Stop talking about search engine rankings

Tela attended Search London a few weeks ago where Google’s Pierre Far gave his insight into optimising websites for mobile devices.

After inviting some of the 100 strong crowd to “sit on the floor at the front so those at the back can see” (how Google-esque!) the towering figure of Pierre (even though he remained seated throughout his talk) launched into Google’s best practices for Smart Phone websites.

It was a techies wet dream as during and after each slide he allowed question after question to be fired off at him until the audience had satisfied their thirst for knowledge. Each point was answered concisely following some gentle (actually, sometimes not so gentle!) probing from Pierre.

We had been chatting to Pierre before the event and were quite chuffed to stumble on an analogy which he used in his talk. Tim was discussing Tela’s approach to formulating a strategy before developing a new website. Tela’s approach has always been to put a strategy in place at the start of a project which focuses on the business objectives of the website and also the needs of the user. This strategy should cover the website structure and design, page structure, keyword strategy, content strategy and all elements of a website and the wider online marketing.

Pierre’s analogy was:

“It’s like opening a restaurant without having an oven”

If the building blocks are not put in place at the start of a project you are at best, opening yourself up to problems in the future and at worst, setting yourself up for failure. Worst of all is to not plan at all, which unfortunately is still an issue we see with many websites.

With the amount of analytical tools (some of the best are free) there is no excuse for second guessing what your clients want from your website. There is no excuse for not having a stats package plugged into the website!

Armed with this knowledge it should be straight forward to plan a website around the needs of it’s users and this being said, should in turn be viewed in a favorable light by Google.

The most refreshing part of the evening came after the talk when Pierre summed up the two most important questions to ask of every page of content on your website:

  1. Do we know what the user is searching for to find the page they landed on?
  2. Are we returning the best possible content related to that search?

Get the basics right. A transparent strategy that focuses on the user as oppose to focusing on rankings is, in Googles eyes, the best way to build a solid foundation for success with your website.

Oh, and another word of advice, whatever you do, don’t try to talk to Pierre Far about rankings (“it’s not about rankings…”)!


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