21 August 2015 - Graham Carroll

SEO – So you want to be number 1?

Number 1 on the first page of a Google Search – it’s what we’re all looking for in life really, isn’t it?

Even when putting my own name into the goliath Search Engine Google I remembered my glee when I noticed I had pipped the other Gillian Hunt, the American photographer to the top spot.

Yes indeed, this Gillian Hunt was once upon a time a Number 1 Google Search Result. One of my biggest claims to fame – maybe… achievements – well perhaps not. To be honest I had little or no idea why my LinkedIn Profile was ranking above any other search result in Google, but it still made me smile!

For an individual the need to be the number one search result may just be an ego thing **cough cough** but for a business it can mean the difference between success and failure, life and death, kick ass Christmas parties or tea for one… you get the picture.

Being found on the internet by potential customers is key for a thriving business in today’s world. And that’s where SEO comes to the party.

The basics of SEO – Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation, so really what is it? SEO in its simplest form is a marketing discipline which primary focus is to increase the visibility of a search engine result of your business.

Now to do it well you need to look at both the technical and creative aspects of your website. But with a strategy in place genuine SEO can improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines.

Sounds easy doesn’t it?

And some of it is; Search Engines want users to find what they are looking for but they need to know your business is the most, or one of the most relevant results given the search terms/words entered into that little white box.

SEO has a specific set of tactics in it’s toolkit endorsed by the Search Engines that allow their technology to easily crawl your website picking up and indexing all the relevant information, (Read more on some of these techniques).

That’s one component of SEO “optimising” the relevancy of the site. But hey kids SEO is not all about ensuring you are presented accurately on the web, so search engines can match your relevancy to a search. Oh no… now not only do you need to be relevant, but you need to be popular too! What the?!

Domain Authority

Yes Search Engines decided if your content is shared or linked to from other sites than this is worth a higher ranking particularly if those sites themselves have a high “Authority”. What the hell is Authority I hear you ask?

Well just like the real world online authority suggests power and control, a site with a high domain authority is listened to by users, people read, engage with, share and link to these type of sites and Google award that site for well… being popular.

When a popular site with high domain authority links to your site **Bing** your ranking is improved. It’s just like hanging round with the cool kids or even the cool kids mentioning you while they chat to their cool kid friends.

Feel like you’re in school again? Well it’s not far off it, relevance and popularity is what it’s all about and any SEO strategy worth its salt is going to influence just this, how relevant you are by optimising the site and popular by getting your site links out there into the interwebs.

Mobile Optimisation

So I have been keeping up to date with SEO standards and tweaking my site, linking back to it and getting my content out there in the web, basically trying my very best and then someone mentions mobile. WHAT? With significant Web traffic coming from mobile devices, companies cannot afford to ignore the mobile Web and yet many still do.

For Google, mobile comprised almost half of all traffic from June to November, with 52 percent coming from desktops and 48 percent from mobile. (Read more on mobile and browsers stats.)

That’s a lot of mobile users getting online and you know it because you’re one of them. And suddenly the game has changed for all those sites who have not thought about mobile. As of Tuesday, April 21, 2015, Google has made a massive change to the way it ranks websites. How massive? Seemingly some people were calling it the “Mobilegeddon”, which could be a slight over reaction.

But maybe not, if your website is not mobile friendly Google have said themselves:

“it will have a significant impact in our search results”.

So SEO is not just about relevancy and popularity or certainly not just on desktop, all of that now needs to be applied to the mobile web.   

So is your site mobile ready? Test it here and see how you rate. 

We had to try it ourselves and ohh look… The Friday Agency is AWESOME, but of course we are, that’s our business (and just us… we’re just awesome).

Friday-Mobile-Ready

Responsive Design

So what can you do after some good SEO strategies and your site is rating reasonably well on a desktop search but lost down a dark lane of a mobile search? Google’s number 1 suggestion for mobile optimisation is Responsive Design.

We have spoken at length about Responsive Design in our Journal Mobile Apps or Responsive Websites Responsive Web Development (see what I did there… linking back to our site, good SEO).

Basically it’s building one site that fits all, one URL, one website that adapts for phone, tablet and desktop. Other options are dynamic serving, where Google sniffs out what device is searching and serves up different HTML, but even Google says this can be error prone.

Of course there is also the Mobile site which was one of the earliest mobile optimisation strategies. But seriously all this sounds like too much work 2 sites, 2 builds, 2 SEO maintenance works to be constantly updating. I’m tired just thinking about it.

Responsive design – One site, built for all, users like it, Google really likes it and of course SEO marketers like it. It’s a simple concept, but so many businesses are still playing catch up.

Now you may think I have been unfairly Google centric on this post, but really, with all devices included, StatCounter Report’s for the last quarter Google has over 93% of the Search Usage in Ireland and just over 90% Globally… so I thought I might just do that, focus on the big guns, it’s all about relevancy and popularity after all.

 StatCounter-search_engine-ww-monthly-201505-201507-bar

If you need help with SEO or optimising your site for mobile through Responsive design and development, give us a shout – it’s what we do.