen as an attempt to 'artificially' boost your page rank. In addition to these are 'black-hat' techniques that cheat search engines into boosting your page rank. These techniques generally only have a short term effect though and when discovered can get your website banned, in some cases permanently.

Our job here at cornerpiece is to guide you through the maze of search engine optimisation using clean, 'white-hat' techniques that generate increased amounts of relevant search engine traffic to your website. One technique, known as link baiting, is to create well written, useful or interesting content that will attract incoming links. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is by incorporating a blog into your website.

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