It was William Gibson who first popularised the word cyberspace in his seminal 1980s sci-fi novel, Neuromancer. Since then, the virtual world has become increasingly complex. People, companies and organisations now have a vast online presence, impossible to see all in one go, made up of huge amounts of interconnecting data. Websites, social media activity, links from other websites – all these combine to form patterns; patterns which can be used to order websites by popularity, authority and importance.
The problem is, people aren’t very good at seeing these patterns. The internet is so vast, so intricate, that there are claims it would take 57,000 years to read everything that’s on there – almost certainly an understatement. Instead, we rely on robotic web-crawlers – pieces of code which scour the internet for information. They read the web so we don’t have to, turning the data into search engine results pages on sites like Google.
All this is important because businesses rely on Google in getting people to actually see their website. If your site isn’t listed you are ultimately invisible, lost amongst the millions of other websites that make up the internet. Getting to page one of Google means your site will get more visitors, and more visitors mean more sales. Getting to the top of page one, even more so.
This is where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) comes in. Doing work on your website and increasing the network of information surrounding it on the internet can make it look more important in the eyes of Google and other search engines. This in turn moves you up the search results.
While it’s possible to do SEO on your own, things change. Google recently updated its algorithms in an attempt to improve the quality of its results. This means that SEO techniques that used to work could now be harmful to your website. Having thousands of links pointing at your site is great, but if they don’t look natural, Google will penalise the site, lowering its position in the search results. Working with a professional SEO company means you will always be using the most up-to-date strategies and the best companies will protect you from future changes, as well.
In addition to link building, a lot of SEO involves work on the website itself. As web-crawler robots lack any kind of intelligence, they find well-designed sites much easier to read and ‘understand’. Rewriting the titles and descriptions associated with particular pages, or changing the copy to display certain keywords can help, as long as we also remember that our audience isn’t really a piece of web-crawling code. A site should primarily be optimised for people – they are the ones who buy things, after all. Having well-written content will help people know what your site is about and may encourage more people to link to you.
Choosing the right keywords is also essential. It’s no use being number one when people search for ‘ninja training Japan’ if you are an insurance salesman from Ipswich.
Some companies will guarantee that your site will be number one in Google, but beware – no sensible SEO agency would guarantee that. A lot of these companies will get you to number one, sure, but for a completely useless search term that no one uses. A genuine company will work with you to identify the most appropriate keywords to target and show you the progress you are making month on month.
To move your website from the murky edges of cyberspace to a prominent position on Google, contact us at KPI. We offer a free consultation on your site’s web presence and can offer all manner of advice on how to improve your place in the search results.