Search Engine Optimisation

search engine optimisationOne of the main subjects I regularly get asked about is search engine optimisation (SEO) which is not surprising considering all of the hype surrounding this area. Rarely does a day go by when I do not see an advertisement or receive an email promising to “blast my site to millions of search engines” for the price of a hamburger!

This strategy may have worked 10 years ago, but it won’t today and in fact it is likely to get your site banned from search engines such as Google, making it near on impossible for your target clientele to find you using their search engine!

In 2007 when I started, I didn’t focus much on SEO because I found it easier to get well targeted traffic using Google Adwords which was relatively inexpensive. All you needed were the right keyphrases, a well thought out landing/squeeze page and you were on your way. Fast forward to 2015 and with all the hoops that Google makes you jump through, coupled with their page quality score, in my opinion, unless you’ve got deep pockets, it’s not worth the hassle of using Adwords.

Also, increasingly, relying purely on search engine traffic is a dangerous tactic and you’re always going to be cringing in fear every time Google announce their next algorithm change which sends your website from number one in the results to number 10 million never to be seen again. An example of this is their latest change in April 2015 which penalizes websites that are not mobile device friendly!

A strategy incorporating social media avenues such as Facebook and You Tube is becoming increasingly important and has opened many new doors. I feel that a web presence that utilises the correct mix of SEO and social media can still attract good volumes of free search engine traffic.

When considering the entire world of SEO please bear in mind that search engines are about delivering relevant, quality content to their customers and you will never find yourself in difficulty as long as you do this. A lot of the search engine changes have been introduced as a reaction to “black hat search engine optimisation” strategies which were impacting the quality of their results.

On/Off Page SEO

If you have done any research on search engine optimisation, you’ve no doubt seen terms such as ‘on page SEO’ and ‘off page SEO’ mentioned. So what are they?

Well on page refers to what is on your actual website that the search engine spiders/crawlers see when they are visiting/crawling your site and there are various items here which are important to incorporate. I make provision for these in any websites I build to ensure that your site is indexed without any problems.

Off page factors refer to items that are harder for you to control which also affect your site’s rankings and yes, these are getting increasingly harder to control. This includes items such as:-

  • the age of your website domain – you’ll fair better with a domain that is 10 years old versus one that is new but there’s nothing you can do about that if you’ve just purchased your new domain name!
  • backlinks to your site’s pages. These are links from other sites that are considered to be relevant and the emphasis is based on how the search engine rates the site’s credibility.
  • how long visitors spend viewing the pages of your site. Search engines may make judgments/assumptions on your site’s relevance based on how long visitors remain on your individual site pages.

How Can I Help?

The starting point with any website is in finding the right keywords to target since otherwise you are like a ship at sea without navigation – aimless and off course! I can assist with this and of course, there’s little point targeting keywords with little evidence of buyer interest so my research also includes checks for evidence of advertiser activity .

Once possible keywords are found, it is important to check how much competition you face and to make a judgment call on your opportunity to gain a good ranking. Let’s face it, you’re going to face an uphill struggle competing against the likes of universities, Amazon and well established sites with possibly hundreds of thousands of quality backlinks.

I will also look for opportunities based on the level of competition considering both the ‘on’ and ‘off’ page SEO factors and the strength of the competition.

If you require your website to always be at the top of the search engines then you are probably advised to engage a professional SEO firm that lives and breathes this stuff to assist you.
This is likely to be costly and you need to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable firm with a proven track record. Please read that sentence over and over because there are plenty of charlatans around still employing unethical practices that can get your site blacklisted or banned.

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