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SEO Details MatterIn 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?

Conclusion

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.