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What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

February 27, 2013

Michael Greenwood

Michael Greenwood, the MyTrade.TV Digital Marketing Director, ponders the right approach to search engine optimisation (SEO) which entails gaining better Google, Yahoo and Bing rankings:

Lots of people who I talk to have something to say about SEO.  I’ve been in the web design and internet marketing industry for many years and have seen the landscape change a lot.  The most obvious thing that I’ve noticed is that business owners are now much more clued up in terms of SEO than they once were and competition is much tougher.  Just a few years ago it was quite easy to rank even the most difficult key words and search terms in the popular search engines but this trend has changed.  But what exactly do we need to do to optimise a website to rank better in Google who have thrown algorithmic updates such as Panda and Penguin at us.  Is SEO really worth it these days?

Well, the first thing I’d say is that if you’re going to hire a SEO company to work on your website you should do your research and gain a certain amount of knowledge to assist you in making a buying decision.  You need to choose the right SEO company for the job.  But how do you know who to choose? Do you choose those companies with the best rankings? Well, perhaps not – perhaps their results will be short term because they are tricking Google?  It can be a minefield but for the rest of this article I explain precisely my approach to SEO and how I have helped many business achieve the positions that they deserve in Google, Yahoo and Bing!



The approach

When a prospective client approaches me for a SEO quotation I find out as much about their business as possible.  Then I find out about their competitors.  I am honest with the prospect and tell them that I believe that the first page of Google should be occupied by businesses that deserve to be there.  This is because you’ll tend to find that the top ranking websites will be linked to by other websites which have some authority.  These links are often referred to as “back links”.  These are like votes that show Google which websites that they should rank well.


An example

I shall give you an example.  Company A’s owner had only been trading 1 year and worked as an apprentice for 4 years before starting up on his own.  In total, he has 5 years experience.  Company B’s owner has 20 years experience and started his company 12 years ago.  Both company A and company B’s websites are only 1 year old but the owner of company B teaches his trades at a university half a day per week, Company A’s owner does not.  The university have agreed to provide a back link to their high authority university website to his website.  Additionally, Company B undertook certification and membership to various industry websites.  The has paid fees and taken examples.  His website is listed in the directory sections.  Company B also keeps a blog where he writes about topical themes in his industry which people might be interested in, link to and share with their friends and colleagues.  He shares these stories on Twitter and his Facebook page and uses them as references on LinkedIn as a resource link for extra information when he answers questions on there.  Company B’s websites ranked better than Company A’s which is just a simple website.  The owner of Company A signed up to a few business web directories when the website was first launched but hasn’t done anything since.  Company B paid a web developer to create an online tool to work out estimates.  It is a useful tool which other websites link to.  This is a technique referred to as “link baiting” and is a very creative part of SEO.  Company B also found another business owner who is the a related but non-competing field to him and saw an opportunity for synergy.  Company B’s website and the other website now add value to each others’ offerings by advertising each others businesses.  Both businesses now get more work as a result of this and the Google positions are helped too.


The nitty gritty

As you can see from this example an online presence must be worked on and since competitors will be making efforts to improve their online presence, our efforts and the amount of work that it takes is relative to our competitors.  Any business decision maker is aware that they must know their position in the market and SEO is no different to this but SEO is not the be all and end all.  There are other elements of digital marketing that matter when it comes to ranking a website and you need to know how to capture leads that come in from targeted hits as a result of SEO.  For instance, everyone knows that you should have a contact form on your website but did you know that changing field names and adding or taking away certain input fields can make a huge difference to your conversions.  If you have a few landing pages for different offers how are you tracking these? Are you using web analytics? What about call tracking software with different numbers for each landing pages? Are you using online video?  These are all questions that a good digital marketer should ask of their prospective clients.  So when you are seeking a SEO company to help you with your website you should consider what you will be getting for your money.  Some SEO practitioners might have a very basic approach to SEO and write some content and distribute it into their usual set of article directories, social media sites, press release sites and so on.  This is fine to an extent but isn’t really what I would call SEO.  I would call this article marketing or writing and distributing a press release….these are part of SEO but a professional, experienced SEO practitioner will approach each project from a top-down perspective, cover every angle, get to know the landscape, develop a strategy, get creative and implement, then test and so on – it’s an iterative process.  You’ll tend to find that the best SEO professionals will choose to work with clients who really believe in their business and want it to grow to its full potential.

I hope this has been helpful and if you’d like to have a chat about your SEO strategy then I’m available direct on 07702 946224.  If you’d like me to cover a particular digital marketing topic with my MyTrade.TV blog posts then don’t hesitate to let me know.

Best wishes,

Michael Greenwood

Digital Marketing Director of MyTrade.TV

Read more about SEO in my blog I cover other areas of digital marketing in there too including social media branding, reputation management online, email marketing and much, much more.  Don’t forget to signup to my newsletter too – I give away even more SEO advice in there too!

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