Is SEO a dark art?

Optimise your website for people – not just search engines.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) should be a key part of your inbound marketing efforts. There are people out there with a problem just looking for a solution. If you have that solution, then getting found should result in your most straightforward customer wins.

So what’s the best way to get found?

Google is a highly sophisticated search machine, its continually evolving algorithm finding ever more specific and relevant search results for users. Over the years we’ve seen algorithm updates such as Google Penguin and Panda significantly shift the weightings of website rankings away from keyword spamming, bulk link-building and other dodgy practices, and towards usability and relevance.

Most recently we witnessed the punishing algorithm update - nicknamed 'Mobilegeddon' - which saw websites rewarded for being 'mobile-friendly' - i.e. easy to view on smaller devices such as tablets and phones. A few of our clients' non-responsive websites took the hit and saw their search rankings tumble overnight.

Long gone are the days when Google would rank websites heavily according to the keywords it found stuffed invisibly into the metadata and website footers; it’s now more interested in what’s on stage than what’s behind the scenes. It wants to give precedence to websites that have proven relevance and usability; in short, websites that other users have found useful and relevant, in addition to technical aspects such as internal linking and URL structure.

Is SEO a dark art?

When it’s done wrong, yes. Some people still practice bulk backlink purchasing and keyword stuffing, and focus solely on the keywords rather than the quality of the website copy and design – not realising that this can actually have a detrimental effect on rankings, as Google penalises this type of activity.

Keyword SEO will always matter to a degree

Google will always look at the content of your site to match it towards users’ search terms. It weights rankings heavily in favour of user experience, but if a website doesn’t contain the similar search terms to what the user is looking for then it simply won’t be deemed relevant to the user. While it’s true that Google largely overlooks meta-tags, it still takes account of the content of the copy, and certain places – headers and title tags, for example – remain prime areas for search terms. That's why as part of our SEO review we always include a keyword research report.

How we approach SEO

We understand how Google operates. It caters for searchers' needs, not websites. It likes new content, and it likes human-friendly content. That's why we write for your customers first, and the search engines second. We also review the technical aspects of your website and check for any errors. In short, we ensure that your website is as fully optimised as possible for the search engines.

If you have great content, other websites will be more likely to link to it, and Google takes this into account. Another way to generate valuable backlinks is through PR – getting a link to your website into an article you’ve informed or written in the press will boost your attractiveness to the search engines, which value ‘referral’ sites such as news sites highly.

We know how to:

  • Find the keywords that your target customers search for
  • Find strong variations on keyword phrases that you want to be found for
  • Select keywords that have low competition from your competitors
  • Optimise your site for local and/or national searches
  • Place keywords into your website copy so that it doesn’t impair usability
  • Rewrite website copy to make it more user-friendly
  • Make recommendations for:
  • Improving overall usability of your website
  • Increasing back-links to your website

How long will it take for my ranking to improve and website visits to increase?

It can take weeks and even months for Google to re-rank new improved content, so we recommend integrating your SEO strategy with your wider marketing strategy to get the best results. For example, PPC can work very well with your SEO campaign, and give you the instant rankings for keywords that your SEO won't.

We can help you to get started with your SEO – give us a call or email today to discuss your requirements.