A word on Search Engine Optimisation


An ever-changing and fluid topic, a lot of myths about search engine optimisation persist. In fact, pretty much anyone can understand the principles in a few minutes. Like many things there are rules and guidelines to follow.

We've ended up writing this brief guide as we are asked about search engine optimisation on a regular basis and have been for the best of a two decades. It's become a topic so wrapped up in mystery and with so many 'experts' who will be very happy to help you for a considerable fee, this is a small attempt to demystify and explain the fundamentals to allow smarter decisions.

What is search engine optimisation?

It's a mix of structural and ongoing techniques to try and increase the quantity and quality of organic (non-paid) search traffic to your website. When people ask us to quickly explain the fundamentals, we like to put it like this:

'A search engine will attempt to return to the user the most relevant information based on the question asked'.

It doesn't sound too difficult to understand does it? Google (and others) simply want to do the best job possible for the user, so the user will continue to use their pages and stay on the page longer - they make their money from advertising after all. So there's our first point - we have to think inside the minds of the users that we want to attract, based on the sort of business or organisation that we are.

So here we can refer to the Google Webmaster Guidelines and one of the most basic principles - your content is for users not search engines.

Why is search engine optimisation important?

Although the Google results page changes in terms of what is presented to queries, it still labels paid search results as 'Ad' and this will put off many uses who will scroll to the first organic results. In fact, recent research has shown that across platforms (mobile and desktop), the difference can be 20 to 1 in favour of organic results.

OK, so what should I avoid doing?

Some search agencies offer amazing results quickly - but very often for very niche queries that will attract very little actual traffic. They can also be prone to using techniques that are described as 'black hat' - attempts to fool or deceive users or search engines. They may promote worthless 'link' schemes, pad your website with duplicate content - the list goes on.

These techniques simply will not work - and risk your website being penalised or even delisted from search results.

So what should I do?

Create original, compelling content that is tailored to your particular audience. Think about your customers and your products and imagine them sitting in front of a PC or on mobile device. What questions would they ask to find you and your products or services?

What if it's difficult for me to create this content?

Talk to people who know how.