I was deeply contemplating  SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) the other day and as I contemplated over the principles, practices and perceptions, I could not help but feel that SEO truly is an art. A digital art, and so as a cheesy pun I thought this week I would write my blog on SEO and the art of SEO.

In the past year I have trained many people on SEO, and each time I trained a group of people I would always ask them a question to begin with, a simple looking question that has a hundred answers.

“What is the Internet?”

Think about this for just one moment… Now when I asked this question I would always get hit with people giving me the purpose of the Internet but no one really knew what it was. But intriguingly the number of times I heard “Google” is the Internet was amazing, so this got me thinking, people think Google is the Internet so “search” for them is the primary function of the Internet.

If Google is being perceived as the Internet to many modern day browsers and search is their primary function of using the Internet that means optimising websites for search engines could never have been more important. Just think about it, traditionally businesses go out to customers, reaching them with promotions and adverts, expensive campaigns and sponsorship. But the Internet has delivered an avenue where customers are searching for products and services, as a business owner this is very exciting, people are searching for my products everyday, with an active purchase intention. That’s great!

But this is where the art comes in, how to get my website in the top 10 results of search engines to get a slice of that delicious pie which is buzzing with users wanting my product.

Before actually looking at the art I want to outline, search engines are businesses with a product. Their product is to deliver the most relevantreliable and accessible search results. SEO is the process that shows search engines your website and online business presence is the most relevant, reliable and accessible in relation to the search that people are putting in.

Spiders/Bots/Crawlers: These are the search engines henchmen that read websites and determine who should be in those top 10 positions. So how to get those results:

SEO revolves around 2 main elements:
1. On-page Optimisation
2. Off-page Optimisation

On-page is focused around your actual website as an entity, the content, structure, keyword density, domestic links and design. Most people will commit suicide the fact I have included design in that list, but contact me if you want to debate over that.

Off-page is focused around how external sources link to your website and the weighting of those sources, different links give different value so simply having 1 million links could mean nothing unless they have a high value. Also not in the distant past social media was considered a part of off-page optimisation, but with that exploding it has its own realm now SMO (Social Media Optimisation), but that’s for another blog.

Now personally my philosophy is simple, “get your own house in order before stepping out”, this essentially means, get your basics right, don’t buy a gazillion links before you have even looked at the content on your own website. SEO is an art because it is fragile and is process driven and if you take shortcuts you will not nowhere.

To finish once I was training a group of individuals and at the end of the session, there was a lady and she looked like if she had seen a ghost. I asked her “Whats the matter…are you OK?” she replied “It truly is a whole new world the Internet, I never knew the potential”