Taming the SEO Beast
As I moved into my new business persona as an SEO practitioner, I was painfully conscious of my lack of mileage or credibility. One of the most important angles to my new business venture is to ensure that my postings and website content actually have some value to the people who find their way to this blog or any of the other places I maintain online. Sometimes this means I have to pull the plug on what I want to say and hand the floor over to someone more experienced or point you towards their blog.
I’ve spent many hours …. days… nights and more trying to make sure that I have picked up on the most up to date knowledge and winnowed out the dodgy methods of optimising websites in favour of the techniques that are ethical (white hat as some would have it) and likely to have some longevity. In the course of my research, I came across a blog that looked horrible. I was about to move on when an article headline caught my eye. It appeared to answer a question that had been troubling me for some time.
My question came about after chatting to some of the candidates on my business start up course at Carlisle’s Chamber of Commerce. After much research I identified local search optimisation as a real market that would benefit businesses around Carlisle and further afield round Cumbria. I had been looking at the results for a search based on “builder carlisle” and found the top result was a setup in Carlisle, Western Australia. Somewhat surprised, I showed a couple of the folk on the course what I had noticed. Imagine the egg on my face when I couldn’t replicate the results at the session a few nights later.
I’ve been puzzling about this for a while and the other day I logged out of my Google account and noticed a link that pointed to Google classical interface (or something similar). I clicked to have a look, repeated the old search and hey presto… there were the illusory results. Turns out, as I suspected, that it is down to Google’s quest for putting the most relevant information in front of each one of its individual users. Personalisation is the name of the game for the Google Geeks and as people more frequently use their Google accounts and personalised browsers, so it becomes harder for people in my line of work to give an accurate appraisal of the “real” position of a website in the search rankings.
Michael Bloch of Taming the Beast
gives an excellent account of how these results can alter due to personalisation in his article
and a simple way of accessing some more “real world” ranking figures. This has a few ramifications for people in local and traditional SEO which I hope to unpick in further posts.