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Search engine optimization

Risingline can help you can grow your business by increasing awareness driven from search engines. We provide optimal coding and structuring for the websites we develop as well as SEO consulting for new or existing sites being developed and managed by other parties.

True search engine optimization requires a holistic strategic approach that focuses on the same fundamentals that will determine your business' overall success. We've summarized below the key concepts necessary to understand the big picture of successful search engine optimization.

  1. Establish your Unique Value Proposition. A prerequisite for developing a successful website is the same as what's required for the success of your entire business model—being able to concisely state how you can meet the specific needs of your customers and why you can do it better than anyone else (this is often referred to as a unique value proposition).
  2. Create a strategic marketing plan. Before addressing Web development, your business needs to create a strategic sales and marketing plan based on your unique value proposition. Historical data should be used to specify where/how your customers become aware of your solutions and how they proceed through your sales process. Then determine where in your sales process your website can be most effective.
  3. Be realistic with your demand generation expectations Your website's primary role in your sales and marketing plan generally should not be to bring in new customers through search engines. It's simply a fantasy that a business can build a site, apply a magic formula to it, and run their business off the demand generated by search engines. Even if this were to happen, the business model would be built on a house of cards and completely in control of a third party. One change in a search engine's algorithm could move your site from the first page of results to the fifth overnight.
  4. Target your site to the appropriate sales prospect. Your website's primary role for developing new business generally should be targeted towards prospects who have already become aware and interested in your solutions (e.g. they learn about you from a current customer, they see a magazine ad, etc.).
  5. Build your site to walk your prospect through your sales process. The overarching goal of your site towards prospects should be to convince them of your unique value and qualifications—that your business offers a better solution to their need than anyone else's—and then provide a clear and risk-free path for them to proceed through your sales process.
  6. "Make your site for users, not for search engines." (a direct quote from Google). It's imperative to understand that by focusing developing your site to best meet your customer needs, you'll also be developing a site that has the most appeal to search engines and thus has a greater potential to be listed higher in their results.
  7. Choose the keywords of your site carefully. Keywords are those words or phrases that you anticipate your target market most likely to use in when using a search engine. Keyword selection can be challenging because keywords that are very popular also mean that there are lots of other websites competing for them. One of the prime SEO services we provide is evaluating keyword popularity and assisting clients in the right keyword choices to emphasize in their sites. Those keywords need to be included in a balanced and natural manner within the content of your Web pages. Sites that have too high a density of keywords will be classified by the search engines as spam and devalued or delisted from their index.
  8. Ensure your site is properly coded to be indexed by search engines. It is vital to incorporate optimized coding and keywords into the structure of your site. SEO from a coding perspective should ensure that the technical aspects of a site are presented to both users and search engines to allow clear communication of your message. There is no secret to this. Google, who owns about 80% of the world's web search market, provides the specific guidelines. Also see Google's May 6th, 2011 article: "More guidance on building high-quality sites."
  9. The quality and relevancy of your content is the key to success. Search engine optimization ultimately relies on the true quality and value of your site as it appeals to your users and industry. Search engine optimization is like wearing a nice suit and having good manners at a job interview. It's good to do but doesn't prove anything about your qualifications or get you the job. You have to have real value to make the suit and manners have a positive impact.
  10. Understand the preeminent importance of linkbacks. The primary means by which Google determines where it displays your site in its search results for given keywords is based on how many other sites link back (also called back links, and backward links) to yours. There is no more productive effort you can make than to have other quality site, related to the topic of yours, link back to your site. It should be noted that by creating original content relevant to your target audience/industry on a regular basis, you have a much more compelling case for other sites to back link to yours. We've detailed some great places to start for getting back links in this post from our blog. Other opportunities for soliciting legitimate back links can include industry organizations, business partners, suppliers, distributors, community organizations, etc. Furthermore, the following characteristics of back links are of great importance:
    • The relevancy of those sites to the theme of yours,
    • The quality of those other sites, and
    • The context in which the back links are presented on other sites. 
    Legitimate, quality back links are the key factor in determining how high in the list of results your Web page is listed. Google's approach is simple, they treat back links as a vote to the real value and relevancy of your site from the Internet community.
  11. Focus on a niche. The Web is extremely competitive. This will vary of course by how board or narrow your specific market is, but it's likely that you'll be competing with many other organizations making similar value propositions to your target customers. One of the keys to standing out in this crowd, and being assigned more value by the Internet community (and thus search engines) is to develop your site as a trusted authority source on a specific topic that appeal to your target customers. The best opportunity is to utilize Web technologies like blogs and podcasts to distribute original and relevant information to your target audience on a regular basis. The importance of this for developing long-term value equity in your site cannot be overstated.
  12. Expect new customers. If you spend the effort on the above tactics, over time you will most likely get new customers through search engines. New customers generated through search engines should be at first treated as bonuses on top of your existing sales forecast and marketing plan. If you can establish a steady percentage of new sales from search engines over a period time, then you can began cautiously forecasting those sales into your formal plan.
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