There are certain companies out there that claim to be Search Engine Optimization experts.
We are not one of them.
I would say we are pretty well educated on “SEO” and understand how each part of a website affects it. In my opinion there are FAR too many self-proclaimed ‘experts’ out there. The web, and in relation, Search Engine Optimization, is a dynamic changing beast. Gurus, experts and the like are just companies trying to gain a competitive edge in the customers eyes with their marketing.
Results are important though, obviously. The best thing you can do for your search ranking nowadays is to just learn a few basic tenets. And follow them religiously.
The Google Algorithm
The Google Algorithm, which I’ll refer to as TGA from this point on, is the computer engine which Google has created to analyze websites for their search value according to different keywords and phrases. TGA changes regularly, but there was a major change that affected SEO philosophy. This took place in on February 24, 2011. It was called Panda.
Pre-Panda, website builders used to just load their websites with target keywords, name their pages with them, and work their meta tags to get ranked higher in search results. The problem with this method is that there were many high ranked sites that actually had little to no useful or relevant content. Just because someone builds a website that has the keywords “pool cleaning” scattered throughout it X number of times does not mean the actual website is useful for a user looking for pool cleaning.
Google understood this, and wanted to make TGA smarter and more human-like. Hence Panda.
Panda, and it’s later iterations now use different methods to determine site ranking. I’m going to give you a little secret insight on the BIGGEST thing that will help your search ranking. Come in close. I’ll whisper it…
GOOD RELEVANT CONTENT.
The cat’s out of the bag.
TGA actually analyzes the content on your website and determines authenticity and value by the way the content is written (and a few other factors I will discuss momentarily). TGA’s biggest goal is to return the best possible results to a user who searches a specific keyword or phrase.
Search phrase: “Arizona Real Estate”
Old style text:
“We are the #1 provider of Arizona Real Estate for people looking to buy a home in AZ. For all of your real estate needs call us today if you live in Arizona”
Exactly how a human would talk about it? Not quite.
Great AZ Real Estate website? Probably not.
Remember this mantra:
Google Wants Content.
The best thing any website owner can do for their search is to create regular new content on their site (i.e. BLOG). Yes, I said the B word. If you have a decently built site with your company basics on it, you just want to add new content on top of that on a regular basis. TGA sees you as more of an authority with more relevant content you have living on your website.
BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW TO BLOG!
Well if you have read this far, you probably figured out that… I don’t either 🙂
Good blog content should entertain and/or educate. As an authority in YOUR field, you should be able to educate a little bit and even sometimes entertain.
If you run a plumbing service, you’re thinking “Who the hell wants to read a plumbing blog?”
Here’s an idea. Write what you know. How about:
“How much will an energy-efficient toilet REALLY save me on my water bill?”
“Reviewing the new XYZ water filter”
“How-To: Simple sink unclog”
You get the picture. It may not be that sexy, but these are things that people may be interested to know and read. By doing this, you are helping your business twofold.
- You are helping your search ranking by adding content to your website
- You are creating readers that may revisit your site at a later date to read other content.
Regarding #2: When you create re-visitors, you have a better chance of them choosing you when they are in need of your product or service. They are more familiar with your company just by your blog content. You’ve already got your foot in the door a little bit.
This idea is not mine. The guy that really developed this philosophy is the amazing Gary V. He’s worthy of the term Guru.
So, I’ll just end here with the basic list (as I see it) of things Google wants to see out of your website.
- Content. Lots of it. New content added regularly. (Think 1-2 times a week)
- Responsive website
– If your site is not mobile friendly, when users search on a mobile device you will rank lower just because of that.
- Clean page titles
- Good domain name
- Meta description tag on pages.
- OpenGraph tags for Facebook and sharing.
These are the basics. Start here and you’ll already be moving in the right direction.