We get some odd phone calls y'know, usually from people with some very strange ideas about what Google does and how it indexes your website. It's not their fault, obviously, us techie types have spent the best part of our lives trying to make anything computer related as impenetrable as possible to the layman.

We've done such a good job that anyone who does understand what we're talking about is usually labeled a ‘geek' or a ‘nerd'. Well, at the risk of embarrassing a few people who read this blog, I'm going to tell you about some of the bizarre things we've been told about SEO and then I'll explain how it should be done.

“If I create a paragraph with a full stop, then remove it next week, I'll be the top of Google”

No, no you won't.

I have to admit, I had to stifle a laugh at this one. I really don't know where the information came from or why anyone would think that this was a real way of boosting a website's rankings. It smacks a little bit of all those scam emails you get sent saying “send a pound to five people on the list and you'll get a million pounds by the end of the year”. It's just crazy.

I guess it may have something to do with the fact that Google does indeed like a website that changes a bit, it gives it a sense of ‘freshness' (is that even a word?) A website that changes and has lots of useful content is a good thing for people and for search engines, but adding and removing a full stop won't make any difference.

“This company can get Extreme Traffic!!! to my site for £29.95″

Wow, we'd all love Extreme Traffic!!! wouldn't we? I mean, that would be ace. Whatever Extreme Traffic!!! is.

We see this a lot. If you buy a hosting package you normally see an advert to add ‘search engine submission' to your site for a really low price. It's so low, you go ahead and do it and then expect all the traffic to come rolling in. But it doesn't.

Search Engine Optimisation has very little to do with submitting your website to search engines. It's all about content, marketing (offline as well as online) and building reputation. It doesn't matter how many times you submit your site, if the information is worthless or nobody is searching for it then there's no point – Google and all the others won't care.

“Apparently I can put as many keywords as I like in the meta tags, the more I put, the better my site will rank

Years ago the ‘keyword' meta tag used to have some use to it. Indeed, it seemed to be a good way of getting your site high for some keywords, but now the search engines pretty much ignore it. Why?

Well, ‘meta data' was a good idea. It's essentially data that describes data and the ‘keyword' tag was used to give a summary of the type of content you were about to find in the page. However it was very quickly discovered that you could put words in the keyword tag that had nothing to do with the actual pages, rank highly for them and almost trick people into going somewhere they didn't want to go.

When the web became monetised, this was a great way of making some quick cash. For example, you could create a page full of adverts for TVs and then add the words ‘BBC News' to your keywords. That's an extreme example that probably never happened, but you get the idea?

So how do I do SEO

As the title of this blog suggests, the best way to do SEO is slowly. Gradually climb up the search engine listings by adding good data, gaining good links naturally and building your site's reputation. Also be aware that your rankings will go down as well as up over a period.

There is a pattern to rankings and it's a bit like the stock market: you get a massive rise in ranking and then suddenly a huge drop followed by modest but significant rises again. Generally when SEO begins, the rise will be fairly dramatic within the first week or two and then suddenly, you're nowhere. The key is to stick with it and be patient.

In follow up articles I'll explain how you can increase your site's reputation and boost those rankings. In the meantime, if you haven't already got your ebook go get it now : DIY SEO.