Communications, content and copy writing; Freelance journalism; full stack web development. Northland and Auckland NZ

Is Search Engine Optimisation Overrated?

Getting a good Google presence is about how you use your words – not simply keyword-stuffing

by Michael Botur, KiwiWords guy

In December 2018, a client became frustrated with me for not structuring the words on the page in the scientific manner he was hoping for. At the heart of the problem was my insistence that words should be written with love and then published for a waiting audience, whereas I think the client wanted the words treated as pure data to be picked up by an algorithm… necessitating some fairly robotic language. 

Would you rather put helpful, informative words in front of the audience, or give the audience a slim chance of hopefully stumbling upon your words?

Structure some original, informative content well and you can have the best of both worlds, and even have your words picked up and carried by newsmedia (honestly, nothing will give you more exposure on the internet than having Stuff, NZ Herald, TradeMe, Radio NZ or Scoop boost it for you.)

Optimising any writing for search engines is about structuring the words so they’re more likely to appear first when metacrawlers search the internet for whatever your search term is. Not all metacrawlers behave the same; not everyone thinks Google is the most important or best metacrawler. 

Google’s page ranking algorithm is exactly like KFC’s 11 herbs and spices*. The formula is supposed to be a secret, but everyone knows what’s in it. One difference is Google’s fried chicken uses 200 factors. 

Having Google and Bing rank your page highly involves using your content in the following way

  • If you have a great mailing list which prompts your readers/followers to click through to regular updates on your website, that’ll get you elevated in page rankings
  • If your page titles make the most sense, you’ll rank highly (eg. a page called ‘Finding Kaipara Home For Sale’ at should rank highly)
  • If you regularly add fresh content with a blog, it helps (for example if you sell used cars in Orewa, regular blogs about Teslas in Red Beach or Priuses in Hibiscus Coast should get you ranked well)
  • Backlinks (links from reputable websites heading to your website) are extremely important. Make friends on the internet!!

How NZ businesses can get noticed in  page-ranking SEO search results

  • The longer your website has been around, the higher it’ll rank
  • Having your keyword in the domain name – especially as the first word – helps a lot
  • If the keyword isn’t in your domain, having the keyword in the subdomain (eg. ‘portfolio’ in helps a lot
  • The country extension is a big deal. can trump .com if the searches only wants NZ results
  • Having your heading (H1 tag) contain the keyword helps a lot
  • Frequency of the keywords on a page is somewhat a factor
  • Longer and longer content will rank highly, so long as it’s structured well with lots of H2 and H3 headings
  • Your images need pertinent file names
  • Some person with too much time on his hands has compiled the 200 Google algorithm factors. Read this if you’re suffering from insomnia.

Personally I use Google for most stuff except when it’s memorising my searches too much and I need clean, fresh results from Bing. 

Who’s more important for SEO- Google or Bing?

According to StatCounter’s report on Search Engine Market Share Worldwide to Feb 2019…

  • Google has a 92.92% share of the search engine market
  • Bing has a 2.38% share of the search engine market
  • Yahoo!’s share is 1.79%
  • Baidu is 1.03%, Yandex RU 0.55% and DuckDuckGo 0.38%. 

Check this out: 

market share search engines

*For the record, KFC’s “secret” herbs and spices are understood to be mustard, paprika, garlic salt, ginger, white pepper, salt, thyme, basil, oregano, celery salt and black pepper. Many believe buttermilk and monosodium glutomate (MSG) are part of the mix.  

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