Over the past 20 odd years, I have seen many Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques and trends come and go, SEO claims which were never verified and quite often I have seen clients spend hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on endless content writing and report submissions. But the techniques and trends that seem to stick and that ultimately get the results are just basic common sense. No trickery or magic, just pure focus on writing good content and providing a solid user experience.

I get many questions from clients, and potential new clients when discussing Search Engine Optimisation and there are a lot of myths about.

1 – Do we need hundreds of pages to rank high?

No! In fact, more and more we are seeing the opposite. Google (and other search engines) are constantly improving their algorithms and how they rank websites, they are ultimately becoming more and more savvy. The days have long gone where Google will rank your website above your competition because you have 50 pages of content compared to their measly 6 pages. If you want to buy a product or service, you shouldn’t (and wouldn’t) read through 50 pages of content to get the information you need, and this is recognised by Google and other search engines.

I took on a new client a year or so ago who had over 400 pages of content! The website had been around 10+ year. Whilst this Search Engine Optimisation technique worked back then, stuffing 400 pages of content full of keywords got them to the top of Google, in recent years found themselves not even in the top 10 pages. Now a website like that (without good reason) is classed as ‘spammy’. Also, we have taken on a hand full of local start-up businesses this summer and put brand new websites live for them with only 6 or 8 pages in total, and got them on pages 1, 2 and 3 of Google within just a couple of weeks.

Content will always be king, and no other technique/trend or trick will serve better than simply having good content on your website containing the keywords you wish to be found on. It is a case of quality over quantity.

2 – Can we optimise the site for as many keywords as we like?

In short, not really! Again, this goes back to the above point, its about quality content and not quantity. The more keywords you have, the more pages and content you will need (in order to be able to write these keywords in), after a while your content would become repetitive and you’d also risk creating confusing or a needless user experience rather than a simplistic one. Also, you would end up wasting your time writing content and focussing on some obscure keywords with very little search volumes against them.  You have to put yourself in your clients’ shoes when it comes to working out what it is they will type into Google to find your website. Remember that they are unlikely to be an expert in your industry and wont always use the same terms that you would.

3 – Is it good to register 10 domains to point to the same website?

Definitely not! Unless you have a specific purpose for each domain, i.e. a specific landing page for each one that focusses on a different service or keyword, that then points back to your main website, multiple domains will service no purpose. By all means register both the .com and .co.uk domains to protect your brand, but this alone will not increase your chances of appearing or ranking higher in search engines.

4 – How important is my score on various SEO reports?

I’ve had clients in the past who have spent a fair amount of money running their websites through various services and reporting tools and tied themselves in knots trying to get that A+ score. Whilst it’s always good (and standard practice when we build websites) to run a report and check for performance, it isn’t always the be all and end all! There are some obvious points to take note of, like ensuring your images are optimised and page speeds are fast, also most reporting tools will give a good steer on how well your content is optimised for your keywords. But as per the first point I made in this article, nothing trumps quality content. You can spend time on shaving that measly 2kb off each social media icon, or you could spend the time reviewing your content, and it’s the latter that will service you better when it comes to your Google rankings.

5 – Search Engine Optimisation is a one-off thing?

Nope! If you are serious about your website ranking top of Google for your search terms, Search Engine Optimisation is something you need to revisit month on month. As standard, we add what we call ‘Initial SEO’ into all of your quotes for client’s. This includes ensuring the website is built correctly to the latest W3C standards, ensuring the website scores highly for performance and spend, putting the correct meta tags in place and ensuring content (whether written by the client or us) has the keywords factored in. Once the new website goes live, it can take some weeks for this to be indexed in Google (that said, we have seen some very fast results recently). It is then a case of seeing where you rank for your keywords each month and doing further work for the lower ranking keywords to improve its performance.