SEO on the rise

SEO on the rise

SEO (search engine optimisation) – maximising your company’s prominence in a search engine’s unpaid-for results – has never been more imperative. Jay Richards, managing director of London-based SEO gurus Vertical Consulting, gives the low-down

Why is SEO increasingly important?

SEO has never stopped being important. In recent years, it has undergone a rebrand and something of a sideways shift under the umbrella of SEM (Search engine marketing), while it recovered from almost taboo status earned in the ‘black hat’ [aggressive or underhand SEO strategies] days of old.

Moving forward, unless you want pay a massive chunk of your hard earned cash on pay-per-click, which quite often can be something of an ephemeral experience, you need to think long term. Does it not make more sense to invest in SEO and really put some roots down?

Is SEO hard to keep up with?

No not really – it’s simply a matter of keeping abreast of upcoming changes. If you take the latest change, which was mobile friendly [criteria], it was well publicised in advance and tools were provided by Google Developers.

What drives changes in Google’s algorithm choices?

Google’s reason for change, in the main, is quality of results and the reduction of web spam – it’s a fairly simple remit. The most recent shift towards mobile friendliness was more to do with a shift in technology and the prevalence of tablets and smart phones versus desktops.

What does Google think of there being an SEO market? Does it make it secretive about its methods?

Google is fine with SEO according to its best practice guidelines. It even provides you with almost every resource you could ever need, and for the main part the information is free. It’s a little out-dated in parts but a good way to understand what Google wants you to do is to read this SEO starter guide.

Can you tell us any ways you’ve helped specific organisations, tailoring their sites for them?

Helical Gearboxes ( is a major player in reconditioned gearboxes in the UK. The brief in the main was “We don’t want to spend anything on pa-per-clip”. Gulp!

Once you have discovered a USP within a company or potential use of one, you’re halfway there. The whole site was developed to show this in greater detail, more so than any of its competitors. This method has proved so successful that some of Helical Gearboxes’ competitors have been caught lifting content and images verbatim.

The main strategy used on is End User Search Matching (EUSM), a system which delivers exact content that matches the searcher’s expectations, based on the organisation’s USP. According to the site owners it has paid for itself many times over and requires zero spend on pay-per-click.

With Google making 500 or 600 changes to algorithms a year, how can companies keep abreast of it? 

Honestly you can’t! Keep your eyes open, so as to not get run over by the big ones. Obsessing about possible change is futile. Take a centric approach to SEO – it should lead your website content and inbound marketing efforts. The hardest challenge sometimes is getting everyone on the same boat…

For an extended feature, “10 things every leader should know about SEO”, click here.


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About author

Nick Scott

Nick Scott

A former editor-in-chief of The Rake and deputy editor of the Australian edition of GQ, Nick has had features published in titles including Esquire, The Guardian, Observer Sport Monthly and Rolling Stone Australia and is a contributing editor to Director magazine. He has interviewed celebrities including Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig and Elle Macpherson, as well as business people including Sir Richard Branson, Charles Middleton and Nick Giles and Michael Hayman MBE.

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