The Fickleness of Search Engine Optimisation

As a website owner you undoubtedly want to get your website displaying high up in the search results. I’m often asked how to do that and although we don’t specialise in Search Engine Optimisation we have picked up quite a few tips along the way.

yes-noThere are a few key data to help get your website higher into the search results but in my opinion there is no exact science and sure-fire way of doing this.

A case in point – we have a page on our website headed Web Design in East Grinstead. This is to help get our website listed for anyone who searches for a local website designer and to show the visitor the various companies that we’ve helped in the East Grinstead area.

As an aside, this is a practice used by others who aren’t based in the town. You’ll find a company based in Haywards Heath and one in Brighton who also have a similar page – not such a stretch because they are at least in the same county – and one in Cheshire!

Back to Google … up until recently the page was displaying in the results about 4th position on the first page. This wasn’t bad considering two of the companies above us are companies that we work with, so it was a win-win scenario.

For the last couple of weeks, for what appears to be no reason whatsoever, the page disappeared from the search results! Or at least it was somewhere on page 5 or 6 which is no help at all.

Having scratched our heads and pulled out a little hair, checked analytics, checked what changed on the page…. we couldn’t see what would have caused the page to disappear so drastically down the results.

And today? It’s number 3 on the first page of results. After making no changes at all!

This leads me to the title of the article – the fickleness of Search Engine Optimisation. I’m sure there are SEO specialists who will guarantee you first page position, but watch out and check their testimonials before hiring.

To summarise there are some key data to help get our website listed, but won’t necessarily guarantee it:

1. Ensure the Title Tag is relevant and includes good keywords. The Title Tag is the bit at the top of the window and also the part that shows up in the search results with the link to your website.

2. Ensure the Meta-Description tag is well written. This is some text that is hidden from the viewer but is seen by search engines. It’s also the text that appears in the search results below the link to your website.

3. Get your website listed in as many directories as possible. This would include industry specific directories – for example we’re listed in a number of website design directories. Some of these are free and some you may have to pay for – but don’t pay too much – the main purpose of these is to provide links back to your website (something Google considers important).

4. Swap links with other websites that are relevant to your website. Don’t just swap links with every Tom, Dick and Harry – especially not with websites that are just links as these are penalised by Google. They should be links that your visitors may find useful. The more links coming to your website the more Google thinks you’re important.

5. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn to interact with the people. Make regular, pertinent updates and make sure your website is prominently featured.

6. Update your website on a regular basis with special offers, latest news etc. Keep it active!

Lastly, we talk about Google as if it is an entity with thoughts and a maker of decisions, but the Google search system is only a computer program written by computer programmers. And as such we are the effect of how this is programmed – what rules these programmers enter to get the results that you do. The trick is to do our best to work within the rules to get as good a result as possible.

However, nothing beats a well written advert placed in a relevant publication with your website address on it!

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Posted in Website Design.