Unquestionably, my favourite book is The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy; a book that famously offers the answer (42) to life, the universe and everything. Yet as this wonder of science fiction unfolds it becomes apparent that the answer's not actually the important thing, it's the question. I'm about to publish a book of my own about search engine optimisation (SEO) and I'm unashamedly proud of the connections which I've been able to find between SEO and my favourite book, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. However, it is possible to learn the ultimate question by reading the back of a builder's truck and not a book.
'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy' makes the suggestion that the question is more important than the answer. Deep Thought is the name of the fictional computer that spent 7.5 million years calculating 'the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything' - declaring the answer to be 42 and then, very quickly afterwards, stating that what would then be required to make sense of the answer would be 'the question to the ultimate answer'.
My forthcoming book entitled 'The Art of Search' has been written to provide the answer to the question:
How do I get my website to the top of Google? - unsurprisingly, the answer is a question. Yesterday I found physical proof of this conclusion on the back of a builder's van and I now want to share with you the ultimate question.
I have a number of things which niggle me - one of these being businesses which think that people actually see a telephone number on the rear of a commercial vehicle and feel an overwhelming compulsion to phone or fax it. Mark Early is a builder, I know this because I've seen his commercial vehicles drive around Luton urging people not to remember and then use his phone number but simply to Google him.
Let's be very clear about this. Transparent, in fact. What Mark Early is not doing is trying to urge you to remember a funky or quirky URL (website address) but merely urging people following his vans to find his website by Googling. The image at the head of this blog page is a photo of the rear of one of Mark's trucks - it simply says
Visit our website Google - Mark isn't claiming to own Google, he's inviting you to use a third party service (one that's become the default verb for Search) as a means of reaching the website of his business.
OK. Let's assume you want to visit the website in question and use the services of Google to get there - what do you type into Google's search box to get there?
This, if you haven't already guessed it, is the question at the very heart of SEO.
If you can remember the eponymous business brand then it's highly likely that you'll search
mark early builders but what if you can't remember the builder's name? Which words would you use to find the website?
building contractor luton
reliable builder in luton
luton's best builder
cheapest builder in luton
who's the builder working at 100 new bedford road luton
who's the luton builder with google written on his vans...
You'll have heard many people in business bluff their way through a conversation about SEO and you may think that you get a top Google rank through clever/sneaky use of keywords - you don't. The only way you get found on Google is by writing into your website the words that your Customers will use were they to search for you.
The ultimate answer to the question of life, the universe and search engine optimisation is simply to ask your Customers the following question:
Imagine you didn't know me, my colleagues, our company name, our telephone number or even our postcode - picture yourself sat in front of a computer looking at an empty Google search box - what do you type in to find a company that does the kinds of things that we do?
Make a note of their answers for they are the keys which unlock the secrets of SEO.
Steve - once again you get to the nub and explain it so well.Anthea30th November 1999
Keywords = Customer's Words. Makes total sense.
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Wise words Magic Thighs, or was it Broom Fondle? I can never remember. Either way I think you could make a killing on the pundit circle talking about your upcoming book! What you need is a good agent!guy9th January 2014
Like all the best things in life, this is so blindingly obvious that of course no one else has thought of it! Steve hits the nail firmly and squarely upon it's head!
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