A Tangled Web – The Hide And Seek Of Search Engine Rankings

It may seem an elementary point but all too many organisations still fail to view their web sites through the eyes of their potential customers. We’re not talking here about in-depth analysis or years of data gathering, just simply logical thinking of how you’d go about the same process if you were looking for your own services or products.

Lets look at a little example. Say we are wanting to find hotels in Cornwall, for instance, then searching for ‘hotels’ would be pretty absurd…. putting it lightly. The 425 million results would take a lifetime to sift. To most people it’s obvious that refining the search term would be a reasonable thing to do. So a little more focused is the term ‘hotels in cornwall ‘, and would you believe it, now we have just 1.3 million results. With some more refining we can pin down an array of hotels within our required location. Whilst on the issue of searching for hotels, why not try seo Cornwall. a neat little – no frills website which will save you hours of ‘Googling’. Anyway, the point being, anyone using a search engine to it’s full potential will try possibly numerous combinations of keywords to find what they want. Hopefully it goes without saying then, that Cornwall (location) will not always be the key factor. Instead this could be anything from price to services to products to model number…..to….well anything and any combination. The combination of words (phrase) being the all-important factor.

Another common mistake is making assumptions of the type of keywords organisations think their web site should be listed under in search engines. Coming up with a set of keywords to test out may be perfectly valid, but have they ever thought about using the same keywords somewhere in their website? Often organisations will have someone in a back office somewhere, who’ll take it upon themselves to test out a huge range of keywords in one of the popular search engines. This can result in a dangerous blitz of e-mails and reports to higher management, suggesting the reason for sluggish web sales is the poor performance in Google for their latest keyword dream list. The fault often rests in the fact that the website in question has no content, meta tags, links or references whatsoever to the keywords under test. So how do they expect to get hits from a bunch of keywords no one ever thought to feature in their website? The clear answer is to build pages you feel have relevance to your industry or market and stop testing for stuff you’ve not covered in your website. Indeed anyone who concocts their ideal search engine test list shouldn’t expect to see high rankings unless they applied the same thinking when last adding site content etc.

We need to remember that many people searching the web today are relative newcomers. The obvious set of search terms are not necessarily the set others will be using. Many organisations test out a limited number of terms every so often, assuming this is some sort of measure of how they shape up. What they miss are the search terms that lead directly to their competitor. Going back to the hotel example, it may be that ‘cheap cornwall bed and breakfast’ is a winner for the hotel down the road. Better still the hotel that thought to list local visitor attractions such as the Eden Project, ie ‘hotels near cornwall eden project’.

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