Awareness of Search Engine Optimisation has moved from the geek-sphere to the commonplace. Anyone vaguely in the trade will be familiar with the shift — people at social gatherings will now happily sidle up and ask ‘what should I be doing about my SEO?’
Our answer has shifted over time, as the web matures and people have become wise to the smoke and mirrors of the early generation of ‘SEO gurus’, we’ve focused less on SEO as a separate activity and more on the way good practise, effective structure and great content will naturally keep the search engines interested.
More and more of this can be taken as read with a well-crafted website from an established developer and built on a suitable web platform. There are many, many things you can do behind the scenes to keep the search engines interested …but many of these now simply fall out of a good development process.
The single best thing you can do for SEO is to have great content. Just as the single best thing a football team can do to get noticed is to play great football. If you have something interesting to say, people will be interested. And if people are interested, the chances are the search engines will want to find and promote you.
Nobody wants to back a loser, and that’s how you should think about the search engines. They like a flutter — see Google’s ‘I’m feeling Lucky’ button — but mostly they back the winners. And winners have great content.
Make sure your website has the basics covered — useful tagging, image tags, a good rich structure that’s easily crawled, headings that match the content — but don’t try and be something you’re not. Be yourself, and be excellent.