Has your site been built by an SEO "expert"?

Chances are that if you've comissioned a website in the past year or two you've been sold the services of an SEO expert claiming to be able to get you well placed in Google and Bing search engines etc. Well, all that is about to change!

Monmouthshire has more than its' fair share of web "experts", people who migrated from other media-related industries in search of that "quick buck" so often associated with technologies that few people understand! First we saw a whole slew of web design companies spring up all over the place, creating great looking websites from software that made the job easy for anyone without the need for an underlying technical background.

This of course was a false situation as many people soon found out that their websites were in fact a complete mess under the surface with proprietry code and, in a lot of cases, just plain bad development.

So with that bubble bursting what next for the budding online entrepreneur? Enter the SEO expert!

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the art of creating or re-developing a website in order to maximise it's appearance in major search engines for as many related search phrases as possible. Once again there was an increase of gold rush proportions in the number of SEO "experts" suddenly on the scene.

In the early days of SEO it was fairly easy to bung a few keywords into meta-tags and get you clients sitting nicely in Google and many SEO "experts" still offer this as their main resource for optimization. Of course your average John in the street doesn't know that Google stopped using meta-tags in their ranking algorythms in 2006 and Microsoft only use them for data mining!

Those in the know then moved on to such underhand tactics as filling the bottom of their pages with white keywords on a white background etc. or cramming keywords into their pages or, farming back-links to their sites to fake popularity. All good stuff for convincing Google to rank your site at one time or another! However, Google are pretty smart when it comes to detecting trends in SEO and, through frequent updating of their technologies, frequently address these issues in order to provide as fair a playing field as possible.

Which brings me to my first point. Google have finally announced plans to penalise over-optimised websites.

Matt Cutts (Google’s head of web spam) made the announcement that they will begin rolling out new updates to handle “over-optimized” sites created by SEO abusers in order to “level the playing field” for those sites that follow the rules.

The rules? Well, as in real life the rules are generally that you don't get something for nothing! Search Engine Optimization isn't a black art but it does entail a fair amount of hard work in order to be effective. The rules are fairly well documented and easy to find and, like any other industry, the people getting the results are the people who have learned the rules well and gained experience in their implementation.

At The Monmouth Website we have spent 12 years learning the rules and haven't done too badly with it!

So if you've got a lot of invisible or seemingly meaningless text at the bottom of your web pages, or you have meta-tags crammed with keywords in the headers of your pages, be warned Google gonna getcha!

The Monmouth Webmaster