My background in IT is central to the story of how A Suit That Fits was established and has managed to get to where it is now. I always loved the idea of creating easy-to-use systems –in fact, this is what I was primarily doing in my previous role as an IT manager.
The first thought that Warren and I both had was that a system that let you choose your fabric, lining, jacket front, buttons – and all other the attributes in a suit – would be really cool. We hadn’t seen this flexibility anywhere else online and wanted to use it for ourselves. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for us to hatch a plan to do just that. In the space of the 24 hours after deciding to ‘give it a go’, we built a basic interface that enabled you to go through the process of designing a suit online.
Even though this system looked very basic, it provided something to the world that was not out there before. It also inadvertently described the advantage of different styles of jacket front, different styles of a lapel and lots more. Looking back, I realise that this was great content. It was content that would answer customer’s questions on the topics that we were experts on. We also answered the question “is getting something tailored a privilege for the super-rich?” with an emphatic “no!”.
The simple result of this was that other websites linked to us as the resource for the answers to these sorts of questions. These ‘inbound links’, as everyone is now aware, are one of the factors Google uses to weight the importance of websites and website pages. However, it does get a little bit more complicated than that. Innovative businesses started realising that they could change or manipulate search engine results by providing search engine optimisation (SEO) services. There are companies who do this well by actually correcting the simple problems on your website which aren’t helping to show off what you do as well as you could be. However, there were also SEO businesses out there that did seedy things such as use websites to link to your website ‘unnaturally’.
This kind of manipulation made it seem to Google that these websites were important when they weren’t. Google didn’t stand still and, like all good businesses, it adapted to the changing world and updated its algorithms accordingly. Naturally, websites that used services of these businesses now have a lot of catching up to do.
If you focus on Google’s algorithms as they are now, then the waters can be very murky indeed. Google has built its reputation on giving users what they want. If there is a way of artificially manipulating rankings, then Google will stamp it out as quickly as possible – its reputation depends on it. In order to have long-term and sustained success in SEO, the real thing to focus on is the users; compelling content will interest people. So my tip for SEO in any business is to find something that you feel is really interesting, put it out to the world, and keep doing it.
What is SEO?
Whenever you search for something using a search engine (like Google or Bing) online, the most relevant site will come up top. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a marketing technique that can be used to affect how visible a website is when people are looking on a search engine; the higher in the search rankings something appears, the more likely that people will click on that link. Search engines will look at which sites they think are most relevant for the words people are searching for, and use clever algorithms to rank them in order of relevance. If the content on your site is really relevant to the thing that people are searching for, then your site will naturally come out top.