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Getting discovered online

The latest Lunch & Learn virtual webinar hosted by Southampton Science Park focused on search engine optimisation (SEO): why it matters and how to harness its power to rank higher, attract more traffic, generate leads and convert sales online. Andre Buxey, Head of Performance at brand and digital marketing experts The Escape took attendees through this complex, but critical, topic.

Andre began by stating that a well-optimised website is a solid foundation for all marketing efforts. Furthermore, responsible for 93% of all web traffic globally, Google is the undeniable key to unlocking any website’s potential. Playing by Google’s rules, however, is not easy when its algorithms change frequently, often dramatically impacting how a website performs from one week to another.

Andre’s advice is to change perspective, remembering that Google views anyone browsing online as their customer, not yours. Google’s mission is to serve up the most relevant, authoritative and well-ordered content for its users. It follows that your mission should be to help Google do just that.

Content has always been regarded as king when it comes to SEO. This is still the case, but it’s no longer simply about using a high density of keywords. Search engines have grown exponentially more sophisticated in that they crawl over and assess content against a user’s expectations in numerous ways. Focusing on making your content user friendly, locally relevant, unique and high quality will build Google’s trust that your website is a reliable source of information. A diversified portfolio of back links (inbound from third party sites and internal links from one page to another) also help to reassure Google of your credibility and authority on a given topic.

Aside from words on screen, other factors that have a significant impact on being found include effective html source codes and URL readability, both of which directly impact the speed at which pages load: again, something that Google expects to be fast to delight its users.  

It might sound like a minefield, but the good news is that Google has numerous tools to help marketers keep on top of best practice. Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager and Google Ads are well known but Andre also highlighted Google Search Console: an underused, free tool, this provides visibility of how Google is viewing and evaluating your website. A health check once/twice a week is suggested.

Southampton Science Park’s Business Development Director, Jane Holt, closed the session by thanking Andre for explaining what is seen by many as a massively complex topic in a clear and concise way.

The Escape is offering a one-to-one hour-long SEO consultancy session for those wishing to go into more detail. Email Zoe.pedersen@the-escape.co.uk to book. A recording of the webinar is also available on request.

Southampton Science Park’s next Lunch & Learn Webinar will take place on Tuesday 17th November in association with Smith & Williamson and Barclays Bank. Details will be released shortly. 

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