Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or “how do I get my website seen in the search engines?” is not quite the dark art it used to be. In fact it has never been easier or more difficult depending on how you look at it and a few critical features of your website.
Having made a living out of SEO in Cornwall for over 10 years now I’ve seen the industry grow from being a cat and mouse game with the search engines to being a mature industry, essential to the health of many businesses. Whilst many may think the S and the O in SEO stand for snake and oil, the days of fly by night ‘experts’ are largely gone and a quantifiable best practices approach is becoming established.
Before continuing, it’s should be pointed out that no one can guarantee you a position in a search engine. All those adverts claiming to be able to ‘get your site into the top 10 of Google’, forget it, only Google can do that, and they don’t do SEO! The only guarantee we make is to apply best practices and so far this has given us outstanding results.
Why easier? Well in short as the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing develop better algorithms so they should have less difficulty finding relevant websites.
It would be nice if that was the end of the story and to some extent this is true but there are a number of issues that might prevent your site ranking. To the trained eye some are glaringly obvious and can be fixed in 5 minutes. Others require a concerted effort over several months.
The reason it may never have been more difficult to improve your website’s position is the same reason it may be easier. As the search engines become cleverer, they are harder to trick. In fact the use of ‘black hat’ search engine optimization techniques can actually get your site penalised these days.
To understand the way things are now it is worth running through a brief history of search engine optimisation. The theme that runs through this is a battle between the search engines and the SEOs – with the search engines just about managing to stay ahead of the SEOs