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Receptional ran a search engine optimisationseminar for its new team members yesterday and Andy Langton (our CTO) led with an exercise… to try to get one of our newest team members – Matt Loughlin – to rank on Google. The results were fairly dramatic.

Before the seminar, we asked Matt to write up a page about himself. We also bought a domain in his name which had a default "holding page" by the time we started the seminar.

Our CTO – Andy Langton – led the seminar, adapting Matthew’s web page and content in real time to show the team the important elements of search. We then helped to seed the domain by letting Google know via a couple of our more established pages and also mentioned our new recruit in a few choice places.

Within the hour, the MD’s personal blog was ranking number two for the term, but as you can see from the screenshot, Matt Loughlin had "bagged" the number worldwide number 2 spot within four hours of the seminar. (Number 1 in the UK only results).

Google results for [matt loughlin]

The number one spot is taken by a Wikipedia article on a person called "Matt Loughlin" who is an American sportscaster. He should be careful – there’s a new kid on the block.

What does this prove?

Apart from an American sportscaster, ranking for this term in itself is not something that is too difficult because there is not too much competition on the term. However – the exercise does dispel quite a few myths about Google.

Myth No. 1: It takes several weeks for a new website to get noticed by Google. The domain was registered 9 days before the exercise. Until we started the exercise, the only visitor had been Receptional’s CTO. The web page was still a holding page at the start of the day, yet the site was in Google’s results by the end.

Myth No. 2: You need a large site to rank in Google. This site has one page and one picture.

Myth No. 3: It’s all about links these days – on page SEO is pointless. Yes, Google did of course discover the site through links… but not through hundreds. The on page SEO was still key to ranking on the term Matt Loughlin.

Receptional cannot always change the raw code on a client website. We can, however, tell your web developers exactly what they need to do to improve the effectiveness of the page in search engines. This is combined with off-page efforts and a deeper understanding of search engines, to produce a full Search Engine Optimisationaudit about how your site can be built to stand up to the search engines. A full search audit can cost less that an advert in an industry magazine and if you implement the recommendations the result COULD endure for years to come.

Dixon Jones