Search Engine Optimisation – An Overview

By Chris on August 25, 2010 in Web Design Snippets

As with all websites it needs to be stressed that new websites do not automatically appear in Google instantly for various search terms. Google actually needs to ‘crawl’ the site a few times to add it. I think for my sites it normally takes a couple of weeks for them to show up in searches with the name of the site at all, and then a bit of time for them after that to start showing up in the searches in the related subjects.

Often people with new sites call the very next day after launch it saying something like ‘I’ve been doing some Google searches and my sites not appearing at all?’ This is perfectly normal.

Google likes finding new sites by discovering the site itself. If you have a link to your new site from an existing website (which is already in the search engine), Google will follow that link and ‘discover’ your site. From here it will investigate all of the pages and content and add the site to its directory. Sometimes it can take a day, sometimes a week, sometimes a month, but if the website is brand new out there without any links to it then it is unlikely that you will find it within any search engines very quickly.

The Google algorithm is based around 2 things, the easy bit which is on-site optimisation and the hard bit which is link-building. Anybody can optimise a website but in most industries link-building is 90% of the algorithm. Google looks for natural link growth over time, tends to be biased towards informational resources, trusts old websites, and link quality is far more important than quantity.

Appearing in Google for subject search terms takes a while if the site is not optimised well i.e a sustained campaign of SEO involving:

‘Internal Optimisation’
1. Keyword Analysis (with Google keyword tool) – find out what people are looking for (
2. Technical Optimisation – put Page titles, Meta tags, Sitemap, Logical internal links, Headline tags, image names, alt tags, headline tags, bold and emphasised words all in the right place. (if you have a WordPress blog don’t worry about this too much, just remember to set the permalinks to the name of the article rather than the default )
3. Put a decent amount of information on chosen subject (about 300 words – first 100 words being the most important). If you have a blog – write articles! You can’t fool Google. Google knows how much info is on your site and won’t lead people there if it thinks they are not going to be greeted with a wealth of information about the entered search term. Hand on heart – if you entered your chosen search term in Google and arrived at your site, would you be happy with the level of readable information available? If not, get writing.

Internal optimisation is also about identifying and fixing elements on the page that are Google unfriendly. It just so happens this is pretty much everything that is user unfriendly too. Such as the old ‘enter here’ pages, flash animation, text as graphics and using framesets to assemble pages. All these things are bad habits of yesteryear and should be banished from your website as they only serve to hinder search engines and there are many alternative ways to achive the same effects by using clean accessible methods.

‘External Optimisation’
1. Listing the website with search engines (such as dmoz)
2. LIsting the website on industry directories (such as CreativeMatch)
3. Linking them to other websites for these all-important precious inbound links.  (this is where the hard work is: researching quality link sources and phoning/emailing hundreds of link prospects in the hope of converting some into live links.
4. Consider purchasing links from web sites with a high page rank – going via Text-Link-Ads is the main way to do this.
5. Competitor analysis – where has your main competitor got his links from? you need those too.

Optimistion is basically a large task of making it clear to Google / Yahoo etc. that the site is very popular online and therefore it must be giving people what they want. In short search engines judge whether a site is worthy of ranking by how popular it is i.e. Scanning content, page descriptions, code and comparing this with inbound links which are effectively votes of confidence by other websites. You also need to ideally create an analytics account to keep track of numbers and get reports on how well the site can be seen.

Until this is done it is merely ‘registered’ which means that it will appear somewhere in the results.


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