Face it! 80% of your web traffic will come via the search engines. Google is the
major player (80% in UK), and with Yahoo and Bing, covers 98% of UK searches. The
other 1000’s of engines don’t figure. Believe me.
Since it’s a Google game, from the start your site should be constructed to be as
attractive as possible. A perfect SE homepage, would be all text (about 300 words)
plus a small graphic, and boring text links. Note some text on sites - the fancier
stuff - is actually a graphic. Check. Put the mouse over this text. A vertical line
shows it is ‘proper text’. Put it over the logo text at the top of this page and
you’ll see it’s a graphic. See a graphic-based homepage done as an example for this
site. It was mostly invisible to Google, and only saved by the text at the bottom.
Using our site as an example, say ‘restaurant’ and website’ are some of my chosen
popular SE words. I should put those keywords in the text as much as possible. Within
reason - do not over-stuff!
Remembering that ‘web site’ too should be in there as an alternative spelling. Also,
the page names, titles, headings, description, alt and title tags (ignore if this
gets too techie!) should basically be full of ‘website, design, web site’. Not over-stuffed
or the SE folk will smell a rat.
The search engines run programs called ‘spiders’ who race from link to link, from
site to site, around the net looking and checking. They do like you better if other
sites - preferably big quality sites - link to yours. But that takes considerable
time - talk to people you do business with, tourist boards, etc. Delay also helps
them sell you ‘sponsored links’ which Google calls ‘Adwords’. You set a max. amount
you pay and depending on your bid, will appear either at the side of page one results,
or best, at the top. When a punter clicks your link you pay. Simple, and very cost
effective. I reckon it is essential in the early days! But only long term if it really
works for you, i.e. brings you business. One customer of mine spends a lot regularly,
even though his organic listings are excellent. He just wants maximum exposure. And
it has made him number two in his business sector in under five years. Usually about
£40 to set up.