Scott Hortop
web consultant      web designer


It is often suggested that search engine optimisation is the 'free advertising' opportunity of the web, however many discover that the cost of getting their website noticed can be substantial, not to mention unreliable. And if your search engine optimiser uses unacceptable methods then you could find that your competitors will report you to the search engines and you lose your listing altogether!

In fact web site marketing may often be most successfully carried through without using the web at all. It is all down to the particular characteristics of your business. I can help you or your own marketing people sift through the options, weed out the false claims, and make the best use of your budget.

Let's consider some approaches to using the web as a marketing tool. As I have mentioned, you can invest in search engine optimisation with a vague promise that you willl.....


Unfortunately, in many sectors, only a tiny proportion of sales on the web are the result of visits referred by free listings in search engines.

The fact is that once you are listed by the search engines, unless you are very unlucky, you will achieve some top ten search rankings. Putting the appropriate skill into your site design with real content (that is useful to human beings!) will improve substantially the number of these rankings. This site uses those skills (it goes way beyond "meta-tags") but you cannot see evidence of it when you view the content - and there is no trickery like hidden text. Further effort (and this means sometimes substantial budget) directed at more aggressive techniques can yield precious little.

As mentioned above, some techniques could lose your listing altogether, not to mention dilute your branding. And even if you get a top ten ranking, what is its value if the public do not see something coherent that induces them to click through to your site?

So a sound approach is not to measure success in terms of pure search engine rankings but far better is to measure success in terms of how often you.....


I've already mentioned that you neglect the impact of word-of-mouth and conventional marketing at your peril. But are you doing the best that you can in terms of online marketing to maximise your visits?

Staying with search engines, one can consider an alternative approach. You can pay for listings in directories (here the example is the Yahoo directory, as opposed to Yahoo search). There is also 'pay-per-click' advertising - which can be a most effective and controllable tool. 'Banner exchange' and pay per click banner advertising on other sites are also options.

What can be surprisingly effective (and cheap) is to get yourself listed in free directories and to have an active link exchange scheme with related businesses. And these routes will have a beneficial effect on your Yahoo and Google search rankings. If used effectively then you will get your site visited.

The real challenge that you have is to get the visitor interested in your web site content to make them stay at your site rather than surf off elsewhere. It is easy to say, but harder to achieve. What you need to do is.....


If you are running a business, then your web presence needs to function in the same way as any well laid out High Street store. You should want to maximise numbers through the door and once customers are inside you need to keep them there long enough to allow them to find what they want.

What needs to be done depends on the audience. Some will crave functionality, some innovative design, some a community feel. But most will want to find what they want - quickly. At this point I refer you to my usability page. Your marketing budget will be wasted if you do not get website usability right.

In conclusion I suggest to you that overall the focus always has to be on....


It is curious how easily the focus can be diverted away from this prime business goal.

Once your site is found, what needs to be optimised is sales from new and returning visitors. Web site sales optimisation is a broad issue and is about optimising visitor numbers and converting them to sales through effective content.

For broader advice on marketing, I can also draw on the resources of my association with Fairburn Edser Smith.

Click here to read more on how I can advise you on giving visitors what they want.


Web site Sales Optimisation

To run your online business effectively you need to

      • get visitors, and
      • turn them into customers.

How successfully this is done depends a large part upon the engineering of your web pages.

I can help you use your marketing budget wisely. Separately, I can look critically at your web pages and make the changes that may be required to ensure that you are getting more than your fair share of free traffic from search engines. While doing this I can also make sure that they are usable and accessible so your visitors get the experience that they want.

This will help you optimise your sales on the web.

I am often able to do this for a single agreed fee. I can happily provide a free quotation.


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