Website designers and search engine optimizers. Website optimization by the leading search engine optimizer in Europe. Divadani Design talks to Paul Herbert about optimizing websites for the search engines.

As search engine optimizers go, you won't find anyone who has a fuller understanding or greater comprehension of the search engines and optimization techniques than Paul Herbert CEO of the Where On Earth Group.

In the past, Divadani Design has tried numerous search engine optimizers with mixed and disappointing results. As a leading international website design company, we have always preferred to stick to our knitting and concentrate on what we do best, which is website design.

Search engine optimization is a specialist skill and until we started working with the search engine optimization arm of Where On Earth, we had believed that genuine high search engine rankings were out of reach and out of our control. Now we believe that gaining top ten positions on the search engines are possible, no matter how big the task.

BEST SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZER

Paul Herbert doesn't like the title of best search engine optimizer in Europe and says the mantle does not sit comfortably with him. A straight talking, private man that does not seek the limelight, he reluctantly agreed to this interview with a few provisos. No photographs, no personal questions, no questions about the company's closely guarded optimization techniques.

Understandably, he is scathing about many optimization companies, most of whom he says make wild claims about using legitimate techniques and achieving top ten rankings. One gets the impression that this is a man you do not want to upset in any shape or form.

We put a few questions to Paul to try and dispel some of the myths behind optimizing a website and optimization techniques.

Q. Why are you able to get websites into the top ten of Google when other search engine optimizers we have used were unsuccessful?

A. That's actually two questions. Most search engine optimizers are just chancers out to make money from people's ignorance and use techniques that are published on the Internet and only work on uncompetitive key words and phrases that are totally useless where Google has several million pages indexed. Search engine optimizers who really know their business, like us, don't publish their techniques. Only companies, who have taken the trouble to research the search engines, truly understand how they work.

Q. Can someone optimize a website by choosing the right keywords and meta tags.

A. In theory yes, if they are in a non-competitive market but keywords and meta tags play only a small part in how a major search engine will choose to rank a site. Only a Moron would think that that was all there was to search engine optimization. Where Google and the other major search engines have tens or even hundreds of millions of pages indexed, you really need to know what you are doing.

Q. So all these emails we receive advising us how to optimize websites are wrong?

A. Total bollocks is how I would describe most of it. Most of it is rubbish and just taken from other garbage published on the Internet. Do you honestly think, where Google has a hundred million pages indexed, you can suddenly propel a website past all the other websites jockeying for position, to the top of Google with a few keywords and met tags. If it was that simple, you would never see a website at the top of a search engine for longer than ten minutes. Much of what you read in these emails is lifted from our website anyway but because we don't explain our methodology and how and why it works, these wasters who send out these emails put their own stupid twist to the theories.

Q. So all the advice you read on forums and other websites are wrong?

A. Not all but the majority of the information published is crap. There are no set formulas as every optimization project has to be approached individually. Successful SEO's don't have time to waste posting free advice on forums. Some fool publishes a stupid optimization theory on a website, other fools read it and republish the theory with another twist, more fools then include this information in the monotonous newsletters they send out and the fool who posted the first pile of rubbish receives the email and takes it as conformation that his original theory was correct. I would be very wary of any information posted on a forum. We take at least two days researching a project before we even quote for a job, let alone start to optimize a website. There are no such things as generalities when it comes to optimization. What will work for one website might be the kiss of death to another.

Q. So there is no set procedure to optimizing a website?

A. I just said that didn't I? Think about it for goodness sake. As no two websites are identical and there are millions, billions, God knows how many on the Internet. They all carry hundreds or thousands of pages, with zillions of words in a googolplex of orders, how the bloody hell can anyone believe that there is a set formula that people can follow to optimize a site. If the optimizer is faced with a simple job, then there are basic elements that can be used to optimize a site. However, if the optimization project requires an optimizer to push a website past millions of other sites, the optimizers have to look at a combination of hundreds possibly thousands of procedures to decide which could be best utilised and how.

Q. Can someone look at one of your websites and learn the standard procedures?

I obviously haven't made myself clear. There are no standard procedures. You cannot look at any website and just decide you are going to use some obscure method to optimize it. That is why all this crap that people publish is so irrelevant. Someone, usually by luck manages to get a website to the top of Google for a search phrase that no one is likely to use and think they have come up with the magical formula. Then they try it again on another project and wonder why it doesn't work. Basic optimization techniques are visible for anyone to see in a source code, but understanding the maths, knowing which algorithm Google is currently using, knowing how to counter the changes in the algorithms and creating the mercurial data and bait feed set ups alone is complex. Most of what we do to get a website into the top ten of Google has nothing to do with anything you will find published on the web. You would have to be able to see the whole optimization infrastructure to understand real optimization and we make that impossible. This stops other optimization companies copying our methods and failing to get the results we achieve.

Continued

There are relatively few search engine optimizers who really understand optimization procedures. Most optimizers base their procedures on information that is published on forums and other websites. Most of the time, this is the blind leading the blind as much of this information is either wrong or at best misleading. The problem is that someone comes up with a wild theory and within days, it has become a fact.

Every optimization project has to be approached as a unique task, using unique methods applicable to that job. You cannot generalise and expect to get miracles from a few basic out of date techniques. Search engine optimization is a skill that requires long term study and understanding. There are no magical formulas and no programmes that can suddenly launch you into the higher echelons of the search engines.

Search engine optimization and website design combined can turn a poor performing website into a high performance money earning business.