Search Engine Optimisation

SEO quickly explained

SEO is the process of optimising a website to gain the best possible position in search engine result pages (SERPs). When somebody types a query into a search engine like “What is SEO?”, search engines try to return the most relevant web pages in their results. In the case of that particular query they currently have over 116 million pages to choose from. Google have over 200 ranking factors. The algorithm they use to assess those factors changes over 500 times a year!

Is SEO not dead since Penguin, Panda etc?

With so many algorithm changes how is it possible to keep a website optimised? The good news is that most of the changes are minor and even the big ones target practices that are not good for the internet in general.

SEO practices are broken down into two distinct groups; white hat and black hat. Hat colours were the way good and bad cowboys were traditionally portrayed in westerns.

The ability to “cheat” your way to the top with spammy or underhand tactics has always been exploited resulting in a poor user experience. Google call it web spam, just like the annoying emails you get. Nobody wants to see gambling sites when they searched for handbags or adult sites popping up when their child is doing research for their school work.

The Google Penguin and Panda algorithm updates mentioned in the heading devastated more than a few websites overnight.

SEO is far from dead. The core principles have not even changed. All that changed is that Google got better at catching spammy practices.

The algorithm tweaks the search engines make help make the internet a better and safer place. That’s not so good for our black hat friends. Using black hat techniques does often work, but they are not a safe long-term strategy. At Serpstone we don’t ignore black hat techniques, we just choose not to risk them on our clients.

Where does that leave a business that wants to use SEO to promote their business ahead of their competition?

By working with, rather than against, the search engines we both provide a better user experience with increased customer satisfaction and gain ranking advantages. That may not be what you want to hear. The “dark art” of SEO is far more alluring than the reality of good, solid, result getting, white hat optimisation. The truth is though, that nearly all websites have not got the “basics” quite right. That costs rank and in turn, traffic.

Consider this:
You don’t need to have the best website. It just needs to be better than your competition’s sites. (of course having a great site is nice too)

The bottom line is that a good website, with great architecture and content stands a better chance of reaching the top. Most websites have some flaws that hold them back. By eliminating those flaws and being customer-centric we can achieve most of what is needed to succeed. After that it is down to fine tuning, more analysis and getting creative.

The SEO steps we take at Serpstone

1. Consultation. Nobody knows your business like you do. You know your market and your competitors. Our first step is to understand your business and in particular any problems you may be experiencing with your online presence. Tell us your goals and it gives us a target to aim for and ensures that we are all on the same page.

2. Site analysis and Competitor analysis. Without that we wouldn’t know where to start, and frankly there are just too many factors to consider to make rushing in without a plan a financially viable option, let alone a sensible one.

3. Our analysis gives us a roadmap or list of items to be tackled. Often it is only after the major issues have been tackled that smaller, yet sometimes significant issues come to light.

4. We tackle those issues while measuring data along the way. We report on our finding, tweak or approaches and get you more traffic, conversions and a better user experience until such time as it is no longer cost effective to do so. Sometimes it makes more sense for us to train your internal staff so that they can take over. We are always available to come back and consult if and when we are needed again.

Services and fees

It is impossible to give an estimate of price without knowing what we are dealing with. You won’t find any bronze, silver or gold packages with Serpstone. You get what you need, not what we think we can sell you.

You will be given a quote for your initial analysis (often after some rudimentary analysis has been done first free of charge).

That initial analysis report, once we have discussed it with you and explained anything that needs explaining, gives us the basis of our plan of action.

After that, we need to prioritise items and break down who will be doing what parts (You, Us, Third Parties). You will be given a clear quote based on what is required and an estimated timeline.

Once we have agreement on this we are paid monthly in advance. We find that this works best for both parties. We don’t have to worry about being paid and you are not tied into any long contracts. We would rather have continued good word of mouth about us.

What Next?

Pick up the phone or write us an email and we’ll get back to you and discuss your unique situation and how we think we may be able to help you overcome the difficulties that lead you to read this page.