We all get them … those annoying emails, contact form requests, and even phone calls from people who claim that, “We can make you number one on Google.” If you examine them close enough, most of the people sending these out have a Gmail account without a legitimate email, and why on earth, if they are SEO experts, are they calling me on the phone? And finally, if you have the time to research them, why are they not number one on Google? The answer to that is plain and simple … they are not Google.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO (search engine optimization) is the methodology that website owners use to get ranked higher in search engines. Now, we all have a desire to be number one, but it’s just not that easy. First and foremost, you have to realize that you’re not in control, Google is. As a matter of fact, Google owns 70 to 80 percent of all web search traffic. The rest of them like bing, Yahoo, AOL and all the others own only 20 to 30 percent of all web search traffic.
How your website ranks in Google is part science and part voodoo. Google has created algorithms such as Panda, Penguin, and now Hummingbird. The algorithms help the search engine determine the best results for what people are searching for. The reason that they are using algorithms now is because people have tried to cheat the system, and succeeded, for years. It used to be that a person could just keyword bait a website, and the more times that keyword showed up, the higher you would rank. However, that is no longer the case.
In the old days, with static HTML and PHP websites, you had to hand code the SEO in every single page. Today with CMS systems like WordPress, Drupal, And Joomla (don’t use Joomla), there are now plug-ins that actually handle a lot of that for you. It’s so much easier to add SEO to a website than it used to be.
These are the most basic parts of SEO:
- Title tags – even though the page for your blog post has a title, a title tag is something a little bit more elaborate. It usually contains the name of the site, the page that you’re on, and some additional keywords that define what the page or the site is about. This is limited to 50 or 60 characters. Anything longer than that and Google just truncates and ignores.
- Meta-tags – meta-tags are the description of what is on this page. You can use just keywords and commas or a full written sentence…it’s up to you. I have seen and used both, and honestly, I can’t tell you which one is more effective. Meta-tags are limited to 156 characters about twice the length of the title tag.
- Alt tags – these tags are usually added to your graphics images and even to other media. These use descriptive key words that explain what the images are about and help to build some credibility about the page and its content.
All of this is still important to have on your website, but it’s nowhere near as important as it used to be because of the new Google algorithms.
People are still using SEOs like they did 10 years ago. They still try to keyword paid or link bait to let people know what’s on that page. Often times, you’ll see a page that has basic content at the top, and then keyword baiting at the bottom. Let’s say that you’re an electrician…The text on the page will include: Electrician Aurora, Electrician Batavia, Electrician Geneva, Electrician St. Charles, Electrician North Aurora. Sometimes people even go so far as to put that at the top of the page in the core content. Think about this for second? There has never been a web browser or search engine that has ever bought anything. When people come to these pages, they can get confused and leave quickly.
Google’s new algorithms concentrate primarily on the content on your pages. This is the most important thing to Google when trying to deliver great search results to its users. So, that means the better the content, the more frequently it’s updated, the more relevant to the search terms and in turn, the higher you will rank. I’m not saying that I’m anti-Essie or that you should not at least do the basics, but content is king especially in the search engine world.
How To Good SEO
I’ve seen the greatest results in SEO through content marketing. A prime example of this is when I started my business back in 2001. I was not thinking about rankings in Google, because I was doing Internet CDs, not Internet marketing. B2b Interactive Marketing was a play on words on my name Brian Basilico or “B” squared. Now, if you do a search on B2b Interactive Marketing, I’m showing up on the first page, if not at the top position on Google.
How did I do this? I did this by developing great content and having it shared all over the Internet. I also used blogging and social media as a distribution methodology. My blog articles’ podcasts are shared all over the Internet through social media and aggregators. When people interact with that content, then they back into my website through much more popular websites and social media channels.
I agree that this methodology may not work for everybody, especially if you’re doing e-commerce, but the concept is clear. The better the content, the more accurate it is to what people are searching for and the better chance you have of winning the search engine battle. Search engines are trying to deliver great results to their end-users, and you can help them by providing great content that matches what people are searching for. The days of keyword and link baiting are quickly coming to an end.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on the subject and any success or horror stories that you come across. So, please, comment away!