Are you aware of the latest changes to SEO and its impact on a website's success?

For those of you who work in the digital industry, you would probably answer yes. But do you ever consider how little others know? Probably not and you might not realise the power you possess.

Many people – regardless of their profession – would consider themselves to be tech savvy. You probably spend your working day in front of a computer and use social media to interact with friends. Your organisation’s success might be reliant on its web presence and you could even be responsible for your company’s growth through online sales and e-marketing. But many people who are directly involved in growing a business online may not realise they are potentially shooting themselves in the foot, let alone be aware of how they have unintentionally allowed this self-harm to occur.

I must add that my intention is not to arrogantly shame competent people for not being aware of “another” change to Google’s SEO guidelines. Instead I hope to open a debate about what an organisation can realistically do to navigate this ever-changing world, without disrupting their core activities. Furthermore I want to remind those in the tech industry of the value in their knowledge, given the disparity between themselves and business people whose organisation is directly reliant on its website’s success, let alone the average Joe on the street.

It is known that Google directly affects the success of websites by adjusting the required steps necessary to ensure effective SEO. Many methods which would circumvent Google’s SEO guidelines can no longer be used. Previous methods, such as positioning SEO relevant words on your home page in the same colour as the page, have subsequently caused websites to be banished to distant pages as a form of punishment. These so called “black hat” techniques were an easy way for new websites to rapidly fly up the search rankings. However, since Google started to crack down on “black hat” techniques, it has become harder to fool Google algorithms into improving your search rankings. This is common knowledge for many, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people are unaware of the changes.

So what is the SEO solution?

SEO is not going away and Google will continue to introduce changes to their algorithms which calculate a site’s ranking. Thankfully, Google has improved its communication and its most recent update regarding mobile optimisation was announced on Twitter. I hope that by doing so, business people are kept up to date and react accordingly. This does not mean that the business community does not need assistance in ensuring optimum web presence. In fact the opposite is true, as clumsy “black hat” techniques (as discussed previously) will cause greater harm, whereas a skilled SEO content writer (and SEO specialists) will work to ensure good positioning is achieved.

Unfortunately there was rapid growth in companies that could help with SEO in the late noughties, which gave rise to disreputable companies who simply exploited the knowledge gap. However in recent years the skills required have dissuaded the cowboys who are after a quick buck and the cowboys either, burnt the black hat and learnt how to provide correct SEO advice, or have been run out of town! Yeehaw!

Free advice is available via blogs and articles, should you wish to do it yourself and many reputable courses exist to help you further. But if you don’t have the time nor the inclination then there are many companies who can help. If your company is reliant on its web presence then you have to ask yourself “can I afford to not optimise my SEO potential?”.

As I was told many years ago, a website is like a shop and Google is the city, with the first position on page one being the most sort after and visible address. How many times have you searched for a service and did not bother to visit page two, let alone page three? That is why it is imperative to position your business where your customers can find you, otherwise your business will never be visited. And for those of you who work in the digital industry, don’t forget you may well possess the knowledge to make it happen.

The Design Bench - Helping Businesses Succeed in South Wales

The Design Bench is a full-service design agency based in South Wales dedicated to crafting design experiences that reflect our client’s uniqueness to maximise audience participation.

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Are you aware of the latest changes to SEO and its impact on a website’s success?

Stuart Lamacraft

About Stuart Lamacraft

Stuart is the Creative Director and founding partner of The Design Bench.

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