Optimising Content for Search Engines

"Listen to the market - use keywords we know are being searched."
“Listen to the market – use keywords we know are being searched.”

Bolt recently hosted a workshop with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) consultant Dan Clarke on tips for optimising your content for search engines. SEO is a buzzword among marketers today. It is simply producing your content in a specific way in order for it to be extremely discoverable on search engines. It sounds complicated and incomprehensive, so we have broken it down here.

The internet is a mass of information and content, said Dan, who previously was the head of SEO strategy for Groupon’s English-speaking markets. Search engines help sift through this mass when a person makes a search. Answers are then given to the person in terms of relevance and popularity.

“Know and understand Google’s guidelines – keep updated.”

In the past, Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) only provided us with ten blue links on a screen, and there was no attempt to interpret queries from the audience. Now, Google has transformed its search engine into an answers machine.

It no longer just dishes out links but provides users with commonly needed information on the answers page, such as the ratings of the film, the venue of the cinema, and even some sentences that give you a sneak into whether or not the website it to your taste. Consequently, the quality of SERPs has become more important, and many searches return less than ten links. These days, It isn’t about ranking highly on a search engine anymore. It’s about the quality of your content.

According to Dan, there are three main steps to approaching SEO:


Indexing your content, making your site accessible and always ensuring that it has an incredible load speed is what tells Google that your site is reliable and competent. It boils down to the little details, like the fact that Google can’t recognise your picture of a dog as a picture of a dog, but sees it as a file.jpg. This makes your content rank lower. Instead, you should ensure that your content is written in words, coded so that the search engines can recognise the content of your picture. If your site takes a while to load, Google also pushes it down the ranks, to ensure its users can have a good time and trust its judgement.


Golden Rule: “Always write articles for users, not SEO.”

Content remains King. Pages are evaluated based on content. That’s why Wikipedia ranks so high – it’s an abundance of information and relevance to plenty of questions. Avoid being flagged as a “Hollow Page” by creating article lengths of at least 350 words, or Google will penalise you for being ‘lazy’.

Keywords are extremely crucial. They are ranked by search volumes and is the core part of SEO. Using Google Adwords and other forms of platforms to keep in touch with trending questions related to your company can tremendously help you market your content. However, avoid bulking up your content or repetition. This can be caused by the over optimisation of certain keywords. Excessive keyword density is a negative factor, and the golden rule is: you should always write content for users and not search engines. Consider synonyms.


SEO – Drives organic traffic, zero incidental cost per click, majority of clicks from Google. SEM – Instantly appear for targeted terms, still requires optimisation, payment for every click

SEO – Drives organic traffic, zero incidental cost per click, majority of clicks from Google. SEM – Instantly appear for targeted terms, still requires optimisation, payment for every click
Links are important. External links can be considered as votes of confidence on your site—other metrics can be faked, but links are almost impossible to fake at scale. Moreover, they provide an external measure of relevance and importance. Most of all, you must understand link source values

External sites have varying link equity values, and high value links will be harder to place. Conversely, a large value of low quality links is a negative ranking factor. Fewer links from multiple sources are better than more links from fewer sources.

Google’s guidelines also prohibit websites from direct links, because it messes up with their algorithms. Articles marked as “Sponsored” or “Advertorial” must not contain equity passing links. Any paid promotion should be followed by a “nofollow” link. Nofollow links do not boost page ranks nor help a page’s placement in the SERPs.


“Content remains king … pages are evaluated based on content.”
  1. Always ensure your websites  are accessible.
  2. Figure out keywords from market research.
  3. Produce solid, engaging content.
  4. Get cited and link from important websites.
  5. Track and monitor performance tricks.
  6. Know and understand Google’s guidelines — keep updated.
  7. Most of all — Build websites for people, not search engines!

Here is a link to the SEO Workshop notes.