planning your search engine optimisation
To get the most from optimising your website it worth spending a few moments planning your attack . . .
Is your market overcrowded?
You need to be realistic from the outset about how likely it is to get to number 1 in a crowded market. 'Hairdressing' is a crowded market - to try to get to the top of search engines in the UK is almost impossible and to some degree unnecessary. OK, someone has to be there so why not you? As an independent shop you are up against the most famous names who have websites with thousands of inbound links. You're also up against specialist industry directories full of hairdressers and hair-related content.
Think local - dominate one part of the market
The answer is to think 'local' and build up from there. Be specific about the location of your business and aim to me number 1 in your area - so you might optimise your site for 'Hairdressers in Surrey, UK and Auckland, New Zealand'. It's not unreasonable to achieve the top slot for this geographical emphasis. Once you get this more sites will link to you, more visitors will come and Google will be happy that your website deserves the ranking.
Most businesses rely on word of mouth and reputation. Your customers sell you best. SEO in most cases is about kick-starting your business and thereafter making sure your are easy to find when someone recommends you.
You also need to consider what is different about your business in relation to search terms. Your hairdressing salon may offer the best free coffee and biscuits but these are not search terms. However, using the latest names for styles of haircuts, or emphasising your special skills and facilities for children may matter. You already know what your customers want and like so we have to translate that knowledge into your website.
But our business has no geographic location, or needs to supply nationally . . .
The same rules apply - you need to identify what is different about your business, even if its only in SEO terms. You may have many products and services but maybe you can focus on just a few? For example - you sell rebuilt engines for classic cars. MGBs might be the biggest market however, there will be more competition as there are more suppliers. So maybe you should concentrate on the engines for vehicles less catered for. Thus customers find you, owners' clubs link to you and you benefit from lots of inbound links. Google likes this and up you go for the term 'classic car engine suppliers'. Also, your good reputation spreads and with that more MGB customers should come to your site. These are broad examples but they do illustrate the type of creative thinking involved. Sometimes its best not to go at a market head-on.
What do we need to do after the site is launched?
The best thing you can do is keep the content fresh - the old saying 'content is king' still applies. In the design stage its good to set aside an area on your homepage that can keep changing with news etc. There should always be an area with links to news, new products or services on your site so that any changes are quickly picked up. Many site owners struggle to keep content fresh but for local businesses who fill a niche this does not always damage the site's ranking. You do not really need to keep changing keywords unless you need to keep up with constantly new technical terms. One of the most profitable things you can do with your new website is get as many good quality sites as possible to link to it.