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Ben Sisson

Ben Sisson on the creative science of SEO

By Ben Sisson

Managing Director - Targeted SEO Ltd.

With a creative résumé spanning the likes of Garmin International, Ben Sisson has a natural eye for outstanding design.

Realising that websites need SEO substance beyond great design, Ben added technical knowledge to his experience and set up Targeted SEO Ltd. to help other businesses benefit from the value of SEO.

Ben’s creativity is underpinned by his forward-thinking wizardry of SEO technology, and his company is demystifying Google’s algorithms to harness the potential of SEO for the increasing number of websites that they manage and optimise.

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Why is SEO important?

SEO is important for any business that needs to be found on Google. SEO is vital for people and customers to find you in search engines; it can dramatically improve sales of a product or service.

We put a lot of importance and priority on content these days. We combine professional SEO software for keyword research/search analysis and even content software to analyse top competitors for target search terms. This helps us craft well written content which both search engines and your customers will love.

What are your top tips for those that want to improve their SEO?

Combine optimised main content on your website with regular content like blogs answering questions within your industry. You can extract what those questions might be from the ‘people also ask’ section of Google. If you continuously create consistent and relevant content, you start to become an authority in your area of expertise which will start making you more visible in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Having a good optimised Google My Business profile and collecting reviews is also a good tip. Make sure that you're giving Google as much information about your business and location as possible will help improve local visibility, especially in maps.

Another good tip for business is if you're using Google Analytics (make sure it’s the latest GA4 version) you can use Google Search Console to get even more information about the search queries your website is being found for vs clicks and impressions. This can help guide you to improve your website content and calls to action in basics like page titles and meta descriptions.

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"Combine optimised main service page content on your website with regular blog content which answers questions your customers have."

Is SEO always evolving with updates to algorithms?

Definitely. It’s always moving, always evolving. Google constantly updates its algorithm which is the core of Google. They have 1000’s of updates a year, but occasionally, you’ll hear about a big one like the May 2022 core update which impacted a lot of large affiliate sites, so you need to always have one eye on what Google’s doing.

It’s an ever-evolving industry. Semrush and Ahrefs are the two popular paid software programmes that you can use for SEO, and they’re becoming more and more advanced in showing you how websites are performing – they can give you all sorts of metrics and data to work with.

SEO is quite technical, when you build a website, you need to focus on things like correct use of HTML markup and proper heading tags. Internal linking is also important; we look at building silos of content linking to each other which makes Google trust your website a lot more because it starts to see your main service pages as an authority.
If you combine that with offsite SEO, such as creating useful content on other sites and blogs which link back to your website (backlinks), then you can really start to rank for competitive national search terms.

Are there other players in SEO beyond the likes of Google?

Google has about 90% of the market share. There are other search engines, and we are starting to see more search engines come into play; Apple for example has reportedly been working on a search engine of its own and Ahrefs (SEO software) have just invested millions. So potentially over the next few years, there are going to be more search engines coming into the space. It could become more competitive for Google but because they’ve got such a big market share, they’re always going to be that main force and the main one that you want to be focused on for SEO.

You’ve spent much of your career working in creative roles? Do you still harness that creativity as an SEO consultant?

I’m still creative but having a technical and scientific side is also extremely important, especially in SEO. We design websites that are very clean and look great, but also perform really well in search engines, generating sales and leads for our clients which is the most important thing.

A lot of web designers will build a website and not really think about SEO in great detail. We often see websites that look fancy, but when you start to examine them the onsite SEO is lacking. You really need to think about the content and technical aspects too and I think that’s where we’re starting to make a name for ourselves in website development combined with powerful SEO.

"A good local SEO strategy is making sure that you're giving Google as much information about your business and location as possible."

Ben Sisson - Managing Director, Targeted SEO Ltd.

Which brands do you admire?

I just finished reading Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the creator of Nike. It’s an inspirational story – Nike’s first running trainer was made using a waffle iron and today, 50 years later, the global brand that they have become is incredible.

What are you currently listening to, reading, or watching?

I listen to a lot of SEO podcasts and watch SEO videos on YouTube – Matt Diggity, Authority Hackers and Income School in particular have some great content on how to build and grow profitable websites.