Small business owners are interested in search engines. Fielding increasing numbers of offers to do SEO on their site, they are wondering … “do I need SEO?” Or increasingly “why isn’t my site search engine friendly?”

If your site isn’t search engine friendly, you are missing an opportunity. Maybe a big one.

I had a question from a prospective client earlier this week.

I am a little confused as a number of sources have now said our site is not SEO friendly yet they have not been able to tell me exactly why…..can you shed some light on it?

Wow. Where to start. I had my own search engine crunch some time ago. When you extend your business onto the web, sooner or later you start to wonder about search engines.

Being a business owner who also has a background in technology, I dived in to find out what I didn’t know. What an eye opener. I read Mike Moran’s excellent Search Engine Marketing Inc. as well as a heap of online SEO material. I tweaked our own sites. It was fair to say our initial sites broke just about all the rules. And fixing them was not easy. But I got the hang of it, and the sites came good. But there is just so much information to absorb.

I’ve published my response to her question below, minus the name of the client and with a few edits for clarity.


Search Engine Friendly

I have published 3 articles that provide an overview of the areas I think are most iimportant:
Introduction to Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization
On Page SEO – Optimising your Posts and Pages for Search Engines
Off Page SEO – Optimization with OM4 and WordPress

In terms of your own site.

Firstly, I suggest you go to google.com and enter this query:
site:clientsite.com.au

In a separate window, enter this query:
site:undara.com.au

Briefly review the results of these queries – they show you what Google knows about the two sites. Can you understand what content is in your website just by looking at the index? What about Undara? While this is only one view, it is pretty useful to understand.

A few observations I would make about your site and its search engine profile.

Your site has a Google PageRank of 1/10. Page Rank is a measure of how much Google trusts a site. Your main competitor has a ranking of 3/10. … Page Rank is logarithmic in scale. While Page Rank is only an indicator, to me a 1/10 ranking after more than 3 years on the web is indicative of a problem.

Page Titles. Just about all pages indexed for your site have the same <title> tag. Non unique page titles are a problem, unique descriptive titles are better. Page Title is generally considered to be a critical factor in search engine rankings.

Page Meta Descriptions. Most pages have the same meta description. This doesn’t let searchers know what pages are about – unique descriptive text for each page is best. While not affecting your ranking per se, it can affect the number of people who click through to your site if you do appear in the search result pages.

Page URLs are numeric. Your page URLs take the form .. page.php?id=39 I recommend using meaningful permalinks – for example, clientsite.com.au/itinerary rather than clientsite.com.au/page.php?id=24
Keywords in the URL make a difference for ranking.

Indexing. You only have 43 pages of your content indexed, including PDFs and Flash files. So not all pages of your content are indexed. The lack of titles/meta descriptions makes it hard to analyse what is not indexed.

Back Links. It appears you have a very limited number of back links (approx 70). More back links will assist with rankings.


The response worked well for my prospective client, and she decided to migrate onto our platform.

Many thanks again for spending time on our site and taking the time to explain it to me. Despite my limited experience with the technicalities of website building, I am following what you are telling me and the experiment of typing site: clientsite.com.au was indeed useful to clarify further what you are saying.

Expect small business owners to learn a lot more about SEM/SEO than we ever would have thought healthy.