SEO With Alan Hall

Published on 23 June 2023
by HeartBeat Digital Marketing
Alan explains the fuss and fascination around Search Engine Optimisation while clearing the confusion and calculating the benefits for our clients (there are many).
Alan Hall, meet the team

Alan is an experienced SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) professional with a proven track record of driving results for businesses of all sizes, meaning our clients benefit from the latest techniques and data-based practices.

Alan is responsible for:

  • Recommending and implementing website changes inline with the latest research and search trends
  • Ongoing monitoring and management of SEO performance
  • Identifying strategies, techniques and tactics to increase traffic and SERP rankings

As Alan points out, “the latest” means a lot in SEO.

“SEO is driven by search algorithm changes, which are many, and how people search… including the latest consumer trends and technologies”, explains Alan.

“It’s really evolved into an internet science, which I find exciting and inspiring. It’s always changing!”.

Google app on screen

We caught up with Alan to find out more.

So, in plain English, what is SEO?

Whenever I am asked this from my friends, “what is SEO?”, I answer, “it’s about making websites rank as high as possible in search engine results”.

But to be more specific, SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimisation, is a process of utilising a combination of techniques and strategies to improve a website’s chance of showing up on the first page of search results, which is where most people tend to click. 

These results, known as organic links, are the natural search results that are not paid to appear.

What improves a website’s chance of showing up on the first page of search results?

A lot! But, in essence, for Google, and I refer to Google because they, as of 2023, have the highest Search Engine usage by far in Australia (although, the usage differential may not necessarily be as significant for some businesses), it involves four criteria:

  • Experience (First-hand or real life experience about a topic)
  • Expertise (Knowledge level of a topic)
  • Authority (Authority source on a topic)
  • And, Trust (Is the website, web page considered trustworthy?)

“…a strong online presence via SEO can be really rewarding”

If a website can demonstrate that criteria, of which trustworthiness must be satisfied, then they are arguably in the prime position to be rewarded with high search rankings.

But, let me say, whilst there are guidelines provided by search engines such as Google as to what they consider important, the search algorithms deployed by Google and how they determine website ranking is not publicly disclosed, so it is impossible to guarantee specific outcomes. Additionally, some industries such as medical and finance have greater restrictions imposed, by industry and government regulators, and have greater requirements to satisfy search engines, that the information presented is accurate and not misleading. So, this needs to be considered when implementing SEO strategies.

Ultimately, however, a strong online presence via SEO can be really rewarding. Given organic links are typically the most trusted search results that people click on, a strong SEO campaign will drive increased visitor traffic through to the website. It is, however, important to point out that nothing exists in isolation; other digital marketing channels, such as Digital Ads, and Social Media are part of the digital marketing ecosystem that complements and enhances SEO, as SEO does for them.

What can our clients expect from your SEO?

I come from an analytical, research and technical background, and so, when I am working on improving a client’s SEO they can expect, that I’m implementing SEO changes on their website based on a data-driven, analytical foundation.

This means that I am informed by not only best practice, data analysis tools or latest industry insights, but also what works in their industry, and their competitor’s SEO strategies/performance.

This involves ongoing monitoring, analysis, and implementation of SEO strategies and optimisations that include visible changes on a website, such as optimising content to improve visibility in search engines, and also behind-the-scene changes such as code and technical enhancements to help search engines better understand the website content.

And, part of that is testing.

As I intimated earlier, there is no exact science, however, I always monitor, evaluate and refine strategies based on SEO performance. It’s an ongoing process. Sometimes things work well, other times, they might not have the impact as expected and require adjustment, but at all times, it is driven by SEO knowledge and a commitment to drive the right traffic for client growth.

Internet user typing on desk top

What should people know about SEO?

Firstly, SEO does not come with any guarantees for ranking in first place in search results.  Yes, if you are wanting to rank for a unique or very specific search phrase, then you may attain first position, but the reality is that search engines continually change their algorithms and ranking factors, and so, it is impossible to guarantee specific ranking positions.

“These all interrupt the typical understanding of search rankings…”

Therefore, it’s important not to be swayed into promises of immediate or first place rankings. SEO tactics that work today, may not necessarily work tomorrow, and so SEO should be considered a long-term approach of adapting to changing search needs.

It’s also important to be aware that search results fluctuate based on various factors and signals, and because of this, the number 1 result for a search term can vary from one moment to the next. Additionally, search results include more than the typical blue, organic links, they also include images, and other elements, such as ‘People also ask’, that impacts website visibility in search results. 

These all interrupt the typical understanding of search rankings, and whilst reaching number one position is certainly desirable and typically gathers the most clicks, visibility and the area that the website occupies in search results is also important in driving traffic to a website. 

The final thing that I would like to mention is that competitor websites change, and so, even if a competitor is not focused on SEO, their changes can still influence rankings of other websites.

Thanks for those valuable insights, Alan!

Stay tuned, we’ll be hearing a lot more from Alan in the future!

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