It’s 2016, you want to be one page one of google and SEO has undergone huge changes in the last few years. SEO as with the internet from whence it was born, is a changing beast. With some even going as far as to say SEO no longer exists as it once did. But I assure you, SEO is still important. Just not the way it used to be.
Back in the “Good old days” – which weren’t really good for anyone except people trying to make a quick buck from selling the mysterious snake tonic that was SEO – there were plenty of ways to ‘cheat’ the system. You could stuff any number of keywords into your page to get higher rankings, or stuff the keywords meta tag with a dictionary full of words to make your site relevant to absolutely everyone. But think about it, as a website owner, sure you want to reach as many people as possible, but as a searcher, you really only want the best result from your search.
Google and others, quickly realised that in order to stay relevant and to be the first choice of search engine, they had to make sure that the search results they provided were as relevant to your search as possible and the war on spam began. So much has changed and been tweaked over the years, that some things just aren’t as important as they once were i.e. meta keywords are now completely ignored by google.
The thing is, yes spammy SEO is bad and should be fought to keep everyone happy, but SEO is still alive and well and until such time that we have a better, more catchy acronym we will just have to stick with SEO. And in many ways, Search Engine Optimisation has become an even better description than it once was. The thing is, people used to use keyword stuff anchor text to tell SERPs what your website was about. So for example if you have a website that sells shoes and you try and target the keyword ‘best shoes in the world’ then you would have a lot of links to your site with the anchor best shoes in the world. And this worked! But just think about that for a moment — Any unscrupulous person could make their website seem relevant for almost ANY keyword if they used metadata and anchor text and little more.
More to Come… Soon.
This is the beginning of a new way to get your SEO on, with added Ooo. We have always thought about our business in a way that makes it helpful and user-friendly. Last year we have had some pretty great achievements with our clients and we think that almost everyone should be able to benefit from SEO is some way.
Over the coming months, we are going to start selling not just the usual monthly based packages that we used to, but also the one-off “boost” packages. We have met a lot of great small companies that don’t like the idea of being tied into multi-month contracts, but would still like a little help. Though we still think monthly is the best option if your budget allows.
Some people are under the impression that a website is much like the film: Field of Dreams – build it and they will come. It’s huge disappointing shock when they find that simply isn’t the case. I’ve been there! I learnt to code and make websites long before I started to learn about search engine optimisation. I know it’s frustrating when google doesn’t know your website even exists, I’ve been there too.
First, you need to make sure google knows you exist. Then you need to make sure they know what content you have and what you’re about. You need to make sure that your content is being shown to the people searching for it.
SEO isn’t just one thing anymore and there is no quick fix. If you want to you could probably boil it down to two main divisions: On-page/website and off-page/website.
On page SEO
You may have heard of the saying ‘content is king‘. Let’s imagine that there are two internet video providers called Netpixs and Amazin Video 😉 Let’s say one has 10,000 videos that are largely home-made videos of cats sleeping and they other only has 20 videos but they are new BIG film releases. Chances are you are going to want to spend your money on the new film releases because of the quality of the content over quantity of videos.
Content IS king. If you want people to use your website it should be a valuable resource. What that actually means can depend on what market you are trying to appeal to, but the content is obviously one the most important aspects of any website.
When I was first getting into search optimisations I had a client that phoned me one day in a panic asking why their website didn’t rank for a certain key phrase – let’s say ‘donkey red marshmallow’ (that wasn’t the term) Up to this point I was being employed for a reason other than SEO and any attempt at offer my services to check over their website had been turned down and they had actually provided all the copy for the website.
The first thing I do is go to their website and search for ‘donkey red marshmallow’, nothing on page one, nothing on page two… nothing at all… Their website didn’t list ‘donkey red marshmallow’ ONCE, so how could google hope to know that it should rank for it if it’s never even mentioned on the website. This is one of the simplest ways to think about SEO as it is an optimisation. You need to make sure that google, bing, Duck Duck Go, Yahoo! and others know what your website is about. Sometimes you really need to spell it out for them; they are AI, computers and robots, after all, they may not be able to figure it out as a human would, you need to TELL them.
But wait! Don’t even think about stuffing all those keywords into the page! That’s what used to happen, remember? Search engines can tell now and they use other metrics like bounces to keep an eye on whether your content is relevant to people it’s served to. More on that later…
So basically this all boils down to ‘content is king’. You need to tell google through your copy, images, URL structure and metadata, what your website is about. You need to have high-quality content that REAL people will find useful. You need to make sure that every aspect of the page is the best it can be to give your site the edge over your competitors. But even then, google might not know it exists… It might not realise it’s as important as it should. So what’s next?
Off page / Off site
If you boil SEO down to it’s two main elements then this is the second. This used to be the most important element, back in the day of spam or black-hat SEO. This is basically how you tell Search engines that your content (which is now amazingly good) is worth being indexed and then shown to everyone that searches for it! How do you do this? Backlinks.
You’ve probably heard of backlinks, due mainly to the reliance on them in the last few decades. The backlinks are links to your website from other websites. Once upon a time, unscrupulous spammers used to use back links to tell google that your website was way more important for certain things that it actually was. There was a rumour once that a particular car manufacturer was using spammy back-links to increase its ranking when people searched its competitor’s cars. So google had to rethink its algorithm.
Let’s be clear. No-one knows exactly what algorithm Google uses to determine how important a page is – it’s a secret formula just like the coke or KFC recipe. It’s what makes its results so good, so you can understand why they’d need to protect it. However, there are ways to check and test what makes a big difference, what makes a small difference and then every SEO ninja can agree on some of the basics while also having their own ideas about what constitutes ‘Search Engine Optimised’ perfection.
Then there is the fact that every few months google will adjust and refine the algorithm they use in order to rank your website’s importance – so even if you know what works today, it may not work tomorrow.
Most can still agree that backlinks are important, though where they come from can be more important. If you imagine it in terms of Facebook or Twitter then a link to a website is equivalent to a link or retweet. More likes and retweets the better your website must be right? Well, google will think it must be kind of important to generate so much interest. and then a website with 20 links is more important than one with none. It’s a simple premise to be sure, but there are so many factors in what make a good link it’s ridiculous. Nofollow, follow, domain authority, and links to the referring domain itself. It all adds up to tell google how important every website is. Genius really.
Really, SEO is as simple as anything else. Building a house, plumbing or writing a book. I think we are all quite capable of doing it, but sometimes it’s better to get in a professional. If you own a small business it can be hard to make time for SEO as well as doing the actual work you are required to do for your business. That’s what we are here for. We specialise in UK SEO mainly because a ranking factor is spelling and grammar. We all know that American English is different enough that it can stand out.
Having owned many personal domains over the years I am always amazed at the amount of spam you get from people offering SEO services, recently they have mainly been from India. I am still amazed at how many people are fooled by these types of cold calls or emails. You are buying a service from another country, which can be reasonably expensive. So if they don’t do the work that they promised to carry out, or they use spam techniques that initially seem to be working but eventually get your site banned from google, what will you do? Ask for a refund? Ask for an emergency meeting to discuss options? Oh, they aren’t replying? Maybe you could fly out to India to have a chat and get that refund. It’s just not worth it. But then some people send money to that ‘about-to-be millionaire’ in Nigeria so they can get profits from the oil they are drilling (don’t do that by the way :).
We have offered consultancy for years, maybe you just need to get on the right track or need some creative ideas to really take your site to the next level. Maybe you just don’t know where to begin and need to be set in the right direction. If you are building a house or a skyscraper, you still need good foundations to build on. We can help at any stage of the way. But until now we have only offered pay monthly services. Going forward we are going to set up different packages so you can get EXACTLY what you need right now. one off SEO boost? New website kick start? We can help.
The thing is every website is different and every market is different. Are you one of many, or a niche? This will all change how much can be done and how big a difference can be seen. We believe there is always SOMETHING you can improve, so we always start with checking your website and your competitors. Maybe you would benefit from stealing your competitor’s traffic? or improved site structuring.
Imagine a town that has 10 shops, all of which are a bookshop. When you walk into the town, how do you choose where to buy your book? If you walk into a town with 10 shops, but only one bookshop, then it’s much easier to decide. It may be that you are entering a market that is quite competitive. You will need to spend more time getting to page one of google than if you are the only website that caters to your niche. Obvious but important.
If you would like any information, then please feel free to get in touch. We are happy to help and look forward to hearing from you.