I’m taking a break from horology in this month’s blog. Variety is the spice of life!

When I began writing this site I had no idea what ‘search engine optimisation’ (SEO) was. I’d never even heard of it but for the poorly-informed it’s the technique for getting your website in front of as many potentially interested people as possible.

No one helped me when the site was in its infancy. I had to sift through the techniques I found and believe me there’s a whole industry out there ready to take your cash for doing very little. Some want your money for doing nothing at all and make rediculous promises that cannot possibly be achieved since Google began introducing ever-complex algorithms to ensure that sites cannot buy their way up the ranking (unless they pay Google direct of course in terms of advertising and pay-by-click services). On that note a chap phoned me last month from Manchester asking for £230 to renew my annual “Google subscription”. My what? I asked, disbelievingly. He explained to me that if I wanted to remain prominent on the Google search engine, I had to pay the subscription and that if I didn’t renew I would drop off the rankings. What rubbish! I just wonder how many people running a business fall for this scam.

There are many methods of improving a website’s rankings but they all take time to work. Horologica.co.uk now gets around 2,250 new visitors a month and nearly 6,000 page hits. People from the UK make up the lion’s share, which is how I planned the strategy but there are still hundreds of overseas visitors every week from the US, Canada, Australia, India, and all over Europe of course. I’ve even had visitors from New Zealand, Brazil, Vietnam, China, South Africa, Kenya, Argentina, Guatemala, Bolivia, the UAE, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Belarus, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Japan. It’s not because of secret hidden coding that these visitors found the website out of the many trillions in existence the world over, nor because I’ve paid someone to promote it – in fact, I’ve never paid anyone a penny, ever; it’s way too much fun doing it yourself! No, it’s because the site is genuine, interesting and liked by the people reading it. It meets their needs and expectations.

SEO comprises a great many tools, far more than I’ve discovered and more than I can begin to understand. But once you’ve got to the first page of Google,  it becomes an obsession to try and get to the number one position there. Now, I’ve never been into social networks like Facebook and Twitter at all really (I can’t see why you would want to tell the world all about your day, or why anyone would be interested anyway). But social networking has become a big marketing tool and it’s free so I’ve just  added a Facebook LIKE button to the pages of my site to see what impact it has, if any. There’s one below – if you’re on Facebook yourself, please click on it!

Don’t forget, the clocks go back on 28th October (it’s only in the UK though,  so don’t worry if you happen to be reading this in Seoul!).