Improve your search engine ranking with this approach to search engine placement from UK search engine consultant NCS


In this article we assume you want to improve the number and quality of visitors to your web site through improved search engine placement in the UK or internationally. You may be setting up a site or have one already.

As a UK search engine consultant dealing with a wide range of businesses, we have developed an approach to search engine placement in the UK and internationally to produce improved search engine ranking for even the smaller business cost-effectively.

The Basics – Search Engines

There are several types of search engines but for simplicity we shall consider 3 main categories:

  • Search engines: The classic search engines examine your pages and record the words and phrases you actually use in their databanks. The engines then search against these databanks for the particular search term requested. Examples include Google, Hotbot and Lycos. N.B. The detailed content of your site is very important in ensuring these engines will point users to you.
  • Directories: These are like a telephone directory - your site is categorized, possibly by a human being or on the strength of what you tell them, into a classification. People search in that class or cell for your type of service. The best known one is DMOZ  which is also used by many search engines. The detailed content of your site is much less important in ensuring directories will point users to you.
  • Pay for click engines: With these you bid for profile on a single keyword or phrase. You then usually pay the bid amount for any user who clicks on the link to your site. The content of your site is not directly used although it may be assessed for relevance by the engine to ensure meaningful results are returned to searchers.

Some other points of note:

  • There is a lot of co-operation between different types of engine. For example, searching a directory may produce results from a pay for click engine as ‘sponsored sites’ (read ‘adverts’), the directory itself, then backup searches from a traditional search engine.
  • Many engines now require admin fees (sometimes annual) for placement of your web site. Even with free engines, it can make sense to pay for quicker registration – historically it can take months to appear in some engines.
  • Different engines should be selected for different national markets - and there are local and niche market specialists too.
  • The classic search engines mostly have different algorithms for assessing and ranking your site. They are being constantly refined and improved but generally give more profile to:

    • Pages which use the search term at least once (preferably more) and which best reflect the subject matter in their view
    • Pages which have been selected by other (relevant) websites as good ones to link to. The more relevant sites that link to you the better as it ‘implies’ your page is likely to be more appropriate to this enquiry than one which few people have thought it worth linking to.
      (N.B. Relevant sites are those that may, for example, share some theme with your site – e.g. a widget manufacturer linking to a widget retailer would be highly relevant)
  • Search engines do not like people trying to fool them into giving a page a top search engine ranking which does not fairly represent the content visible to normal viewers. Playing tricks like this (spamming) can and does get sites banned.

Our Approach for Improved Search Engine Placement

1. Understand the objectives of the site, its target market and main content:

  • Who are the target visitors?
  • What would they be coming to the site for?
  • What would they be likely to use as search phrases?

2. Target the most effective keywords and phrases.

It is absolutely vital to target the most productive keywords and phrases.

We research millions of live internet searches to help select the words and phrases the target individuals are actually using to find the client’s product or service. These are sometimes surprisingly different and more varied than originally expected.

We also assess the number and quality of competitor pages in the UK or worldwide fighting for these same searches. This helps us select the search phrases that should yield you the best return. Ideally you want high volume keywords with low numbers of other sites using them.

On existing sites, the site logs should be examined to reveal the search terms currently being used to successfully find the site and to identify those that, by their absence, seem to be failing.

3. Build the target key words and phrases into your site text and page coding.

Your text needs to put across your message and help attract the search engines. Many sites have text which reads well but contains few significant keywords. Both are required.

Many businesses understandably want to write the text themselves. However, this is arguably a specialised area, requiring creative sales writing, search engine knowledge and time away from the urgent priorities of a busy office. You may find you do not have the time or skills to do this internally to the levels required - and projects sometime stall because of this. (N.B. NCS can help with internet copy writing to get the job done smoothly and effectively.)

4. Ensure the site design allows search engines to see your web page optimisation.

Some site designs actually prevent access from search engines when even a small amount of work could correct this.

5. Search engine submission.

Good manual submission across a range of UK and other engines and directories will help you improve your search engine placement  and visitor traffic:

  • Medium and relevant minor engines can produce visitors themselves, and
  • The links from them to your site will contribute to your link popularity and improve your ranking with the main search engines like Google.

Some simple guidelines are:

  • Decide your budget. If affordable search engine ranking is important, keep to the free or low cost engines. Some will still register you even if they apparently only offer fee based submission (but some will not). N.B. Engines can take a long time to process your ‘free’ submission.
  • Don’t submit until you have done your web page optimisation and do have at least one site linking to your pages
  • Focus on the major engines
  • Do not use mass market software for search engine placement
  • Your submission to DMOZ and other directories should be handled with extra care as the description and categorisation of the site will directly affect your results
  • Pay for click engines can be a very cost-effective way of building rapid traffic whilst your classic search engine ranking builds up. Judgement and active management are often required to yield the best results as intuitive use can produce few results or lead to paying well over the odds for much sought after keywords.

6. Post launch web site promotion and marketing for UK business.

If you do not follow up the launch with supporting web site promotion and marketing, you will lose ground to your competitors who do.

Building the number of links from other sites is an important part of web page optimisation longer term - links should be encouraged with text built about keywords appropriate to the target page. Link building can lead to improved search engine ranking / placement as well as direct business gained.

Regular monitoring of your site traffic and search engine ranking is important to help keep your site productive. This should identify search engines and keywords which are producing less traffic than expected and where more work is required to improve your ranking, perhaps following competitors' improved web page optimisation.


  • Improved search engine placement comes from careful selection of keywords for your UK or other markets and good web page optimisation
  • Affordable search engine ranking is still possible even for small businesses
  • Link building is an important part of getting your improved search engine ranking

Click here for our article ‘Myths about optimisation of search positions on the internet’ which debunks some commonly held views on search engine optimisation.

Click here for our services page on web site optimisation and promotion.

Net Commerce Solutions
Improved search engine placement with UK search engine consultant NCS

Note for Webmasters: All our articles are copyright to NCS but may be copied and published in part or in whole on your websites on a non-profit basis as long as they are credited to NCS and have an appropriate link to our website. e.g. 'Click here for more articles by NCS - UK web designers, search engine and internet marketing company' 

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