SEO is not about ranking in Google

Search Engine Optimisation is not about ranking well in Google. (SEO Theory, Lessons I Have Learnt, Michael Martinez) Search Engine Optimisation is about ensuring your site is structured in such a way that the search engines can quickly and efficiently index your content in their databases without incurring penalties.

What is optimisation?

Ranking well in search engine results or site optimisation consists of activities which promote the delivery of content and processes which

  1. Answer questions people are asking
  2. Allow easy interaction with your site
  3. Builds confidence in your ability to deliver and support them as customers
  4. And ensure they can purchase your offerings with a minimum of fuss and bother.

Why optimise?

The better you are at doing that then the greater the likelihood that search algorithms will start to recognise a relationship between your content and the ability to answer people’s questions. And that is what the search engines are looking for – businesses that can provide answers to the questions people are asking.

Content and structure is only one side of the equation. Search engines do not care one jot whether you conform to the keyword densities or whatever is the current fad. What they care about is being perceived as providing a relevant, fast and fresh search experience which encourages people to return to their service, time and again. (Page 2, The Art of SEO 2nd Ed, 2012)

Search engines make their money out of advertising and they need visitor volume and usage. They achieve that though a perception that they are relevant. It is immaterial to Google or any search engine for that matter, whose site is the most relevant. They care that what they display is relevant to the searcher. It is your task to make your site relevant. The only arbiters of relevancy are people responding to search results – clicking through to your site.

How to optimise – a brief overview of a complex task

Start by understanding your customers and the questions they are asking. Develop content which will answer those questions. Document your requirements then seek the assistance of the service providers by asking them to tell you how they would implement your requirements. If you are unsure about their suggestions, ask questions. Compare their responses with other service providers. Read, research and investigate. The key question is does this solution help me answer my customers questions and does it do so in a way that makes them happy?

Once you have selected the service provider you wish to work with, establish a relationship and make sure that both parties understand their roles and responsibilities. Ensure that whatever you agree to is in writing and is measurable.

Make sure that you know what outcomes you wish to achieve and that you can measure them. If they are not working, investigate and amend.

Finally, commit to working at your digital presence on an ongoing basis and do not expect instant success. As I heard one successful person say, “Her overnight success was ten years in the making”.

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