Search engine optimisation (SEO)

What is SEO?

When searching for information online, most people turn to search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing. Social media could help bring some users to your website, though not as many as you might expect, as the credibility of postings on social networks may not be great in view of many users. Email newsletter campaigns are the best for attracting visitors back to your website - but usually only after they have already discovered your website. Even if driving traffic to your pages isn't your primary concern, enabling search engine bots to find and index your website properly is important.

The average user is not likely to go past the first page of search results. In fact, most will click only the first few links so long as those search results contain decent information scent (which is to say, if the links look like they lead to information the user wants). To attract traffic, your website needs to pop up high up on the first page for certain search phrases. This is what SEO is all about - tweaking stuff on-page and off-page to get top ranking in the search results.

On-page SEO is everything that can be done on the website itself to help search engines make sense of it and recommend its pages in search results. We'll make sure to use certain keywords where appropriate, adjust titles and headings, and create a navigation that makes sense to both your human visitors and search engine robots.

Off-page SEO is all about having other websites (especially those with good rankings) link back to your website. The more good websites link to your website, the better it looks to search engines.

What do and don't we do in terms of SEO?

We do basic on-page SEO. We don't do off-page and in-depth on-page SEO.
Simply put, our job is to create your website and, if you want us to, advise on strategy afterwards; planning, statistics and tracking are not what we do.

If your website is online long enough, if it attracts attention and provides good content to your visitors, you might not need more than what we do. If you do need more, you'll need to get a specialised SEO team involved. If you're unsure, you can have us build your website, give it a couple of months to see how it performs, and then decide if you should hire some additional help.

What do you get from SEO?

In general, from SEO you'll get more visitors, and higher conversion rates (website visits that turn into actual leads or purchases). For an e-commerce website, it'll mean more sales. If you're a service-oriented business, there'll be more phone calls and email inquiries. If you're running a website that just needs to spread a word about something important, it'll mean more attention from people who are interested in it.

What should you look for in a SEO provider?

Many of our clients want to look for someone to help them with their SEO strategy after we create their website, but aren't sure what to look for exactly. Here's what we think on the matter: a good SEO offer will contain realistic goals, a reasonable timeline, and ways to measure what was achieved.

They won't be able to make any promises; because search engines use complex, constantly changing algorithms to rank websites, and because these algorithms are not disclosed to general public, their results are somewhat unpredictable. So be careful of those who promise certainty in a short period of time, especially for highly sought-after words in competetive segments; there's a good chance they are either not being honest, or don't know what they're doing. We don't know of any SEO firm that has a 'special agreement with Google', and Google's paid advert program(AdWords) is NOT organic SEO. If a SEO offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

That said, search engines do offer insight into which optimisation techniques are fair. A reliable SEO provider will be able to create a plan based on search engines' guidelines and their own experience; they will track the progress and create reports you will be able to understand. You should be able to learn how your website ranks before they've started working; you should be able to monitor how things change for each important keyword phrase over time. They'll also report on the link-building process, concentrating not only on high volume of backlinks but also on quality of backlinks. Using contact form scripts, dedicated email addresses and call-tracking phone numbers, they'll be able to measure conversion rates. You may not need to understand every detail about what they will do, but they should be able to offer very understandable numbers that measure their contribution.

What do we need from you for basic on-page SEO?

Let's say you've decided you don't need a very advanced level of optimisation, at least for the time being. You just want to build a website right and see what you can achieve with it. What would we need from you to help us do it well?