Traditional or contemporary – which does Google like?

Simon Taylor Furniture’s MD on the importance of making sure your website stays high up the search rankings with Google

Having recently sold one of my businesses, I decided to dedicate time and effort into updating my Simon Taylor Furniture website. As part of this project, I have hired a PR and copywriting agency and a separate SEO (search engine optimisation) agency.

One uses e-mail to communicate with me, the other uses some kind of new-fangled system where everyone shares information. One works to deadlines, the other to time-led projects. Both are very good, but while I totally comprehend what one is saying to me, the other might as well be speaking in Greek a lot of the time. I understand what an algorithm is, I get that my website needs to be ‘on the first page’, but then it all becomes a bit complicated.

So, here goes… I have a website promoting kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms in the main and it has a menu, like all websites. That menu, like many of the websites in our industry, has drop-down subfolders entitled Contemporary Kitchens or Traditional Kitchens and the same for the other room categories. From there, it unsurprisingly breaks down the details of my projects into contemporary or traditional options.

I am very happy with this situation, my team and my clients seems to like it, and until recently, so did Google, apparently. I don’t mean the people at Google, who I am sure are very charming – I mean the algorithm.

“I understand what an algorithm is, I get that my website needs to be ‘on the first page’, but then it all becomes a bit complicated”

Simon Taylor, managing director, Simon Taylor Furniture

Maybe it is less of a difficult situation if you are not working in the kitchens or interiors industries. Maybe there is a magic wand that you can wave to make it all better, but as far as I understand it, the rules of these algorithms keep changing, which means that what works one day, may not work at all the next.

My SEO agency has suggested that I break down the subcategories of the projects on my website in a different way, so that Google and other search engines will pick them up more effectively. But, that means doubling up, as a traditional shaker design might also be a wood kitchen and it may also be hand-painted, and I am sure that most independents are all in the same boat, here. Whereas before, it would have been easier to actually attribute all these descriptors to each of the projects, it is seemingly no longer possible, as you can only have a single-word option – such as shaker, wood, hand-painted, etc.

This limited option doesn’t leave much for the potential customer to go on, in my view.

I am not a mathematician, but it seems to me that SEO is a minefield that is totally at the mercy of minesweeping algorithms. I also understand that the rules change all the time for Google advertising as well – but who knows why or how?

How can the many small businesses in our industry possibly keep up with all these changes? Thankfully, the SEO agency that I am working with is up to speed on all of this and they certainly seem to know what they are doing. But I don’t fully understand it, which feels strange when I am making genuine business decisions about subjects that I am not, and never will be, fully au fait with.

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