andrew green
search engine optimisation (SEO) consultant
search engine optimisation (dorset)

search engine optimisation (dorset)
the business-oriented web marketing solution for your business

"... excited about the results! That we are number one on Google for 'natural toys' and ahead of the american companies selling similar stuff to us is amazing... you must be a genius!"
    Richard Parks, of Myriad Natural Toys

"Andrew provided a fast, effective and efficient service which rapidly raised the profile of my website and resulted in a fourfold increase in new business from the internet."
    Sue Branch, Acupuncturist

Download my Top Ten Search Engine Optimisation tips featured on BBC Radio Solent!
click here to download (PDF document, opening in a new window/tab)

A bit of history about search engines and search engine optimisation (SEO)

Ten years ago, it was pretty easy to get high rankings on search engines: stuff your page full of keywords, submit your site and there you go ... until someone else did the same. And, basically, that was the state of search engine optimisation (SEO) in those early days!

Andrew Green - click here to email me! It didn't take long for the search engine companies to realise that, since they would only get people using their sites if they delivered good results, it was useless serving up results which bore no relation to the search which had been done.

So they started developing increasingly complex sets of rules ('algorithms'), in order to attempt to determine whether a page was relevant to a given search. These search algorithms now can contain more than 100 different tests on the page content, title, description, keywords, links, etc, etc.

The response from web designers and SEO consultants trying to use search engine optimisation was to adopt various techniques to convince the search engines into thinking that their sites were relevant. The most popular so-called 'search engine optimisation' technique was to avoid altering the visible page text, but include keywords in tiny, unreadable fonts - like this: keyword or making them invisible, by putting them in the same colour as the background colour (eg white text on a white background).

It didn't take long before the search engine designers included tests to check for this. Typically, if your - supposedly 'optimised' - site was found to be using these techniques, it would be placed far down in the rankings, or even removed from the search index completely. So much for search engine optimisation, you might say!

As time has gone on, every search engine has utilised increasingly complex technology - all with the intention of delivering the most relevant results for their visitors. In particular, they now attempt to replicate what a human visitor would look at on a page to determine whether it is relevant and appropriate to his or her search. And search engine optimisation (SEO) has become increasingly difficult, as we attempt to 'second guess' what a search engine is looking for ...

What most people think about search engine ranking and search engine optimisation

So, is there anything you can do to get your site high up on the results - even on page 1?

I've heard many, many fallacies about search engine optimisation, the most popular ones being:
  • "Search engine ranking is just a lottery - there's no need for search engine optimisation"
    Favoured - and believed, in good faith - by many web designers. After all, if search engine optimisation can't be done, then there's no point in the client asking you to do SEO, because it's a waste of time!
  • "You have to pay to get good rankings"
    This one stems from the - conspiracy theorists - idea that, in order to get good search engine rankings in Google, you have to pay to be in the Google paid listings (the ones that appear down the right-hand side on the Google results).
  • "It's easy"
    This search engine optimisation fallacy is based on the idea that good rankings on a particular search keyword can be obtained by putting that keyword in the (invisible to the viewer) list of keywords at the top of your page (for the technically-minded, in the 'meta tags'). And doing very little else. Now, a few - minor league - search engines still use this list for ranking purposes. A few of these search engines actually require them to be there. However, the major search engine players (Google, Yahoo and Bing) now virtually ignore them. So, as a search engine optimisation technique, this one is dead and buried.

So what is 'search engine optimisation'?

The art of search engine optimisation (SEO) is a highly complex process, requiring many different skills:
  • knowledge of the latest SEO techniques which work;
  • knowledge of now outdated optimisation techniques which no longer work;
  • spending time continually keeping abreast of search engine technology and search engine optimisation requirements;
  • the - absolutely crucial - ability to create keyword-rich optimised page text which not only works for optimisation purposes, but also works as marketing copy for your service, product or company;
  • the ability to stand back and look at the website as a whole and analyse whether, when search engine optimisation work gets you those visitors, your website will achieve the results you want - particularly in terms of the 'conversation' between the site and the visitor.
These points highlight exactly what my skills are. Most web designers - particularly in the UK - know very little about search engine optimisation. And most SEO consultants concentrate too much on the technical and ignore the fundamental marketing/sales point of a site.

I should emphasise here that, when I refer to SEO, I am talking about a rigorous and comprehensive search engine optimisation process.

Many people still labour under the misapprehension that putting a few keywords in the webpage 'meta tags' will achieve good search engine optimisation results, when the reality is that this will achieve absolutely nothing.

In addition, many so-called search engine optimisation 'experts' (who might well have approached you offering "guaranteed 1st page positions on Google"), use a hotchpotch of - highly dubious - techniques: 'gateway pages', hidden page redirects, web address 'cloaking', and many other methods which produce short-term results and then always result in the websites which they have 'optimised' being completely banned from search engines.

And genuine SEO consultants will NEVER EVER guarantee positioning. I could only do this is if I knew the exact details of Google, Yahoo and MSN's search engine 'algorithms' - and if I had that information to hand I would be a very rich man indeed!

Click here to read Google's own information about search engine optimisation - what to look for and what to avoid. ... apparently, they also receive emails starting: "Dear, I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories ..."!

In contrast to this type of spurious, so-called 'optimisation', my expertise has been painstakingly built up over the past 12 years, working on real business websites, and I keep up to date with current search engine trends on a daily basis.

"This is simply superb work - I have spent an hour going through it step by step - can not fault it. If this is the standard of phase 1 can't wait for phase 2."
    Andrew McGavin, CEO of iXat

My search engine optimisation results

Google relies very heavily for its search rankings on what links it finds into a site ('in-bound links'). Since they only update their record of these periodically and since they favour older 'established' sites, good positioning on the Google search engine is difficult to obtain for a new site, or for a site with few links to it.

However, their continuing pre-eminence means that it is Google which we always have to aim for - even though improved search rankings might take some time to appear.

My experience is that, once we've attained a fair number of good-quality in-bound links and the site is around 2 years old, Google is very easy to optimise for - and they re-index very frequently, so improved search results appear within the fortnight.

It might seem that the other search engines aren't worth bothering about - but it's important to remember that we are talking about billions of searches every month, so 20% ... or 10% of that is a fair number of searches!

Bing (fomerly MSN) - see Yahoo, below.

Yahoo remains very easy, in search engine optimisation terms, and I nearly always get excellent results in Yahoo on the first pass of optimisation work. Yahoo do not favour old sites with loads of in-bound links, so your (relatively) new site can easily rank well on Yahoo.
Note that Yahoo now uses results from Bing.

It appears that Yahoo prefers a lower density of keywords on the page, so it can be rather an SEO juggling act to supply the medium-high density for Google and the lower density for Yahoo.

As far as the remaining 10% (including Ask [Jeeves]) are concerned, results appear on them - but, whilst I could trumpet search engine optimisation results for these, we have to concentrate on the 'Big 3' (now 2). You will only get substantive traffic from the smaller search engines if search engine optimisation work on your site is concentrated on very heavily-searched keywords (like, for example 'Britney Spears'!). But, of course, heavily-searched equals highly competitive ... you don't get something for nothing!

The search engine optimisation (SEO) results I have achieved speak for themselves.

Below are shown the current results for just a few of the sites for which I'm conducting ongoing search engine optimisation work. A dash (-) indicates a result outside the first page.

Note that, with Google so pre-eminent in the UK search market, I don't tend to check Yahoo and MSN seacrh results regularly these days - simply speaking it's Google results which my clients are looking for., & (search engine optimisation work carried out together for these sites)

On Google alone, out of 92 keyword phrases currently targeted, 76 appear on the first results page, 5 on the 2nd page and 4 on the 3rd page.

keyword phrase Google Yahoo
textile artists61,2 & 20
UK abstract artist912
abstract art pictures82&6
british textile art1&27&15
UK feltmakers1&21&5
fibre art39
textile art UK16&7
abstract art UK85&9
contemporary textile art12&9
feltmaking workshops1&92&3
textile art64&16
etc ...

Notice how these sites, which have been optimised for an enormous range of different keywords, tend to fare less well on MSN, which favours highly-focussed pages. These are all search phrases relevant to that business and represent remarkably good search engine results for any small sole-trader website.

In addition, I have carried out search engine optimisation work on these sites for image searches on each major search engine. This type of search is used very heavily by people looking for art on the net and my SEO results are as follows:

Yahoo image search:
  • 'abstract art pictures' - 12 images on the 1st page (out of 20), plus the 1st 16 on page 2
  • 'art uk' - all 20 images on the 1st page (including 3 from LovefromMe - see below), plus 10 on page 2
  • 'textile art' - 16 images on the 1st page (including 8 from LovefromMe - see below)
  • 'fiber art' - 12 images on the 1st page
  • 'fiber art uk' - all 20 images on the 1st page, plus 18 on page 2 and 9 on page 3
  • 'textile art uk' - all 20 images on the 1st page (including 16 from LovefromMe - see below), plus all 20 on page 2, all 20 on page 3, all 20 on page 4 and 12 on page 5
  • etc
Google image search:
  • 'textile art uk' - the 1st 4 results on the 1st page
  • 'contemporary textile art' - the 1st 2 results on the 1st page, plus another 2 on that page
  • 'textile art' - 4 images in the 1st 5 results on the 1st page
  • 'fiber art' - 2 images on the 1st page
  • etc - ongoing search engine optimisation for various phrases to do with natural toys, including important niche search results for this market:

keyword phrase Google Yahoo
natural toys11
natural wooden toys12
natural art materials11&5
natural craft materials1&21
wooden stacking toys13
ostheimer toys3&42&3
etc ... - search engine optimisation work for local-based keywords associated with this photography business

keyword phrase Google Yahoo
wedding photographer bridport1&24&6
wedding photography bridport1&25&6
portrait photographer bridport1&22&6
portrait photography bridport1&22&3
wedding photographer dorchester5&66
wedding photography dorchester6&710
portrait photographer dorchester3&41&6
portrait photography dorchester3&41&3
wedding photographer weymouth47&9
wedding photography weymouth45&8
portrait photographer weymouth3&41&3
portrait photography weymouth3&41&4
landscape photographs dorset7&83
portrait photography dorset820 (page 2)

This was a site which I redesigned for the client, specifically to achieve good search engine results. When the site went live, the initial results were good, but these have been considerably improved with a 2nd pass of SEO work. These are good examples of what can be achieved with just a small amount of 'tweaking', following a design which had SEO always in mind. and - search engine optimisation for various phrases to do with web design in Dorset:

keyword phrase Google Yahoo
andrew green54,5&8
andrew green dorset1,2,3&4*1,2,3&4
web site design dorset13-
website design dorset1220
website advice dorset12
web designer dorset16-
search engine optimisation dorset14
SEO dorset19
etc ...

* In fact, due to optimisation of clients' sites and of my many entries in directories, only one of the 10 results on the 1st page of Google for 'andrew green dorset' is a site which doesn't refer to me!

With Google approaching 75% of the UK search market, it is Google which I now concentrate on - most website owners now find that the vast majority of their search engine traffic comes from this source. I treat Yahoo results as a bonus when they occur, rather than putting much effort into them specifically.

What must always be kept in mind is that you mustn't have over-optimistic expectations - with Google - for your search engine optimisation project. I must also emphasise the need for an extensive campaign to obtain links to your site.

I also optimised one of the pages on this site for image searches on photographs of Abbotsbury, the particularly beautiful village I live in, which is very popular with tourists and artists. My results for a search on 'abbotsbury photographs' show many results in image searches and also the number 1 position on the normal Google text search. 14:20 08/09/2010

As part of the search engine optimisation process, I am also able to provide invaluable advice on site design and the user 'conversation', utilising my considerable experience of the internet, online and offline marketing, copywriting and proofreading.

Despite being a predominantly technical skill, I believe - very strongly - that SEO needs to be undertaken as an integral part of site design and textual/visual content. And I also believe that if your search engine optimisation consultant cannot do that, he or she is not going to give you what you want: results to suit your budget and improve your profitability.

It is these additional skills - built up over nearly 30 years in the computer industry - which provide that vital 'added value' to my clients and ensure that top-class search engine optimisation work by me provides top-class results for you.

So how much will search engine optimisation cost?

All my search engine optimisation projects are negotiated at length with you, the client, before any agreement is reached on the extent of the work and how many hours are required.

One site might need only 5-10 hours initial optimisation work and then, perhaps, 2-3 hours each month for 3-4 months. A larger site might need a continuing SEO effort of 10 hours - or more - every month, for 6 months.

That is why that initial discussion process about your search engine optimisation project is so vitally important: even at my comparitively modest rate of £60 (approx $80 US) per hour, SEO costs can easily mount up and it is of paramount importance to me that you feel you are getting value for money and that my work will help you and your business.

Search engine optimisation can provide just the boost your website - and business - needs and ensure a permanent 1st page search engine position, advertising your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This can be achieved for only a modest initial outlay and a couple of hours a month 'tweaking' your site, to maintain its position.

To start the search engine optimisation process off for your business - completely free of any obligation - just to email me, or ring me on 01305-871561.

I look forward to working with you on your SEO project.

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Search Engine Optimisation for your Dorset business from a Dorset-based web designer

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