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What is search engine optimisation? How does SEO work? Help and advice on how to increase search engine traffic to a website

I have written enough information for the internet about search engine optimisation to be able to write a book on the subject alone. However, the problem with writing about search engine optimisation is the fact that the techniques and strategies change all the time, thus rendering most information useless. Furthermore, most of what you will read about search engine optimisation on other websites usually swings between the totally ridiculous and the absolute rubbish.


What I am not going to do here is explain how to optimise a website, as each website optimisation project is unique and what will work on one website will send another plummeting to the depths of the search engines. However, there are certain guidelines that should be followed most of the time, certain things you should never do, and a number of widely published myths that have no foundation or proof that they work. In fact many search engine optimisation companies appear to be following SEO principals that went out with the ark or just didn't work in the first place.

First rule of optimisation is really to employ a search engine optimiser who understand the search engines. The easiest way to find one is to log onto Google and type in "search engine optimisers" and "website optimisers" and "website designers optimisers" and see who comes up in the top ten for all three searches. Any SEO company that can consistently get top ten Google results for these searches knows what they are doing.

Second rule is never employ an SEO company who sends you an email, offers you a free analysis of your website (they are most likely using a program that could get you banned), or is not in the top ten for the searches previously mentioned. We have never needed to solicit for business in this way because all our clients approach us through the search engines. Search engine optimisation companies who have to approach potential clients are almost always using programs that are frowned upon by Google and the other search engines and offer a cut price, one-size-fits-all service without any benefit to anyone. There are no short cuts when it comes to SEO and there will never be a program that will do the job of someone who can think, and use their commonsense and logic.

This is because most SEO is based on commonsense, logic, a full understanding of how the search engines work and being able to recognise when their algorithms change (because they change on a regular basis).

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Bad SEO can do as much in the way of damage as good SEO can do to increase traffic levels. Much of our business comes from website owners who have either employed cowboy search engine optimisers or read about search engine optimisation on self help websites and got themselves in a mess. There are no short cuts, no magic formulas, no programs (except the ones that will get you blacklisted) and no fixed methods of optimising a website.

Every SEO task is different and has to be approached by analysing what your competitors are doing by way of search engine optimisation, what key words and search phrases you want to use and how your website is configured. There is so much rubbish published on the internet about search engine optimisation it is laughable.

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The SEO gurus who write this rubbish all plagiarise each others content. They read something on a competitor's site and then rewrite it for their own websites as if they were the original author. Theories that have no foundation or basis of proof can become fact within twenty fours hours because the same garbage can be found time and time again on other SEO websites.

What is so remarkable is the fact that the SEO gurus expound these theories by sending out emails encouraging people to visit their websites and buy their services but you will never find their websites in the top ten of Google for any meaningful search phrase.

One thing you have to keep in mind at all times is that content rich websites will always out-perform small low quality websites and that search engine optimisation is both time consuming and expensive.


I would like a penny for every email I have received from someone who owned a tiny little website that cost a few hundred pounds to build who was expecting to get his or her website into the top ten of Google on a shoestring budget. The solution to this problem is always going to be Utopele because you will be adding pages to a large content rich directory. You cannot expect a small website to compete against websites carrying thousands or tens of thousands of web pages.

It is absurd and na´ve to believe that a search engine optimiser can wave some kind of magic wand and catapult a small website past tens of thousands or even millions of websites by jiggling with a few keywords and meta tags.


This is a question I get asked all the time along with "How can I optimise my website?" The answer to the former question is long and complex and so I have provided a brief explanation with a number of links. The response to the former is always "It is not my job to provide advice to someone foolish enough to think they can do it themselves." This would be like asking a brain surgeon how to remove a tumour yourself.

I have spent more than a decade researching, testing, analysing and proving my theories. I still don't have all the answers because the search engines are changing their bias and algorithms all the time. However, I do know what works, what gets the best results and how to get top ten rankings on Google for even the most competitive of search terms. None of my techniques is based on what I have read on other search engine optimisation websites and I never publish my findings.

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What is search engine optimisation? How does SEO work? Help and advice on how to increase search engine traffic to a website

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