Search Engine Optimisation

I’m often asked about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and of course even more often hear of the huge numbers of people claiming to know lots about it, and will help you for a very significant price (without actually covering all that many aspects).

If you don’t already know, SEO, is the term given to designing your website in such a way (at the coding level), that it appeals to Search Engines like Google. Essentially, the more it appeals to the search engines, the higher up in the ‘natural listings’ your website will be, and therefore, typically, the more visitors and thus more business you’ll get.

For example, if you do a search for ‘Pole Dancing Reading‘ on Google, you’ll see it gives around 372,000 results. But right up there at the top, on number 1 of the listings, is one of my clients’ websites PurityPoleDancing for Pole Dancing in Reading. This is an example, of free, good natural search listings (and good SEO).

The Purity website for its first 18 months since the changeover, was getting an average increase in visitors, by 15-20%, every month, based on visitor numbers from the month before. This accumulates to an increase of over 450% in web traffic over the year!

There really are massive numbers of things you can do to improve the natural search listings of your website, some are good, and others will actually damage your listing and may get your website blacklisted and thus removed entirely for at least 3 months from Google.

Techniques are also constantly changing, and things that work today, may not work tomorrow. The ‘art’ to effective SEO is very much an art form in itself, and the Search Engines themselves generally don’t like to share too much on what they’re doing next to help improve their search results. The general gist is quite simple though:

  • Design your website for a human user, not a search engine. What you do then isn’t likely to upset your position on search engines over time, but actually improve it. (‘Tricks’ to help fool search engines to give you higher rankings, normally backfire in the near future).
  • Ideally, use simple html code for the content, and CSS for the design. That way, if you think of a character screen reader, on dial-up, trying to view your website: If they can find their way around easily, and read your content, it’s likely the Search Engines will too.
  • Keep the content relevant, and up-to-date, and add new relevant content regularly (‘blogs’ are great for this).
  • Try to encourage real people and well positioned websites (ideally reputable news sources) to link to your website because they want to, because of your great website content.
  • Don’t be drawn in to spending money with companies who phone you, offering to improve your Search Rankings by listing you on their website, etc. Bad links to your website, and bad links from your website, can actually damage your web reputation (and thus your visitor numbers).
  • Keep things simple, and write in clean English (or of course other relevant languages) with content that’s relevant to your website. (Don’t add lists of keywords, just for the sake of it to try and help with search rankings.)

If you’d like to learn some more detailed information about SEO, please feel free to get in contact directly.

I was also fortunate to find some nicely listed SEO tips on another website page recently, that’s worth checking out if you design websites yourself.