SEO - the Google Way

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Google is all about relevance - it has built its global reputation as a useful search tool by refining its searching and matching algorithms to deliver search results that are relevant to the end-user. Therefore, to make the most of Google's considerable power and reach, we need to convince it that for given search terms, our target site will be a worthwhile place for a user to visit. The more relevance Google detects for a given search term, the higher it will rank your site.

In order to establish relevance, we simply play the game Google's way. We recommend and employ some simple techniques, for example :

  • identify your key search terms (the terms people would use if they were looking for a site like yours)
  • select, if possible, a relevant and descriptive domain name
  • use relevant and descriptive page names
  • place key search terms near the top of content pages
  • use key terms in buttons and other links on your site
  • establish links to (and from!) relevant content on related sites
  • submit a properly-formed XML sitemap to Google to assist in the indexing process
  • update your content and sitemap regularly - to Google, freshness suggests relevance

In addition, there are some significant DONT's in the Google playbook:

  • DON'T try to fool Google - it's seen it all before, it's way ahead of you and it could penalise you
  • DON'T get into link exchanges with so-called link farms - this is irrelevant rubbish, diluting your Google cred
  • DON'T try to be everything to everyone - understand your own position and focus on your target audience

bear in mind that organic SEO can take a while (usually three to six weeks) to take effect. This is because, although Google's indexing engines are hard at work 24/7, it may take a while for a given site to be evaluated or re-evaluated. Remember that Google's own success relies entirely on the quality of information it returns in its end-user search results, so it needs to continually evaluate your site against your chosen search terms, and to compare it with its competitors.

What about SEM?

 A LOT of people subscribe to Google's pay-per-click service, in which site owners essentially bid for and "lease" a given search term for a given geographical domain. These pay-per-click search results are presented in Google separately from the conventional, organic results - and you may have noticed that the pay-per-click search results are usually way less relevant to the user than their organic counterparts.

So, why pay Google or the many third-party resellers for SEM when you can apply some thought and planning to your website design to get great results from free, organic SEO?

Top tips:

  1. Think of Google as a way to deliver qualified leads - think quality, not quantity.
  2. Keep your site content fresh and relevant to promote yourself to Google.
  3. Be patient with your SEO effort - remember that it's a gradual and organic process

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