Belfast Telegraph

Standing out brings outstanding results

Question: What is search engine optimisation?

Paul McGarrity, director, Octave Online Communications replies:

A: Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of amending a website to improve the natural or organic results on search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

The process is popular with businesses and organisations who want their website and webpages to appear on the top results page of the search engines for key terms. It is becoming a core marketing activity, not least because internet users rarely look beyond the first page of the search engine results.

SEO campaigns typically work by improving three core areas. The first optimises the actual web page content. Search engines look at all aspects of a page’s content and determine if it’s a relevant match. Webpages need to be clearly laid out with well defined keyphrases in the text.

The second stage involves optimising the title tags correctly so the search engines can help determine the pages’ relevance.

The third and probably most important factor is linking. Good quality links from relevant websites will have a positive effect on your own website’s ranking. Linking campaigns help find and link to external content.

Question: Is price the best way to stand out from the online crowd?

Niall McKeown from Ion Online Marketing replies:

A: Price is the one variable many companies can easily adjust to create demand. “The lower the price, the more units I shift” is a common statement for many companies I work with.

The problem with lowering price is that the competition can do the same. If you rely solely on price as the driver for demand then once the sale price matches that of the cost of production, the only variables left to change may affect quality.

Online price lowering happens more quickly than in the offline world. Goods for which there is demand but which are the same, such as corn, milk or copper, all have a universal price derived by forces external to the producer. Moving from being a price sensitive commodity to a unique product could transform your online fortunes.

Corn is a commodity. A unicorn is wonderful and distinctive that has intrigue and interest. If your business had a unicorn product your price could reflect the difference from the competitors that just sold corn. Corn or Unicorn, they are both still “corn” but our perceptions of the value of each are very different.

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