SEO: Search Engine Optimisation


If you run a website, you have almost certainly heard of SEO – the occasionaly dark art of catapulting your site up the rankings onto the first page of Google search results – by fair means or foul.

These days, many of the technical shortcuts have been torpedoed by a series of extremely smart updates to Google’s search algorithms that weed out the cheats. The first of these were categorised by the codename Penguin and more recent updates variously as Panda, Hummingbird and Pigeon.

As well as improving search functionality and accuracy, all these updates aimed to sort the wheat from the chaff and only turn up websites whose content is recent, original, useful, accurate and detailed. Sites which use shortcuts and technical scams like copy-and-paste mirror sites, content scrapes or dubious linking strategies have paid a heavy price – tumbling down the search results rankings or even being completedly discounted by Google.

Effective SEO is increasingly about good content. Site design, architecture and – since April 2015 – mobile compatibility are all critically important, but once the techies have sorted this out, it all comes down to the quality of the content, how relevant it is to its audience and how frequently it is updated.

The articles and resources on your website need to hit a sweet spot that blends common sense with clear, unambiguous information in a logically structured framework. This information then needs to be presented in a format that reflects the way people search online.

Getting it right requires clear thinking and a sound understanding of how Google works. Keeping on top of it requires constant tweaking and monitoring of the content to make sure it continues to reach its target audience.

If you found this page through a Google search, it’s a fairly safe bet that Google likes the way it has been written.

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