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Then when you are trying to find an SEO expert it is important that you understand that search engine optimisers tend to fall into six categories.
  • Website designers who provide extra curricular services like search engine optimisation and who base all their understanding about SEO on what they glean from misleading information published on the Internet. I speak to website designers every day who are having problems, only to discover that the SEO practices they have been using for years are actually wrong.

  • Search engine optimisers who use illegitimate techniques and programs that could get your website blacklisted by the major search engines.

  • Optimisers who have used a few SEO techniques that have appeared to be successful but who actually don't understand why they have worked, so often they cannot repeat a successful campaign.

  • Rogue services that will take your money upfront with worthless guarantees of a refund that never happens. These are usually the people who will send you an email offering to provide a free analysis of your website. They will be using a program that, if caught by a search engine, could get your website dropped.

  • Companies supplying worthless optimisation programs. There is no such thing as a program that can think; artificial intelligence is still a subject for Sci-Fi movies and no program, no matter how complex, can analyse a situation and make decisions. Use one and you will most likely see your website disappear.

  • Professional search engine optimisers who have studied the search engines and really understand how they work and how to manipulate a website so that it performs well. There are no more than a dozen people working on the internet who fall into this category.

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If you are someone who thinks that reading up on information about search engine optimisation on the Internet will help you optimise your own website, think again. Commonsense must tell you that to propel a website past millions of web pages indexed for a competitive search term cannot be that simple.

It is apparent from the millions of people who have websites built without any forethought as to how to promote them (with many believing that their website will be found by people searching the internet), that they do think it is that simple. If Google has ten million web pages indexed for a competitive search term, it stands to reason that you have a million to one chance of getting into the top ten of the natural rankings. This is why Google makes so much money from its pay per click advertising, because website owners have discovered that making money on the internet just isn't that simple.

Just what goes through people's minds when they are commissioning a website design beats me. I wonder if it is the same mentality as people who think they can beat the bookie or roulette wheel. Or may be it is the old "find the pea" trick, where the con man is claiming to be hiding the pea under one of three shells; there is the idiot who thinks he can follow the slight of hand and win against the odds and there is the bigger idiot who suspects that the pea is not under any of the shells but still bets. This, in reality is what is happening all the time with website designers building websites for unsuspecting and na´ve clients. One is promising potential financial gains whilst the other is choosing to believe him rather than accept the reality, because the dream and excitement is worth the financial risk.

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Obviously there are risks involved when starting a business, whether it is offline or an internet business. However, research and planning can reduce and often eliminate many of those risks if you are intent on breaking into the internet with a new business. It is just about educating yourself so that you can talk to a website designer with a sound knowledge of how the internet and the search engines work and decide if the designer actually knows what he is talking about.

One rule when having a website designed and built is never make your decision based on price as you will almost certainly lose money. It is impossible to compare website design based on price; in fact the cheapest is most likely going to be something that has been cobbled together using bits and pieces from other websites that a designer has built before.

The best way to determine if a website designer knows what he is doing is to ask him to provide access to a number of websites he has built and then do searches on Google related to the type of business that the websites are operating in to see where they come in the organic results. If they don't appear in the top ten of Google for the most obvious searches, walk away and save your money.


However, if you think your website has no chance of ever being ranked in the top ten of Google and the other search engines for your competitive search terms, think again. All things are possible if you employ the services of a search engine optimizer http://www.whereonearthgroup.com.com/search-engine-optimisers.php who really knows what they are doing. If you insist on trying to optimise your website yourself here are a few essential guidelines.

Did you know that...
  • Where your website is hosted will affect your search engine results. If your website is hosted in the USA or any other country and people are searching web pages from the UK, your website will never appear in the results if it is a .com domain. If it is a .co.uk Google will be able to recognise it as a UK website and index it accordingly. I speak to numerous website owners who cannot understand why their website gets so little traffic from UK users and this is always my first starting point to see where the site is hosted. Because office space in the UK is so much more expensive than in the USA and Asia, many website designers in their ignorance go looking for cheap hosting. Turns out to be damned expensive though when your website is not visible to the very users you want to sell to.

  • Americans spell many words in a different way from the UK and many other English speaking countries who have learned to write Oxford and Cambridge English. There are 150 million internet users in the USA and 1.5 billion English speaking Internet users worldwide. If your website is only optimised for American spelling and hosted in the USA, you are only reaching a small percentage of the world wide markets. It is a constant irritant to many educated English speaking people that Google often asks if we meant to spell a word in the American way. Not surprising though considering the fact that when they registered their domain name they miss spelt the name and thought they were actually registering a Googol which is 10 to the hundredth power (10100, or 1 followed by 100 zeros. Doesn't see to have done them much damage though, but if you are not optimised for British and American spellings you will be losing out on important search engine traffic.

  • The way the server that hosts your website is set up, the type of server and what and how many other websites it is hosting will affect how easily the search engines can access your website. Other websites and their activities hosted on the same server as your website could influence the way the search engines treat your website. Any rogue sites that participate in spamming or other unfriendly activities can get the ISP blacklisted and this will affect all websites on that server.

  • The way a website is designed will influence search engine results.

  • Most websites are not built for the search engines. Although Google has made huge strides in trying to develop ways to access and read Flash, forms and pixels etc, it has not really cracked the problem. It never ceases to amaze me how website designers therefore still use Flash on home pages, build websites within frames, use impenetrable JavaScript links, set up links too deep within a website or place too many links on web pages. The search engines cannot access a lot of the information on a huge percentage of websites.

  • Exchanging links does not necessarily help with link popularity. One link from a major high traffic site can generate more traffic which in turn can help your rankings than a hundred reciprocal links from unimportant websites. Link building companies who have abused the way search engines looked at the popularity of a website ensured that reciprocal linking was dropped as a way of biasing a website.

  • Most search engines do not use keywords in their algorithms and metatags do not play a significant role in search engine optimisation. I know this goes against just about everything else you will find published on other websites and many search engine optimisers reading this will be up in arms. (Bit like telling the Pope that the Virgin Mary wasn't a virgin). The atheists amongst you will see the significance in this. So are you ready to get blown away? Go to Google and type in the word - website - the results you get will differ depending on where you are in the world. However, many of you will find that the BBC is number one and two and you won't see the word website mentioned in the title and description metatags. Nor is the next website optimised for the word website. It is however linked in from the BBC site. So why has Google decided to cluster these two sites and why choose these pages?

  • There are a myriad of reasons for this and to really understand the main reasons you need to understand how the search engines actually work and how to optimise a website using the techniques mentioned later. However, for those of you who really are foolish enough to think they can learn about search engine optimisation by reading about it, here are the basic reasons why these two sites are in 1, 2 & 3 positions. When Google first indexes a page, it is reading the metatags. You may well have seen a web page appear in a certain position when it is first indexed and then disappear only to reappear a few days later lower down or not at all. This will happen if the actual page content has little or nothing to do with the metatags. You cannot fool Google into thinking that a page is relevant to a search term by using keywords in your metatags. If the content is not written in the right way using the right algorithmic sequences, it will drop from sight sooner or later. If you don't know what the numeric sequences are (and they are changing all the time), then your web pages will tumble in the rankings.

  • Google likes well established sites that carry masses of constantly changing content, get high levels of traffic, and have lots of inbound links. The BBC website fits the bill; it is not optimised for the search engines and Google ignores the metatags and ranks the site based on the content. The two pages that Google has indexed are the most visited and highly linked on the BBC site. This is why small websites stand little chance of beating large websites where the internet company has deep pockets and plenty of staff to keep adding content.

  • So why is the other website in third place, because it isn't optimised for the search engines either? Google has chosen to cluster both sites together. Google will often cluster a lesser site that has a link from an important hub site and this particular site gets lots of traffic from the link from the BBC.

  • So is it possible to dislodge a big website from the top of Google? Yes with time and money if you know how. If you don't know how, don't know how to stack and cluster, don't know how to bait pages, don't understand what mercurial content is, don't understand primary optimisation and a hundred other different SEO techniques, you could be working for fifty years without achieving your aims. Go to google.co.uk and type in - top internet company - you should find Where On Earth Group in top positions with the BBC second. Yes, we dislodged them from the top spot. Depending on when Google has done their latest shuffle, Google will have between 50 and 250 million pages indexed. You will notice that the word top is not mentioned in the title and description metatags of the two Where On Earth Group pages. However, Google has indexed the two web pages, which have a page rank of zero incidentally, for this search term. You see, you don't have to use metatags and keywords to get top ten rankings on Google if you are carry the right type of content.

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