So you've launched your business and have a brand new website, but there's one problem- you don't have good search engine rankings.

When a potential customer types your brand name into Google, your site is listed on the first page of results. That's great for those who know the name of your business. However, it doesn't help people doing generic searches for your product. In fact when someone does type in your keyword search term, your site is so far down the results pages that no-one will ever find you.

Search engine optimisation

As there is so much competition for high rankings unless you design your site with search engines in mind, you will never achieve the position you're looking for. This design process is called “Search engine optimisation”.

You can pay a professional to do it for you or if you have a smaller budget and are prepared to invest some time and effort, you can try and do it yourself. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Identify the right keyword

It might seem obvious but the keyword that you choose to optimise your site could make or break your rankings. For instance, you might think that your customers are searching for “handmade photo frames” but if you're wrong then you won't attract any traffic.

You can use tools like the Yahoo! Search Marketing Selection Tool to identify which words people are using to find your product and how many times people search for particular terms.

Keyword density

Once you've decided which keywords to use, you'll need to incorporate them into your web page in a way that search engine software recognises.

When someone enters a search term, the engine hunts through its database to find sites with matching keywords. Search engine optimisation experts believe that the search engines allocate higher rankings to websites which mention the keyword several times in their web pages.

However, you need to strike a balance. If you repeat your keywords too often, the search engines might think that you are trying to “spam” them and will penalise you as a result. Try and mention your keywords about 10 times for every 300 words of text.

Link building

As well as looking at keyword density, search engines determine how relevant a site is for a search term based on the number of quality websites that link to yours. You can get links by submitting your website to directories focusing on your business category or by exchanging links with sites in similar fields to yours.

No tricky business

Many people try to achieve high rankings by attempting to trick search engines. You may have come across paid services that promise high rankings through practices that have been designed to deceive the search engines. Beware – this is not worth doing.

Although it might result in a short term boost to your rankings, the search engine companies will discover what you're doing and will penalise you. It's not worth risking a permanent ban for the sake of temporary traffic.