In SEO, details matter. In fact, success with Search Engine Optimisation is largely built on two simple things — perseverance and attention to detail. The trick, of course, is to know which SEO details to pay attention to. A recent event reminded me of this, and happens to illustrate a couple of basic principles of SEO, so I thought I’d pass it on.
An Unavoidable Upset
First, a bit of background. As I’m a web designer based in Newport, Wales, you might expect me to get traffic from searches for “web design Newport” — and you’d be right. I like to be on Google’s front page for that search, and often am.
Still, you may also imagine that I’d be competing with web designers from every “Newport” in the world for that phrase, many of whom know a bit about SEO, too. Again, you’d be right. It doesn’t take much to fall from that front page. The upheaval of rebuilding my site from scratch (as I did recently) could do it — and it did.
SEO Reports To The Rescue!
Thankfully, I had expected this. After all, I do provide a wide range of SEO services. So, I applied all the fixes suggested by my favourite SEO tool on my new website as soon as it went live. Soon, my homepage was as competitive as ever, so I figured it wouldn’t be long before it recovered its previous position.
Of course, nothing is ever quite that easy — and this is where the handy reminders of key SEO lessons began.
Lesson 1: Your Competitors Aren’t Sitting Still
Certainly, mine hadn’t. Yours may be less active online than web designers tend to be, but you still have to keep competing. Otherwise you fall behind, and then you’ll have to work even harder to catch up.
This is why SEO is really an ongoing strategy, rather than a one-off task. A concerted SEO campaign (like the ones on my SEO services page) run over several months can boost your search positioning, but that won’t last forever. Broadly, the question, “When will my SEO be finished?” is a bit like asking “When can I stop competing?”
Soon, my site’s search positioning stabilised a little lower than it was before. Most notably, the homepage was about halfway down on Google’s second page for “web design Newport”. Clearly, I needed to do something more.
Lesson 2: SEO Details Matter — Even Invisible Ones
Turning back to my SEO reports then, I examined them even more closely than before. Pretty soon, I noticed a detail that looked okay at first, but could have been better.
Right now, my homepage starts with some large text that says, “The sky is not a limit”. It’s big, and it’s a heading, so I had told the code to treat it as one. Here’s the thing, though — headings are important SEO details, and that one didn’t contain any keywords. It was diluting the other headings, which did.
So, I just changed that text from a heading to some normal, if large, paragraph text. A day later, my homepage was back on page one. Competition increases the higher up you get, so jumping several positions for a small, invisible change really shows how much details matter. Of course, it may not last, unless I keep at it — which leads to Lesson 3…
Lesson 3: Search Engines Really Like Updates
You see, part of that boost is probably just because Google noticed an update to the page. Web users want up-to-date content, not yesterday’s news, so that’s what Google and other search engines try to provide.
That’s one of the reasons why having a blog on your website can be so powerful. Frequent updates make it clear to visitors and search engines that you’re actively working on your site — and by implication, your business. Otherwise, you might know that you’re still trading, but if you haven’t updated your website for a year, how could your site visitors tell?
I hope that illustrates the importance of SEO details, and how useful decent SEO reports and an on-site blog can be. If you’d like more information on how I could help you, please check out my SEO services and SEO FAQs pages.