Judging by the reaction when Jak, a friend from my University days, confirmed to the class that his literature review would be about search engine optimisation, it was clear to me that this is not only an interesting topic, but also a subject that is much written about.
It wasn’t long after that we had a dedicated SEO lecture, but like so many things at University, time was short and there wasn't an opportunity to study the concepts in more detail. But an interest had been kindled and I was determined to explore the technical intricacies at my leisure.
Subsequent to my graduation, I attended two short-courses. The first was presented by Cheryl, the amazingly knowledgeable managing director at Wagada, a specialist and very well-respected digital marketing company, which is also based in St. Albans. The two-hour session provided a fascinating and practical insight, which enhanced my formal lecture notes perfectly. My curiosity was stoked still further!
I am also huge fan of Treehouse, a niche online training provider that had also been recommended to me shortly after my degree programme finished. Their SEO course became my second port of call and again I can only recommend the experience to anybody with a similar burning desire to find out more. It was packed full of essential information and useful insights.
But where to next? My appetite for all things digital knew no bounds.
After some searching around on the internet, I came across a book called “How to get to the top of Google” by Tim Cameron-Kitchen and Exposure Ninja, which is his Nottingham based Digital Marketing Agency. The book proved to be an excellent purchase, to an extent that I thought I would share my thoughts with you here.
The first thing to say is that it is very readable and if you are not particularly technical, you shouldn’t be put off. It’s packed full of straightforward tips and strategies and although the focus is Google, the lessons learned apply equally well to other search engines. The book is structured into four sections and the first looks at how Google actually works. It provides all the fundamental information a novice digital marketeer could ever wish to know. Of course, Google is renowned for the accuracy of its search engine results and the sophistication of its magical and ever evolving algorithm. How do they always seem to know exactly what we’re looking for? The author provides some interesting insights!
The second section looks at how your website can be optimised to encourage Google to give you a better ranking. The author is confident that the techniques he describes in this part of the book will do just that as his company have implemented them many times before. He correctly stresses that the whole point of any website is to generate business, acquire new leads or attract new readers and these ambitions should not be compromised just to improve your search engine ranking. But to my mind, the extensive list of techniques is incredibly sensible and the two are not mutually exclusive. Some of the ideas will directly benefit the user experience enjoyed by the visitors to your websites. Others are more technical and relate to the operation of your website. The remainder are simple, but useful suggestions on how to approach certain issues that you are likely to come across at some point in your digital marketing career. I particularly enjoyed this section of the book since it offered practical advice in a particularly engaging manner.
The third section deals with the promotional aspects of your website. How can you attract more visitors to it? This section struck many a chord with me since it involves the regular thought process of engaging more generally with the digital world in order to secure links back to your website. In the crudest possible of terms, backlinks demonstrate popularity and authority, and these are important battles to win if you are going to improve your ranking and drive more traffic to your website. Again, a very informative and thought provoking section.
To a certain extent, the last section covered many of the topics that had previously been discussed as it took the reader through the process of setting out their own SEO strategy and understanding the progress being achieved.
Overall an excellent read and a book that I wholeheartedly recommend. It will retain a rightful place on the bookshelf and since search engine optimisation is an ever-evolving subject, you can also register for lifetime updates.
As you may have gathered, I’ve now caught the entire digital marketing bug and have been recently looking at other books that I can invest in. At University, our core reading for the “Computers in Business” module was the Dave Chaffey book “Digital Business and E-Commerce Management”. Earlier this year, this book was updated and rebranded to “Digital Marketing”. My copy is now awaiting me, but my initial thoughts are that it has far greater scope and will be a heavier read. It is after all, a University textbook, but I’m now looking forward to getting started.
I will keep you updated of my progress. In the meantime, here are the references:
After a successful career in industry, Tim gave up his management job in 2016 and enrolled on a Foundation Degree in Computing Technologies at the University of Hertfordshire, where he specialised in Software Development. He graduated with a Distinction in 2018 and now runs Tiago Business Systems Ltd. He also has an MSc. in Advanced Manufacturing Technology, is a Chartered Engineer and a Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He is Chair of the Highfield Park Trust.