Article about the importance of SEO from the Sunday Times

Reproduced from the Sunday Times

Christina Lundberg and Rustan Panday are using a bed of nails to drive customers to their website selling acupressure mats. Every time someone types the phrase into a Google search it brings up the pair’s website, bedofnails.org, at the top of the results page.

While the £44 mats — which bring relief to sufferers of back pain and insomnia — are also stocked in Harvey Nichols and Fenwick department stores, online customers now account for 40% of Lundberg and Panday’s sales.

“The business is really taking off now,” said Lundberg, 28. Their two-year-old venture’s success is largely thanks to search engine optimisation (SEO) — making sure that Google lists a website on its first page of results once the keywords are typed in. It’s the holy grail of merchants.

There is no point in creating a fantastic website selling wonderful products if nobody can find it. With more than 250m websites worldwide, even the smallest business needs to take on SEO to stand a chance of being noticed.

After all, websites that appear in the top three places of a search engine’s results attract 98% of all traffic on the web, statistics show. The website in first place takes 60%. People very rarely look at the second results page or beyond.
Quite how Google arrives at its list of most relevant sites is top secret, based on algorithms that are constantly being tweaked. But at its simplest, relevancy is determined by content and by the number of sites that link to yours.

“SEO is about reverse engineering to try to trick Google into thinking you are the most relevant site,” said Aneesh Varma, the co-founder of FabriQate, a creative digital agency in west London. “Anybody can launch a website and the barriers to entry are low, so if your business relies on the web for customers you need to be proactive.”

So how do you go about it? First, give your website — and by extension your business — a name that describes what it does. If your business sells cupcakes, then giving it the website address cupcakes.com will encourage Google to rate it more highly — and make it easier for potential customers to find — than calling it yummythings.com. Even better, call it Janescupcakes.com, because then you are creating a brand too.

Second, include the words and phrases you wish to be known for into the content of your website, as many times as you can. Then incorporate meta tags into the html code of your website. Meta tags are information that you can write into the unseen instruction part of your website and are recognised by Google and other search engines as they trawl the internet looking for relevant sites.

Third, get other well-regarded sites to mention your site and include a link to it — the simplest place to start is to create a Facebook page and Twitter account for your business that link to your site. Links from a trade organisation or local community website are useful too. You might also be able to get a blogger to link to your site — perhaps by sending them some products to review — and you should definitely write a regular blog on your website, which people can follow and link to.


Local Link Up can take the pain and risk out of getting a site on the first page of Google. Local Link Up offer a no results, no payment service called PPR (Pay Per Rank)which means that unless your site gets found on the first page of Google for your chosen phrases you pay nothing.

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