Why SEO work and specifically Indexing requires a complex blend of skills
If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. Getting
a companies name and products, or services, onto the first
page of a genuine
search isn’t a trivial piece of
work. In fact, there are four distinct skills that a search
engine optimizer needs to possess. Most people possess one
or maybe two of these skills, very rarely do people posses
all four. In truth, to get all four, people who are good
at two of these need to actively develop the other skills.
Now, if you are running your own business, do you really
have the time to do this? Best use of your
Specifically the four skills needed for SEO work are:
Web Design – producing visually attractive pages
HTML coding - developing Search Engine friendly coding
that sits behind the web design
Copy writing – producing the actual readable
text on the page
Marketing – what are the actual searches that
are being used, what key words actually get more business
for your company?
Many website designers produce more and ever more eye-catching
designs with animations and clever rollover buttons hoping
to entice the people onto their sites. That is the first
big mistake; using designs like these will actually
decrease your chances of a high
rating. Yes, that’s right; all that money you have paid for the website design
could be wasted since no-one will ever find your site.
The reason for that is because before you get people to your
site you need to get the spiderbots to like your site.
Spiderbots are pieces of software used by the search engine
companies to trawl the Internet looking at all the websites,
and then having reviewed those sites, they use complex
algorithms to rank the sites. Some of the complex
techniques used by web designers cannot be trawled by
spiderbots. They come to your site, look at the HTML code
and exit stage right, without even bothering to rank your
site. So, you will not be found on any meaningful search.
I am dazed and amazed how many times I look at websites and
immediately know they are just waste of money. The trouble
is that both the web designers and the company that paid the
money really do not want to know this. In fact, now I have
stopped playing the messenger of bad news (too many
shootings!); I now work round the problem. So, optimizing a
website to be
friendly is often a compromise between
a visually very attractive site and one that is easy to find site.
The second skill is that of optimizing the actual HTML
code to be spiderbot friendly. I put this as different
to the web design because you really do need to be down and
dirty in the code rather than using an editor like
FrontPage, which is OK for website design. This skill takes
lots of time and experience to develop, and just when you
think that you have cracked it, the search engine companies
change the algorithms used to calculate how high your site
will appear in the search results.
That is no place for even the most enthusiastic amateur.
Results need to be constantly monitored, pieces of code
added or removed, and checks kept on what the competition
are doing. Many people who design their own website feel
they will get searched because it looks good, and totally
miss out this step. Without a strong technical
understanding of how spiderbots work, you will always
struggle to get your company on the first results page in
Thirdly, I suggested that copy writing is a skill in its own
right. That is the writing of the actual text that
people coming to your site will read. Spiderbots like Inktomi, love text but only when written well in proper English. Some people try to stuff
their site with keywords, while others put white writing on
white space (so spiderbots can see it but humans cannot).
Spiderbots are very sophisticated and not only will
not fall for these tricks, also they may actively penalise your
site – that is sandboxing. takes
new sites and naughty sites and effectively sin-bins them
for 3-6 months, you can still be found but not until results
page 14 – really useful! In addition to good English, the
spiderbots are also reading the HTML code, so the copy
writer also needs an appreciation of the interplay between
the two. My recommendation for anyone copy writing their
own site is to write normal, well-constructed English
sentences that can be read by machine and human alike.
The final skill is marketing, after all that is what
we are doing – marketing you site and hence company and
products/services on the World Wide Web. The key here is to set the
site up to be accessible to the searches that will provide
most business to you. I have seen many sites that can be
found if you key in the company name. Others that can be
found by keying in “Accountant Manchester North-West
England”, which is great, except no-one ever actually does
that search. So the marketing skill requires knowledge of a
company’s business, what they are really trying to sell and
knowledge of what actual searches may provide
I hope you will see that professional Search Engine
Optimization companies need more than a bit of web design to
improve your business. Make sure anyone you choose for
SEO work can cover all the bases.
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