Content is still King with Search Engine Optimisation.(SEO)


I recall launching my business website in 1995, AltaVista (now Yahoo) search engine had developed a foothold. (The first search engine was Archie that had its origins in USA college campuses.)  In 1995 there were only some 23,500 web sites worldwide, to give a perspective, today we are edging to 300 million sites. In the early days being seen was not an issue, matters like search engine optimisation (SEO) were nascent and really only emerged in 1997. Some webmasters soon realised to build traffic that stuffing pages with meta tags would give a web site ranking prominence.  Unscrupulous webmasters would use competitor names as hidden meta tags to drive traffic, such was the wild west mentality, there were no rules or precedents.

In 1998 Google arrived with the development of a proprietary mathematical algorithm to determine page ranking. I remember talking to my team in 1998 as we discussed how great this new Google search engine was, but commented how do they make money out of this for something that is free? I guess; fast forward 15 or so years that has been asked and answered emphatically in a spectacular way.

As this algorithm has evolved solving its complexities is the holy grail of businesses that specialise in SEO consultation. The charges for these services can be eye watering for sometimes variable performance and doubtful measurable outcomes. It is believed that Google make on average 1 to 2 tweaks to the algorithm daily.  The mix of variables and weighting in determining of page ranking is a conundrum.

Regardless it is evident that Google looks to reward quality sites that provide worthwhile content for users, not favouring those gaming the process and only focused on beating the search engines. What may have worked previously like harvesting paid links is likely to see rankings penalised as opposed to promoting genuine links which will be rewarded. I find it disturbing that such practices are still peddled by people that should know better.

Useful tools including Google Console should be implemented, these are worthwhile pragmatic solutions.  It should not be forgotten that Microsoft Bing has circa 20% of the search market, despite Google’s dominance. Ultimately with quality content on your site and utilising a comprehensive marketing strategy involving a combination of elements including direct marketing and social media to maximise desirable traffic to your site will always win out with SEO. (We have determined a number of best practice policies with SEO that make for better websites, this is beyond the scope of this blog.)

The relevance of SEO in 2016 has exercised my mind extensively, what is self-evident from those halcyon days of 1995 there are no constants, disruption is the pervading normal with our Internet interaction and with the new disruptors, such as chatbots and the Internet of Things (IOT) cracking the Google algorithm will remain an enigma. 

Gavin Bennett