You've built a great website for your business and are waiting for the visitors to come. Your return on investment research shows that if you get X number of visitors to your site this will lead to Y new clients or sales. You put the garage on standby to deliver your dream car.
You wait and wait and wait.... Some visitors do come to your site but only in small numbers. The feedback is positive from everyone who does visit, the visitors to sales ratio figures are in line with the forecasts but the volume of visitors you need to hit your sales targets remains elusive. Why?
Your designers have put in a lot of effort. The site looks good and is easy to navigate, but is it search engine friendly? Can you be found in the major search engines?
Up to 78% of all website activity in the UK comes from the search engine Google, and over 98% of people give up after the first 3 pages of results, so you should check to see if you're listed on the first 3 pages of this engine and with over 8 billion pages in Google at present, the competition can be fierce.
One of the things to check include the images on the site. They all have 'alt' values, don't they? Check by hovering the mouse over the picture, is a description displayed? Search engines cannot read images, they rely on the alt value to tell them what the picture is about. Likewise Flash movies and Frames are difficult for the search engines to read. This would also make your website accessible to many more human visitors (including those that have images turned off and those that use talking browsers).
Is the wording 'search engine friendly'? Do you even mention the words that people would use to search for your site on the web page? How will the search engines know that your site is about widgets if the page doesn't say so? When thinking about the wording bear in mind that you may be trying to attract visitors with a wide range of knowledge about your product, from those that know that they are looking for widgets to those people that know that they want a blue, 18mm, left handed thread, widget. Does your site cater for all these visitors ?
All these things can be built into the site given time & experience but you need to know what you are doing - its not just a case of adding 'Meta tags', the majority of search engines pay no attention to these tags nowadays.
Of course, if you feel brave and can spare the time from running your business you can learn the current rules and hope that they do not change. Alternatively, you could use a professional search engine positioning company like Hiperactive.Net (http://www.hiperactive.net) to get your site to the top of the search engines.
More details of the search engine positioning services provided by Hiperactive are available from their website or by telephone on +44 (0)1733 555555.
About The Author
John has been designing websites since 1996 and specialises in sites for the smaller business.