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Improve Website Results



Improve Website Results

Basic principles to improve website results
If your site fails validation
Better results for Flash websites
How to improve website results for new websites
How to get links
How to increase website income for established websites
How to fix bad SEO results
How to fix poor website results


Basic principles to improve website results

How can you best improve your website results, and increase website income? There are some principles you need to follow, and we set them out here. After this, we'll look at specific situations.

1. Get an expert to oversee your web business

If you aren't an expert in this area, find one. If your central heating packs up you find the right contractor to fix it - you don't try and fix it yourself. You might even find that simple advice on how to improve your website results is free.

2. Ensure your website is built to modern standards

It's very easy to check this at a basic level. Just go to the W3C validator at:

...and enter your domain name in the box. If it passes with the green icon and congrats, this is a very good sign that your website has been built by someone who knew what they were doing. Although this doesn't check everything, it shows correct practice, attention to detail, a knowledge of modern methods, and knowledge of web standards. It is a very good pointer to good website design and build. It's the first step to improve results.

If it fails, see just below, at: If your site fails validation.

The best route to increase website income is by using a modern, standards-compliant web application such as a CMS. You will get better results faster and cheaper than if you try to use an obsolete, faulty website. Unfortunately many brand new websites are essentially worthless, as the builders have no idea about validation, legal compliance or standards compliance; and therefore their new sites are faulty in many ways. A pretty website can be utterly useless for a commercial campaign - it must provably be of high quality.

3. There are only two known ways to increase website income: by SEO or by advertising

You have to use one or the other (or both of course) if you want your web property to deliver. Marketing methods work well, naturally - but first you need traffic. You can't market a product or service if you have no visitors who are likely to be interested in what you do. It follows that the most efficient way to improve website results is via SEO.

4. Don't accept excuses

If you are theoretically receiving support and guidance from a 3rd party in these areas - online advice and/or SEO - but the website results are still poor, then don't accept excuses. The consultant's job is to improve your website earnings, so if that isn't happening, for heaven's sake find someone who can do the job. Only the results count, excuses don't. If they cannot improve website results for you, go elsewhere.

These are the four simple, main principles. If you have a commercial website - one that promotes a product or service in some way, and exists in order to earn money - then this is where you start.

If your site fails validation

If it fails with up to 5 errors, then in all probability it is built on a good framework, which may have validated 100% at the beginning, but some errors crept in during the final work. It only needs a little work, and that might even be ignored at this stage.

If it fails with 20 errors or so, your site needs some remedial work by someone who can guarantee modern web standards-compliant website work. There is a simple way to check this: web designers all show portfolio sites because they have a big throughput, their work is not confidential, and they can easily choose some good examples to show off. Check their sites - if none pass validation you don't really have to look any further. Walk away.

If your site fails with a lot of errors (many brand new sites are now failing with 50 to 100 errors per page for example), it shows that whoever built your site probably hasn't a clue. The site may look great, but that's the easy bit, any designer can do that.

The correct way is to build according to the accepted standards, rules, and regulations. It's the same as house building, the contractor has a duty to build it according to the regulations. Yours didn't. It may never get the results you need, because everyone who needs to know (like the search engines) can see it is shoddily-built and faulty throughout. You might also find that you have legal issues with the site, as this type of website builder has never heard of the fact your site has to comply with the law. Both the UK and the USA have laws that cover commercial websites.

Step #1 to improve website results is to use a website with pages that validate at the W3C. There are no known excuses here as it is the first, the most basic, and the simplest task any web developer has - to just simply write acceptable code. You can be sure if they can't do this, there will be other problems, perhaps more serious.

Better results for Flash websites

Flash-based websites are an interesting case. In a way, they typify the general situation in website design today - appearance prioritised over everything else including commercial reality. This is because they often look terrific, but are a commercial disaster since search engines can't read the content and therefore ignore them.

Luckily there is now a solution - we have developed a new system to obtain good organic search results with a Flash-based website. There have been various workarounds that had varying results, at varying costs, but our method provides a very solid basis for search results that is 100% ethical and at a reasonable cost.

Improving website results for new websites

A new site needs several things to get it off the ground successfully. First you need a modern standards-compliant website, that passes W3C validation at least as the first measure. If you don't have that it's like building on mud - you're wasting your time. It will cost you far more and take you much longer to get the results you want. Why settle for being ripped off?

A new website now has to pass validation or it hasn't even passed the first step of qualifying as a website. It's easy enough to get code right. If you pay someone to build a wall, you figure they're going to build it in a straight line, yes? Why pay someone to build a wall that's wonky and leans over? Don't accept a poor-quality website or you'll always regret it. It costs no more to build it right the first time, but you need a web designer who has heard of web standards and legal obligations. Many haven't.

Actually there is a simple route to getting a correctly-built website: use a modern standards-compliant CMS. They validate 100% out of the box, and all the other bits and bobs that are so hard for web designers to get right are all taken care of. If you only ever follow one piece of web business advice - follow this. You'll never regret it.

Next you'll need good content and links. Without either of these you won't get far.

You'll need plenty of advice on how to write your content and set up your site. Plus what to pay for advertising, and how to ensure your site visitors either buy from you or see your site as a top-class brochure for your offline business.

Sites need a lot of links in order that the search engines rank them well and send them traffic. You can have valuable, unique content but without links you'll get no traffic, as search engines rank you according to your link equity - the number and quality of your links. They figure if no one links to your site, it can't be of any value.

You don't need huge numbers of links, because quality content and clean site code will put you in front of those with more links but poor code and weak content - though you'll need a good basic number. We advise you to go out and get 100 to start with - that will give you a place to work from.

How to get links

Everywhere your website name appears on the Net with a built-in link to your site is good, it doesn't matter where as long as it is not a bad neighbourhood. Ask other sites to link to you, and place your site URL in web directories. Write articles on your topic and have them distributed. Participate in forums within your space, and make sure to have a discreet signature link. You need links in order to improve website results, so work hard to get them. It's vital, so devote the time to creating good content and getting people to link to it.

The quick way to sort most of these issues out is to hire an expert. It can be surprisingly cheap, considering that whatever you pay them will be returned many times over. In fact of course it's free, when you think about it. An expert on all these matters is called an SEO (search engine optimising) consultant. You just have to find the right one. If your site is in the top half of page 1 of the search results, you chose well. If your site is still on page 2 after a year, they should maybe try another occupation.

Improving results for established websites

Well-established sites will have good content and links. Yes? In many cases the answer is no - so that gives you a place to start.

If you have 200 pages of text on your subject, each 1,000 words long, and 500 links, but your search positions are still poor, then you certainly have a problem to fix. Given you have strong content and good links, but the search results are still bad, it looks as if you have the sort of problem you'll need expert help to fix.

If you don't have much content and/or many links, the solution is simple: get some.

If you hired an expert but the problem didn't get fixed (assuming you did exactly what they suggested - surprisingly, many don't), then you need another expert.

There is a useful guide to SEO providers' competence here: if you have plenty of links already, but other site problems perhaps including lack of text content, then within two months of contracting someone to help you, you'll see results improving markedly. If that doesn't happen you should try another approach. If you don't have any links, it can take many months to get you moving up safely.

How to Fix Bad SEO Results

If someone is handling these matters for you but the results aren't good, then you have to cut deep and walk away. Why accept excuses? There are are lots of journeyman SEO people who can fix you the basics, and will do just fine in the average market area; but it's tough to win out over strong competitors.

Also, everybody advertises for SEO these days. Web designers, online agencies, web developers - all advertise SEO services. They have to, or you might go to someone else. But you need to realise that there are a vast number of such providers, but many fewer among these online contractors who do SEO well. The obvious conclusion is that many of these agencies don't have people who really know SEO. Unless the results are obvious and proven, you should perhaps look elsewhere. It only takes a maximum of three months for website results to improve, if you have an established website with plenty of links and you do exactly what they say. An established site with few links can take a bit longer to fix, up to six months in some cases.

Keep well clear of people who advertise that they do search engine submission - and especially if they say that they will "submit your website to hundreds (or even thousands) of search engines". They either haven't a clue, or are out to rip you. No experienced or ethical SEO people do this, as (a) it doesn't work; (b) it hasn't worked for at least 8 years; (c) there are hundreds of better ways of getting results; (d) it's basically a useless and costly waste of time; (e) we never heard of a real SEO agency that does this; (f) we haven't done this in the last 8 years and your brand-new site will still be indexed rapidly.

SEO firms are a good choice if you can find one that can deliver within your budget, and who can guarantee a safe long-term solution. Otherwise, have your online agency vet them, as it's their job.

Ask yourself: am I on page 1 of the search results? If the answer is no, then the conclusion is obvious. Agencies make up for it by getting you traffic from PPC adverts. This is an expensive and inefficient way to get customers if the entire budget is spent on it - there needs to be a balanced approach.

Small to medium-size websites

Most small to medium-size sites are managed by the owner. In the case of an owner-operated site, your SEO people should be able to put you at the top of the results in some market areas, with a low budget. That's what they do. Smaller local sites don't have to spend a lot here. In addition, your SEO people will work to make sure you get the sales you should, from the traffic they create - search optimising is the complete process of getting qualified traffic and then converting those visitors into buyers. Don't make the mistake of hiring people who just get traffic, since that is - obviously - only half of the process, and the easy half at that.

Larger commercial websites

Larger enterprise-owned sites are often managed by agencies. These agencies almost always have some form of marketing built in, so that you can order advertising or SEO services. Advertising is expensive, all of the time. SEO is expensive in the short term, then gets very much cheaper, and may not even be needed for long periods. And SEO always gets better results because it attacks the problem from several different angles: it gets more people to your site who are interested in what you do, it improves the site so you convert better, and it reinforces your brand. Organic SEO is an order of magnitude more efficient than advertising.

However, that's assuming your people know what they're doing. Easy to see: you'll be in the top half of your chosen search engine's results for all your products; and your web income is rising by a very large percentage year by year. If this doesn't apply, sack them and get someone who can deliver. SEO is not magic, it's a complex technical and marketing process. Lots of people can do it - you just need to find an SEO company that delivers, using ethical methods only, within your budget. Why accept excuses?

You have another option: stay with your current management agency and ask them to get someone in who can put you at the top of the search results. This is called Sub-Contract SEO. Just search Google for "sub contract seo", there are plenty of firms who can help. We are probably somewhere near the top for that term, as we have a lot of background here.

We specialise in this option for agencies in the UK and USA. We put agency clients at the top of the results, in a safe and responsible manner, and always look to the long term. Our job is to increase website income. We prefer to leave sites with the current web management agency because we like to work with partners; and if they are sensible enough to realise they need help on the SEO front, they are ahead of the game. Note that this is a confidential and discreet service.

There are a lot of web management agencies out there giving their clients excuses.

Large corporate websites

These are normally run in-house. They often operate in tough market areas, but have the budget to match. Corporate web managers should ask themselves the simple question, "Is our site at the top of the search results?" If the answer is no, you know what to do. The excuses you will be receiving are no doubt extremely plausible, since the less competent need to be highly skilled with excuses.

There again, maybe you are getting good results in most (but not all) areas, but the cost is killing you. Maybe you should go shopping. Ask for detail quotes from consultants who both guarantee to improve website results and guarantee the ethical nature of their services - and can prove it.

How to fix poor website results

You should be able to figure that out by now. Stop accepting excuses and find someone who can deliver. Ask for a guarantee of some kind - for example, a money-back guarantee if it doesn't work. Fair enough?

Your contractor must be able to improve website results and increase website income dramatically - or give them the chop. You also need to be very worried if results suddenly drop at around the six-month mark or later. It means they might have used unethical methods or 'seo cheap tricks'; these can work for a short while, then either fail to get results any longer or even attract a search penalty. Unfortunately, such 'grey-hat' SEO methods seem to be becoming an accepted part of corporate-level SEO, and are seen more and more often now.

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Check out the page on how to increase website income. It also discusses the role website statistics has in this process.

Web Business Managers