Search engine optimisation – it’s easy if you try

9 April 2015

With every woman and her dog using Google as the ‘home page’ of the internet we all want to be on page 1 of every search engine's results.

Google doesn’t make this easy. We have to contend with a zoo of Pandas, Penguins, Hummingbirds and Freds ready to relegate us to the hinterland of SERP page 2, 3 or even 4 (or worse) if we don’t play by Google’s rules.

Metadata is out. Link building is in – but only if you make legitimate and worthy links from credible websites. Government sites are best. 

Start building ‘bad’ links and you’re out on your ear, back on page 4 again.

What is the secret to good SEO?

Sadly, there’s no silver bullet, but there is a fairly simple exercise you can try that will definitely bump you up the results ladder, as long as you don’t use it in anger. Google knows when you’re not playing nicely.

Most SEO boffins will tell you, and Google will agree that the best way to get good SEO results is to publish good content eg, an interesting article, a useful calculator or a viral video.

And who am I to disagree?

But I’d go a little bit further.

Just because your content is good or interesting or useful, doesn’t mean it’s always going to rank well. You can give it a little bit of help with my favourite SEO, and web content management technique – consistency.

Google (and other search engines, let’s not be too one-eyed here) looks a number of elements when ranking web pages:

If all of these elements use consistent terms to describe the page and its content, and if your page content remains true to those terms (yes, these are your keywords), then searches in Google (et al) using those terms should return that page fairly high in the SERP.

There is one other page element you might want to spend some quality time with. Although Google no longer pays any attention to the <meta name=”description”> attribute for searches, it often displays the meta description text as the blurb under the page name in the SERP. Google might not read the description, but your customers will.

OK, you might want to polish up the meta descriptions too.

I know this all sounds a bit pedestrian and basic (and painstakingly nit-picky), but I tried this technique on the website of an Australian tier-one utility provider not long ago and saw improvements to our SERP rankings almost right away.

Some of our pages jumped 20 to 30 places in their SERP ranking.

So don’t despair if your content isn’t the latest ‘killer app’, the most popular video YouTube has ever seen or the coolest calculator this side of the FX-86 (that’s an 80s maths class reference for the Gen Xers), with some simple content tweaking your pages could be up there with the Google stars.