Search Engines

Search Engine Checklist

Research shows that over 80% of Internet users find websites from search engines (such as Google and Bing). So if you are relying on new visitors to grow your online business it is pertinent to your website's success to be within the top 10 for the right key phrases.

This simple checklist is ideal for SEO DIYers, we have used it successfully for several years!

DIY Search Engine Optimisation Checklist

Requirement How to check Pass? Comments How to correct
Are Key Words and Phrases suitable and thorough? Manually - Have you covered: target audience (location, gender, age, income, values, interests), plus your company/product details and USPs     Look at current content, competitor's sites. Use keyword tools
Key Phrases grouped around sections or pages of website? Manually - Each page should have a different set of phrases and content based around it     Group by content, decide if more content is needed
Content Fresh? How often do spiders visit? Your web-stats package should tell you.     CMS or Admin facility may help
Content spelt correctly and all links working? Visible Check or use tools     Correct as necessary
Are all pages accessible via simple clicks (e.g. frames / scripts)? If indexed. Use Google's site-specific search or cached views, the Google Toolbar or even your web-stats package to see which pages are visible     Add a sitemap or browse facility, use search engine friendly urls.
Clean HTML and effective use of style-sheets? Avoid MS Word or FrontPage generated code where possible     Correct manually or with tools (e.g. HTML Tidy)
Effective use of Title Tag, headings, bullet lists and highlighting? Visible Check or use tools     Correct manually or with tools
Images Optimised? - Benefits users and search engines Check download time for page     Optimise with image tools, e.g. Adobe ImageReady
Is content concise, interesting and well structured? Visible Check     Re-write content accordingly
Good quality links in? Use Google's Toolbar or your web-stats package to see referrers     Look at competitors. Submit to directories, particularly specialist ones relevant to your business
Web hosting reliable? Use stats/monitoring service to check reliability     Move hosts / upgrade package if necessary
Web host providing adequate statistics package? Do they tell you what you're doing well, show new key phrases and how long people are spending on your site?     Move hosts / upgrade package if necessary
Been patient? Yahoo, Bing and Google apparantly employ maturity tests by restricting new sites It can take 8-9 months for positions on these search engine position to settle     Other work may be done during this time for maximum efficiency

General Sales Tips

Be customer focussed, remember:

  • Listen to your customers. Selling to 'wants' is more powerful than selling to 'needs'
  • 80% of turnover for SMEs comes from 20% of the customers, so identify those key accounts and look after them
  • Always sell with honesty and integrity - keeping loyal customers is more cost effective than acquiring new ones
  • Use the power of referrals and testimonials - be sure to tell your customers if you need more business and how to do it

Tips To Increase Sales Conversion

You should always:

  1. When writing about your products and services concentrate on the benefits not the features. The customer just wants to know "what's in it for me?". Try to use the word "You" to address your prospects directly and not "I", and make plenty of use of bullet points to maximise your impact.
  2. Use effective headlines. A bad headline might lose 80% of your business. Sub-headlines should also be used to reinforce major points.
  3. Use a call-to-action. Tell the visitor what to do to buy your product or service and tell them to do it now.
  4. Have a professional looking site. Unprofessional means uncredible, and without credibility, you have no trust.
  5. Display your contact details clearly. Again, without trust there will be no sale.
  6. Include genuine testimonials. Psychologically people will be influenced positively if others, especially recognized experts in your market, endorse your products openly.
  7. Try to collect email addresses (must be opt-in) because people won't always buy the first time they visit a site.

Web Marketing Tips

Every business should have a web presence, remember:

  • Try to focus more on benefits than about yourself, your employees or your history, e.g. products/services, reliability, location, delivery, quality, how to order
  • Always list your business selling points (especially USPs if you have any)
  • Most unhappy customers don't complain - encourage feedback with forms, forums and follow-up emails
  • Use professional graphic designers and tell them what sort of image appeals to your customers
  • Watch your competitors - don't copy but look and learn. USA companies can be several years ahead of the UK sometimes
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