Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO Matters. Creating a great website with an appealing look and feel is just the first step in the process of building a website. It use to be that design was king. And you could have traffic easily. But as the landscape has changed. Things have moved from ‘build it and they will come’ to more of a situation where ‘content is king’. If your site is not deemed as having valuable information, then no level of SEO will matter. So, SEO becomes important, but just important is the quality, authoritative content.
How does SEO compare to Authoritative Content?
Until recently, SEO was almost magical as it was a mix of having the right meta tags and keywords, so that the search engines could look at those meta tags and determine how relative that data was in comparison to the search phrase. That made SEO easy. But it also made it easy for black hat faking of SEO. Some smart programmer could manipulate the meta tags and lead the search engines to display up information that was not even remotely related to the search term. So. the search engines had to get smarter. And they did.
SEO in 2016 is way different than in 2010.
It’s pretty amazing to think how fast information technology has moved. The relationship between the content consumer and the content creator has a new guard. The Search Engine. And each search engine company is trying to stay relevant and better than the competitors. So, serving up the most accurate results is the most important thing to those companies, That is how they keep the most people using their search engine and making their company more valuable. To do this, the search engine companies have reduced their reliance on the keywords in the meta tags and now examine the content of every single page. There is a ton of things that they do to make this happen in the most productive way possible, but explaining them probably would not be that relevant to the topic of SEO. I will tell you that the search engine optimization trick of stuffing keywords in meta tags and stuffing those same keywords in the document – are the tricks of past era. Now, you’re text had better be clean. You’d better use full sentences. And you’d better have pertinent, useful information. Because the search engine systems are wicked smart and can spot crap articles a mile away.
How to have fair Search Engine Optimization Results.
The short answer is simple: Be ready to give valuable, pertinent information. Do it in a format that the search engines can read easily. And don’t try to fake anything to shortcut the system. SEO is not easy. And it’s not usually ‘one and done’. You need to have a strategy that will not easily be out done by your competition.
Example: Let’s say you have a nice plumbing site in a town of 100k people. The top 3 plumbers listed at Google are all fighting for the top spot which they earned before Google quit looking at keywords. They’re in a decent spot because their SEO has been in place a long time. But, without a new strategy, a new plumbing company can drop into the mix with some new, well formatted pages and hundreds of words on the different subjects within the world of plumbing. A few people find this new plumbers writings witty and informational and they post about it on their blogs or in Social media – next thing you know, they move to the #1 spot and their phones are ringing off the hook. Now – SEO is fluid, just like the search results. So the top dogs are in a fight to get that top spot back.
And what do they do? The same thing they did to get to the top that they did before. Keyword stuffing, and adjusting their meta tags. But that has the opposite affect for them – they start to move down the list because they’re not using good SEO tactics, they’re actually attempting to ‘game’ the system. So, Google starts to punish them for it. That sucks.
So how do you have good SEO results that are fair?
Create content. Yep. Clean, wonderful, useful content. That’s the first big step. And let me tell you – it can be daunting. Try to sit down some time and write 4000 words about plumbing. By the time you’re done, you’ll swear that your brain is going to reach around and eat your face. Really. But 4000 words of original text about plumbing would be two good webpages full of content that Google would love to see and will score you high in the world of search engine optimization.
How many words should an article be?
Some people will tell you that 400 words on any subject is fine. I call bullshit. And I can show you proof of what the Search Engines like. Look up something like ‘Mel Gibson’. Does Mel’s personal website come up? Nope. Top of the list is Wikipedia and imdb.com. Both have thousands of words about Mel. So, Google just chose a couple sites as the ‘go-to information provider’ for that subject. Part of the reason is that those sites have become well known to the search engines for being accurate on other subjects too. That is called being ‘authoritative’. Now the question is – what do you want to be authoritative on?
SEO is about being Authoritative
So, I let you in on a big secret – you want to be seen as a relative authority on your subject matter. How in the hell do you do that? Again, write great material on the subject, but also – stay on subject. I personally am guilty of breaking this rule. And for SEO – it deflates your authority. Example: I have a blog that I rant on about everything from politics to tech tips. Oops. I look like a genius when it comes to productivity tips for the Mac – but I get no traction because my next article is making fun of Donald Trump’s hair. So don’t do that! Keep your subject tight around the areas that you want to be known for. SEO will be much easier for you then.
Is that it? Is there more to SEO?
That is not all. But it is the best place to start. If you get your authoritative content going, the next thing is to get technical. I’m not sure how much you know about HTML markup, but there are some things that need to be done well in the world of Markup. I don’t want to make your head explode, so I will give just one example: h2 tags
h2 tags are a markup that formats a headline as looking different from the paragraph text. An ‘h1’ tag is for headlines and there should only be one on a page. But an h2 tag is for what I would call ‘subject headlines’. You can have many of those on a page. And the search engines use those as part of examining a page for indicators of SEO. What they look for: Is the keyword found in h2 tags? Yep. If it is important enough for the writer to have made it a subject headline, then the search engine deems it to be a relevant term.
Again, this is just an example and scratching the surface of html markup related to SEO. We have a list of dozens of other key issues within coding that can make a massive difference in your search rankings.
Is Social Media important for SEO?
More and more, I have to say yes. Recently, I was involved in a test where we posted a link to a business site from Facebook. We then contacted 25 reliable people to go to the Facebook posting to hit ‘LIKE’ and to comment on the Facebook posting. Within 48 hours, with no other changes, the original business website rose 20 places in the search engines. Apparently, Google is now using Social proof as a means to analyze authority or relevance.
This will create all kinds of new methods of manipulation by the black hat types. For now, just know that Social Media will start to have an effect on Search Engine rankings.
So all of this News about SEO is great but…
So all of this News about SEO is great but what if I don’t have the time to do it. Then you’re screwed. Just kidding. That is where we come in. We can put together a reasonable Search Engine Optimization strategy built for you. We will consider where you are now, where your competition is, and the most cost effective way to get you leads that will convert to business. Want to rule the world? We can help (if the world you’re talking about is the town where you do business).