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Is Search Engine Optimisation worth it?

The Internet offers a cost effective measurable channel on which to promote your business that for the first time gives accountability to your advertising spend. When Google holds 90% of the search engine market share in the Australian market; total advertising revenue in digital media soaring by 42% to $1.44 billion (BRW, Digital Generation, February 28-April 2, 2008) and with an increasing percentage of Australians using the search engines to research their future purchase decisions, one wonders how businesses can still question the validity of search engine optimisation.

Consider your own search patterns when deciding if it is ‘good enough’ to be in the 2nd or 3rd pages of Google? How often do you go past the first? The fundamental question that all business owners should ask themselves, is how much does lack of access to new customers limit the growth of their business?

Choosing an SEO company and ongoing strategy for your business…

Approaching the Web Design Process

When you build a website you spend weeks & months preparing the design, content and the technical features right? You test the website’s navigation to ensure that there are no errors and use unbiased feedback to remove all design and content flaws. You ensure that at the end of the process you have an aesthetically pleasing result which will drive business revenue. Then, once the website is ready and live, you wait for the traffic to start pouring in, but when this does not happen, you then, start thinking about strategies to drive traffic to your website.

And then Search Engine Optimisation

The real question when you reach this step, is why are you only thinking about it when your website is online and not delivering the results you had dreamed it would. For too many businesses, driving traffic (that will convert) to their website is a consideration that comes into the mix far too late in the business plan. When it is an afterthought, it is not given its due consideration, the right budget allocation, nor is the required timeframe allocated because you are thinking about it when your website is live, and once the site is live you want results, now, so you have not planned into the 6-12 month timeframe generally required to begin delivering strong front page Google results.

Things get even more complicated when you wish to be found locally in foreign markets, so you expect to find your website in Google New Zealand (.co.nz) or perhaps Google UK (.co.uk), not realising the complexities involved in the way in which Google registers a website and then indexes it. If Google considers your website to be an Australian business, found locally in (.com.au), it is not going to automatically index you in all the other local Google engines because you wish to operate in those markets.

The website traffic element should be one of the primary considerations within the initial business plan, and a search engine optimisation (SEO) company should be commissioned prior to the website design & build, because even if the SEO company will not be designing the website, they will be able to advise you on the strategies to maximise your website’s position in the search engines. Further to this, a search engine optimisation strategy can commence as soon as the domain name has been registered and the ground work can be started, so that once your website is live, the timeframe required to achieve first page Google rankings is significantly minimised.

Setting up your website without thinking about how to drive traffic to it is like opening a retail outlet without providing the address. Co-ordinating the build & design process with the search engine optimisation strategy is critical to prevent incurring unnecessary costs or blowing out wasted timeframes that could be spent on more effective revenue building activities. Before you commence the design of your website, it is important to speak with a search engine optimisation strategist who will be able to outline the best online strategy. In the highly dynamic, fast paced online space, there is nothing more expensive in business than catch-up.