Search engine optimisation (SEO) as an industry has come to cover a broader and broader area of expertise as creative and technical minds have all put in their penny's-worth.
But for all the new tricks of the trade that pop up, there are still some basic caveats to stick to if you want to boost your ranking in Google and other search engines.
Robert McAnderson, an SEO analyst, spoke to Business Day recently to highlight some of the best ways of improving your chances when it comes to winning Google's favour.
The first secret Mr McAnderson notes is the importance of doing some keyword research. Get to know your market and whose interest you want to grab. Establish “alignment” between what you offer and what your potential customers are looking for, the expert notes, because without this alignment your sight will only ever have limited success.
However, once you've established which keywords are going to work for you (and remember you will need to monitors these closely as they will change as your website and market evolves) one of the best things you can do with this information is to apply the keywords to your content and update it on a regular basis.
Building up as much relevant interesting content for your visitors as possible is crucial to engaging with your audience. But it has the added benefit of increasing your chances with the search engines. Google particularly loves websites that keep updating their content. For this reason, many news providers to really well in the rankings. This is because the search engine's 'spiders' are off crawling new content as it appears so your chances of popping up when users search is greatly increased if you can add some fresh content to your site on a daily basis.
Finally, Mr McAnderson warns, beware of shortcuts. There are a lot of people out there who will claim to be able to boost your SEO for less than the price of a coffee. They might be offering hundreds of social media followers instantly, or thousands of backlinks. Generally, if the price sounds too good to be true it is and there is a very real risk that the SEO value of your site could be damaged if you fall for some of these offers.
Instead, spend the time and money investing in your website and building up content to grab the attention of your target audience. If you have something of genuine interest to offer your visitors, they will return and spread the word, this in turn will be noticed by Google, boosting your SEO and attracting yet more visitors.