Websites fall into two categories: Those that can be found and those that can’t.

If your business needs a website that can be found by potential customers then you need something called SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

But what does this mean and why is it so important?

Finally, what does it typically cost to have your website optimised?

These are very important questions, especially when you consider these facts:

  1. More people “Google” than ever before and less people use the likes of the Golden Pages
  2. In 2007 there were approximately 444 Billion web searches globally
  3. If you rely on potential customers finding you and you are not on page 1 of the search results, then you are losing approximately 97% of all clicks. In other words, only 3% of people click onto page 2!
  4. Positions 1 to 3 get a massive 63% of clicks, with position 1 getting 42% of those!

Do You Have A Brochure-ware Website?

A non-optimised website is known in the industry as a “Brochure-ware” site. It simply means that your website acts like a brochure and is only seen when someone types the actual name of your company or the domain name of your website into their browser. This is fine if your primary marketing approach is based on offline activities like print advertising or leaflet drops, or on other forms of online advertising such as Google Adwords. Using these approaches, you are relying on people seeing and remembering your company name or website address and then visiting it when required. However, a brochure-ware site will not show up when someone types in a generic search term related to a product or service and so you may be missing out a great sales opportunity.

What Is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation is the technique (some even say art) of making a website more visible for specific searches. Let’s imagine that you sell rocking chairs, and your website is optimised for the search term “Rocking Chair Shops”. When someone types that search term in then your site will appear somewhere on page 1. Where it appears will depend on the other competition for that search term and how well the site is optimised.

How Do You Optimise A Website?

There are 3 parts to optimising a website:

  1. Optimised Design & Code
    The design of your site and the code behind it should be created in a way as to be as accessible as possible by the search-engines.
  2. Optimised Content
    Optimising the content is called “On-Page” optimisation. It starts by determining what people are typing in to find sites that provide what your company provides and a web company will use a number of tools to determine this. These search terms are then used throughout your site content to match each page to the relevant search terms.
  3. Create Back-Links
    Creating links into your website is an excellent way of increasing your websites importance in the eyes of search engines and this is known as “off-page” optimisation. But be careful to only create quality links back to your site and this means staying away from “link farms” and other sites that are simply a collection of random links, as this can actually harm rather than help your optimisation efforts.

In most cases companies opt for parts 1 and 2, which can be very effective, while very few companies implement successful off-page optimisation programs.

How Much Does Optimisation Cost?

If you are looking into having a website designed, then you need to have 2 budgets in mind, one for the design, implementation and hosting and another, where required, for SEO. How much you spend on SEO is determined by how important it is to find clients online and have your website act as an online sales person for your business. If it’s not at all important, then you may not spend anything on SEO, but if it is very important then you will spend at least as much, if not more, on SEO as you did on the site design itself. So if you spend €2,500 on your website, then expect to pay the same again for SEO.

Yes, it is expensive, but consider this. If you could gain just 5 new customers each quarter and each customer spent €2,000, then you would generate €10,000 more business each quarter (€40,000 extra per year). €2,500 once-off spend on SEO doesn’t seem so expensive now does it? You need to do this calculation and work out the return on investment for yourself before moving ahead with any SEO project.

A well designed and optimised website can make a huge difference to your business and you literally cannot put a price on success, so before you create your website, choose your web company carefully and make sure they truly understand SEO.

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