ALERT: beware of snake-oil salesmen, SEO isn’t something you should leave to chance
Tony, our office Goldfish knows what a meta tag is but does that make him an SEO expert? We think not… but he is clever. Without being dramatic, success or failure can hinge of the performance of your SEO and so it’s best to get it right, first time.
What is SEO exactly?
Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is a broad term that describes the steps required to improve a site’s ranking in the natural search results. It can be divided into four specific areas:
- Content – should be unique and specific to allow search engines to associate the site with relevant keywords.
- Architecture – site coding and performance, structure and navigation should be implemented in a way that allows search engines to navigate and understand the site.
- Link popularity – relevant inbound links in order to develop trust within the search engines and reinforce the site’s association with specific topics and keywords.
- Online buzz – how is your website cited in the social media world e.g. Likes, Friends, Tweets etc.
The history of SEO is an intriguing one. In its early years, SEO mainly focused on high keyword-density and reverse-engineering altavista’s and Yahoo’s algorithms. Only the advent of Pay Per Click, Affiliate Marketing, User Generated Content and Social Media have turned SEO into what it is today.
Thanks to a variety of developments, 2009 and 2010 were exciting years for search engine optimisers. One of the most striking innovations consisted in Google making personalised search available to all its users, not just registered members. It was a move which significantly reduced the relevance of ranking reports, since different users were now all working with different search results, which depended on their individual behaviour and preferences. Google also introduced „Instant Search“, which had a long-term impact on organic search results. Thanks to these „streaming resuls“, users no longer had to type in a complete search phrase, but were given new suggestions straight after entering the very first letter. Both Google and Bing have admitted in public that the positioning of websites in their SERPs will (at least to a certain degree) be influenced by realtime events, such as tweets.
As already indicated by two changes in Google’s algorithm in the first quarter, 2011 is likely to turn into another exciting year for the SEO industry. The so-called „Farmer“ Update (or „Panda“ as it is officially referred to), for example, significantly improves user experience and reduces the relevance of „shallow“ or copied content.
The key to a successful SEO campaign
Search engine optimisation has evolved significantly over the last years and now great content, on page optimisation and inbound links are more or less standard disciplines for most websites. Today, a successful SEO campaign consists of many more factors than SEO of past and the following elements of a site have to be reviewed as part of the SEO process:
- Hosting and domains
- Indexability and accessibility
- HTML and site structure
- Navigation structure and link equity
- Content presentation, prominence and update frequency
- Duplicate content and canonical issues
- Page title and descriptions (call to action) within the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP’s)
- Keyword and page conversion analysis
- Link building and “online buzz” (Occurrences in social media)
- Site performance and quality control
Our services go beyond classical search engine optimisation and include disciplines such as usability, conversion improvement and social media. As part of the review process, we also examine analytics data beyond just rankings and these can help determine how the following factors are influencing conversion rates:
- Call to action elements
- The user journey
- A/B testing
- Conversion funnel
- Error handling
Contact us today if you would like to speak about SEO.