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SEO in 2021, the Long Game

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the ability to optimise websites and online real estate to catch the attention of your consumers and be rewarded by Google. Many people consider SEO to be a form of magic, as who really knows what the algorithms of Google are thinking with each update? However, there are many tried and tested methods from seasoned experts worldwide on how to best optimise your content, and most importantly, appeal to your desired target audience.

As the world changes and people begin to re-evaluate their priorities, so must how we use the internet. The web has allowed access to education to almost everyone globally, making it easier than ever to learn about something you are interested in or become influenced or be exposed to something you may not have even been aware of. As the world's population becomes more educated, online activity changes and the internet has developed around what people are most interested in – quality content. Most people are online to find answers to a question, to fulfil a need, and Google has their best interests at heart.

Back in the early 2000s, it was possible to trick Google algorithms with "black hat SEO tactics", which are actively penalised now and could even result in your website being removed from the internet by Google. You can no longer expect any old person to stumble across your content but must now put in the research and develop the tactics to attract them. More work is involved in SEO than ever before to cater to the demands of Google and the standards of the masses.

As well as needing attention, dedication and elbow grease, SEO requires patience. The average crawl on a website can take over four weeks to six months! This is down to Google itself, and, unfortunately, cannot be pushed. The Google Algorithm uses over 200 factors to decide where websites rank amongst others in the search results and must decipher each change every time the website is crawled. Annoyingly, a website that remains stagnant and does not change could jeopardise its position in the ranks. The only known way to speed up the crawling process of your site is to prioritise high quality, optimised content, and web fixes.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of things you can familiarise yourself with to help optimise your website:

  • Keyword research

  • Link building

  • On-page optimisation

  • Internal Linking

  • Quality blogging

  • Image sizing and quality

  • Site Speed

  • Sitemaps and Robots.txt

  • Removing any duplicate content

There are several ways to optimise your website to both improve your search engine ranking and speed up the possibility of a crawl, but it is a lot of work to keep on top of all these, and you may benefit from extra help, mainly as many of the fixes and improvements are found in the "back end" of a website, the technical code that consumers do not see. Regardless, you should aim to dedicate some time to SEO optimisation regularly in your strategy.