This is a guest post from London based translation company, Languages7.
So you’re starting a new website? Abroad or at home? How lovely. The gestation period, from first tentative steps to Tsar of Cyberspace could easily take a year. Unless you fail first.
Fortunately, there is a wealth of online marketing wisdom at your fingertips which, with proper application and sheer hard work, can yield impressive results. From AdWords to CSS, there are ways to woo Google and, if not ensure, at least help your website get seen and appreciated.
From the outset you cannot overstate the importance of Google. It commands 65 percent of the US search engine market and 90 percent of the European market. Put plainly, when you set up the most important feature is your Google ranking. Experts will tell you that some of its criteria are well known (like external linking) and some part of the algorithm is secret. And the implication is that the internet monolith has a lot of control over any fledgling business.
To conquer the cyber giant and get the footfall that you require there are various issues you will have to think about, here are a few of them:
The world is a village, and we do business on its many streets all the time. But some of those streets have their own way of doing things and you, wanting to launch your website in different countries, cannot afford to adopt a ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy. It’s important for the domain to be hosted on a server in the country you target. As obvious as this may seem, this is the kind of research that lays the foundation for future success.
Any contact with the internet and computers involves jargon, and some you cannot avoid. The principles of METAS are, however, essential to your purpose and must be understood. In short, Google or Yahoo! or any other search engine find your website and bring web users to it because of certain elements in your website. These are METAS.
METAS are tags inserted into the plain old HTML text of your website. An SEO campaign is in fact a process of Search Engine Optimization, that moves your website further up the ladder when people do a Google search on the product you offer. One component of them is Keywords. These are words that, in theory, will bring Google’s little seekers (called spiders) to you when someone-somewhere looks for the words that you have and they want.
Keywords have now devalued so much that some even doubt whether they work at all. This is due to unscrupulous webmasters who word-stuff their sites, to draw undeserved attention to them. Of more use now are title tags and description tags.
It can take a long time for your website to become established, as search engines need to trust you. It can take about 4-6 months before they do start to trust you and to bring your name up.”
This is a long time for any business to wait, and you may wonder if there is a way of speeding the process up. Enter the AdWord. These are high profile words that Google auctions. Every time someone clicks on a word you have bought, you pay Google for the advertising. This has of course led to rival companies clicking on one another’s AdWords, to increase their competitors’ bills. But there are now sophisticated ways of tracking this and if caught culprits are barred from Google. A very serious sanction in today’s online world.
AdWords are an expensive way to bring attention to yourself and if you want to raise your profile using them you must budget accordingly.
Organic traffic is infinitely preferable. AdWords do no more than artificially raise your profile, and once you have got people coming to your website because they heard it was good you can abandon this expensive marketing ploy. For you now have a sustainable audience.
You can also make deals with other websites, whereby web users can be drawn to your site from theirs. This should be a higher profile one and it also counts as the desired ‘organic traffic.’
Last but not least. While your website’s text is written in HTML the fancy design parts are usually CSS (Cascade Style Sheets). Everything that draws the human eye to your glittering prose is embedded in the CSS. It also simplifies the HTML and makes it easier for the spiders to read. If your website is structured in an organised manner, with no unnecessary HTML code then web spiders will be able to read and understand your site more easily. It can be a major factor in improving your search engine ranking.
So there you have it.
A successful SEO campaign can make or break your company. It is not an easy path to tread, nor is it a short one. Your campaign has truly been successful when you go to the Google tool bar and see your website rated somewhere between 0 and 3. 5 is the stuff that dreams are made of and 10 is reserved for the big boys. It is all about how you play the game. Follow the advice of a reputable consultant and if you play by Google’s rules you’ll do good.