Let’s be honest, SEO is a game. We try to trick the search engines into finding our web page. We want to win the game by having more people talking about us and yelling louder than all the other pages when Google comes looking for something.
SEO is not about being the loudest, most bold webpage. SEO is about being relevant to the person who is searching for actual information.
Search engines make money when people use their searches and click on their links. They can only stay on top if customers are finding what they are looking for. When the people at the top are just the people with bigger budgets, the search engine game fails.
Sidenote confession: Even though I talk about Google and even SEO according to ‘Google standards,’ I don’t use Google as my primary search right now. With the current changes, I am finding more relevancy, so they may win me back, eventually.
When I first used Google, I would find a bunch of salesy, spammy sites with lots of ads and no content. Some of them even looked relevant, and I pride myself at being able to spot bogus sites. I even sometimes would find a page with the same title I searched for, but on that page was no actual information. It really irked me.
I may be biased due to my experience, but the truth is: in regards to how SEO is manipulated, YES, SEO IS DEAD!
However, we are in a changing world. SEO is integrating more search relevant content. For instance, if I look up something about fitness, search engines intuitively know that I may be searching for a gym. Local gyms websites will end up in my search box even though I did not ask about gyms.
How do search engines work?
Search engines look around the internet to find web pages that consistently put out good content that is relevant to people who are searching. They include things like bounce-rate (how long you stay on a webpage) and task completion (did you do what you came there to do, like watch a video). It is a long and well-protected algorithm that figures all of this out.
If a search engine sees that your site is getting a lot of attention for a particular subject, then they index, or record, your site as being relevant for that topic. You move up in the ranks when you have more relevant topics relating to particular search words (keywords). Keywords are words that are repeated and therefore ‘key’ to what the page should be found for.
‘Moving up in ranks’ means that you get closer to the top of page one on a search for a specific keywords. Think about it, how many times do you go to page 2, or even 3? People want to find their topic on page one and at the top. That is the ‘position’ you want to have based on your SEO.
Basically, sites like Bing, Google, Yahoo and all the others, send little searching robots (or spiders) to go through a webpage to find repeated words and relevant phrases. Those words are used to return information to searching people like you and me.
What is working now?
Technically, anything that has a pattern can be tricked. We are not talking about tricking the system. If you want those tactics, you can look elsewhere. These are tactics that will work time and time again, no matter what kind of updates search engines go through.
High ORIGINAL Quality Content
High quality content is working great. You want to put out content that people want to read. Someone may not want to hear you talk about yourself or your company, but they do want to read about a problem they have or a solution you have found, more on that in a minute.
You want to have something posted on your page at least weekly so that search crawlers know to keep looking for updated information from your page. You want that information to be original or those crawlers will skip over your page like the plague.
The key to high quality content is how it is formatted and presented. Keep it as short as it needs to be. I suggest around 500 words, but there is nothing wrong with a quick article now and again that include lists, bullet points and bold important information. Don’t be afraid to be long, either…just look at this article. You want to be as long as you need to be to relevantly talk about the subject you are revealing.
Customer Focused Content
There is an old adage that says, “you are not selling a drill, you are selling a hole.” If you understand your customers and where they are in the customer buying cycle, you can put relevant information on your page for them to find. You become the ‘go to’ company for a particular topic.
For instance, you may not want to put a video about how to use a drill if you are a hardware store. Instead, you may want to create a series of ‘how tos’ for your customers. You would put a video out about how to drill a hole. (Remember, people are not looking for a drill, they are looking for a hole.) While they are looking for a hole, why not show them how your new drill works to create the best hole with the ease of use. You are making the content relevant to their needs.
We have talked about authority a lot, let me just keep it simple. Authority means you know what you are talking about. The more content you have online about a particular subject, the more search engines will go to your page for relevant information. This content should be on your page, on videos, podcasts, and even written articles on other pages.
Social media is all about ‘social proof’. Search engines look to see how many people have friended or circled you as a first step. Then, they take into account how many people are engaging with that social media: likes, shares, etc.. The good thing about social media is that it is easy to track and respond to. If you go to sites owned by search engines, you are found quicker because search engines index their sites quicker…uhem…Google Plus and Youtube…cough, cough.
What about all the letters: SEO, SEM, On Page, Off Page, SMM’s?
SEO is search engine optimization. You are supposed to make your site relevant to your customers and because of that you are found by search engines.
SEM is search engine marketing. It is a larger category of SEO, but it includes paid advertising like PPC, which stands for Pay Per Click.
There are two types of optimization: on page and off page. “On page” means that your meta tags, keywords and formatting ‘on’ you webpage is set up to be easier to find by search engine robots. “Off page” tactics include getting people to link back to your site (backlinks), with relevant words.
SMM is Social Media Marketing. It is a way of using social media links to verify the relevancy of your page for specifically searched keywords.
I think this is a good place to stop for now. I could literally write a book about all of this and maybe I should. I just wanted to create a basic article that gives you some relevant content about SEO. Hopefully, you found it interesting enough to share with some friends and other entrepreneurs…nudge, nudge.
Seriously, though, I would love to hear your questions and comments. Please don’t be afraid to ask a question because we get better as entrepreneurs when we work together: ask your questions or leave your comments on Youtube or GooglePlus.