Website design and search engine optimization. Advice and information on getting top ten rankings on Google. How website design and optimization can conflict.
To begin reading this interview with Paul Herbert CEO of Europe's leading search engine optimization company click here:
Q. Why are your search engine optimization methods not common knowledge?
A. We are in the business of optimizing websites it is not our job to give advice. Besides, I've already explained that optimization is too complex a subject to be able to just publish advice and hints, as that would be irresponsible. If someone is actually intent and stupid enough to try to optimise their own site, then they should keep away from all the rubbish advice on forums, sit down in front of their computer and spend the next six months researching the algorithmic formulas, by repeating similar search terms. If they have the right type of brain, they should start to see a pattern emerging, providing the algorithm doesn't change in the meantime. You have to be able to spot this or go mad. None of the top optimization companies are going to share trade secrets if they discover a new process that gets results. That would be like telling people the winning numbers on the lottery if you new what they were. All professional search engine optimization companies are in competition with each other and keep their cards very close to their chests.
Q. Can any website be optimized so that it gains top rankings on Google?
A. The simple answer to that is no. The more complex answer is yes if there is a budget for a complete rebuild and development. Most websites are not built for the search engines and/or considered too small and therefore passed over by the search engines for the more competitive searches. These websites are normally low grade sites built by budget website designers and a waste of money. In cases like this, it is normally more economic to discard the whole thing and start again.
Q. How do you start to optimize a website?
A. I normally spend about 10/12 hours researching the subject through the search engines and when my forehead starts to bleed, I know I am ready. There are a number of stages to go through before touching the site in question. The first is to find out as much about the clients business and ambitions for the website. Their product or services, their client demographics, information about related businesses and business connections and what they are really expecting their website to achieve. The next stage is to research their competition by doing related searches on the search engines. Which websites do well, how much traffic they get, their linking strategies, content, any optimization they have had done, are they networked, are they using cluster pages, parked systems, partitioned content and any more of hundreds of optimization techniques. The research alone will normally take 16 to 24 hours depending on the project.
Q. Is it important to do all this research?
A. No of course not. I just like to waste my time. Of course it is. Tell me about any competitive job where you don't have to know about your competition. The search engines are like league tables. You have to know your competition; you have to know how they achieve their results before setting out your own game plan. Search engine optimization companies who claim that they can get a website into the top ten of Google without doing this research are the people who give our industry a bad name. How can you possibly do any job without knowing what your competition is capable of?
Q. Then what happens?
A. We then prepare a quote with full specifications in plain English laying out what we will be doing to the site and telling the client what we will require from them by way of content.
Q. Do you provide any guarantees?
A. We don't guarantee top ten rankings on Google if that's what you mean. But as we do not make any up front charges for our services, preferring to invoice clients once we have achieved the agreed results, we guarantee we will continue working on the optimization until we have succeeded. Not getting paid until we have succeeded is a major incentive to us. Search engine optimization is not the same as designing and building a website where you can see an immediate end product. Search engine optimization takes time and we are confident in our abilities to achieve results. I would caution anyone against paying any money up front, even if the optimization company concerned is offering a money back guarantee. Try getting your money back and you will see what I mean. Optimizers who know their job don't need to charge up front.
Q. How long does it take for a client to start to see results?
A. As quick as damned possible so that we get paid but usually within ten to fourteen days of the optimization work being completed is the norm. If we are not seeing top ten rankings on Google within this time frame, it is normally because we have missed something, got the math wrong or got something mixed up. It can happen, in which case we revisit the project and restructure the optimization. This, however is a rarity and I can't remember the last time we had to do this.
If you are looking for advice on optimizing a website where Google and other search engines have less than a million pages indexed for searches related to your business, sometimes a few well chosen keywords and meta tags will suffice, providing you have enough related content.
If on the other hand Google has indexed over 10 million pages, forget the thought of doing this yourself. You need to employ the best search engine optimizers.
Search engine optimization and website design combined can turn a poor performing website into a high performance money earning business.