Search Engine Optimisation: What Works?

There is a great deal of information available on the Internet about search engine optimisation (SEO). However, it can be hard to sort the facts from the fluff, with some of the information out there being inaccurate, some misinformed and outdated, and some just plain wrong.

SEO is by its nature an inexact science. As a means of propelling websites up the search engine rankings, its best practices are inextricably linked with what the major search engines are doing at any given time. And that can change on a monthly or even weekly basis.

What search engines such as Google and Bing are trying to do is make their results correspond with what web users are looking for as accurately as possible, and to this end they’re constantly tweaking and overhauling their algorithms. The role of search marketing and SEO agencies is to interpret those changes as closely as possible (the search engines are notoriously secretive about their precious algorithms) and optimise their clients’ websites accordingly.

However, there are certain constants which have been true of SEO for some time and are likely to remain true for the foreseeable future:

  • Quality: As the Internet has evolved, an increasing amount of importance has been put on quality by the search engines. Naturally, web users want high quality content, and search engines are in the business of pleasing web users, so quality is a requirement that is unlikely to change any time soon. Quality websites that are user friendly, quality content that is useful and engaging. Quality, all the way.
  • Popularity: As a measure of judging quality, popularity is fairly reliable. That’s why the search engines put a great deal of stock on how many links there are to your site (particularly from sites which are themselves popular), how long people stay at your site and other useful indicators that suggest that you’re one of the cool kids.
  • Relevance: When people search online, they’re looking for something specific. The search engine’s task is to find the most relevant pages to any given query. The role of your SEO agency is to ensure that your website is as relevant to your customers’ search queries as humanly possible.

Regardless of the current trends in search engine optimisation, if you aim to create quality content that is popular and relevant, you can’t go too far wrong. And if you need an acronym, it’s QPR (with apologies to Chelsea fans).

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