The Internet is a noisy place. With millions of competing businesses vying to attract your attention, you need a good strategy to cut through and this is where SEO comes in.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is not an instant fix but more a set of guiding principals that can help your site improve its organic growth on search engines. But, SEO requires an on going commitment to the quality of your website.
So, What is SEO?
You will hear many statements about SEO but it is relatively simple. First, we need to understand search engine companies. What is it that search engine companies’ want? How do they make money? Therefore, you have to think about what you bring to the table that can help the search engine company achieve its goals and in return receive support from the search engine company.
Lets break it down.
Search engine companies are in the business of knowledge and advertising. The key aspects of their search engine business model are, content, freshness and relevance.
There is an old adage, “Content is King” this is the key aspect for quality SEO and for the search engine companies this is critical as it fits into the knowledge bucket.
If you were only to do one thing, it would be to improve the quality of your sites content. This alone will give you the biggest bang for your buck and improve your webpage rank.
Freshness, there is nothing more useless to a search engine if the information being returned in a search is old. Would you prefer to find information that more recent or something written in 2001? Therefore, you need to keep your content up to date and continually creating new content.
Think of a radio station playing the top 40. Songs in the top ten are played more often than the songs at the bottom of the charts. This is the same are with search engines but instead of play rotation, it is how often does the search engine crawl your site. If your content is constantly, being updated and new content added the crawler returns more often. If the content is stale, the crawler will come back less often and eventually it rarely returns. The consequence of this is your sites rank will slip until it falls off the chart.
This is true for search engines as it is for a shops display window, if you do not change the display you will lose customers.
Freshness also relates to relevance, if the content is recent then the results are more likely to be higher in the search results and since search engines make money from selling advertising, it provides better value for money to the advertisers.
Other aspects of relevance are connections between your site and other quality sources or the interconnectedness AKA a web. Think of this as a referral system. People are more likely to trust your site if other valid sites link to your site and the more quality links the more relevant your site must be. This can be a very difficult thing to achieve especially for small business and has lead to an entire industry dedicated to link sharing but, link sharing is problematic as the links must be quality links.
Quality links are from valid sources such as newspapers, business directory listings, and related industry bodies etc. Having a link from a comment section on a blog about restaurants is not going to be a quality link if you are an accountant. Using link-sharing services may give an initial lift in your websites rank but in the medium to long term can irreversibly damage your online reputation.
There are no guarantees that you will be the first listing in a search result but there are no magic tricks that will get you the number one spot either. However, by follow our simple advice your websites ranking should over time improve.
In this article we have covered the main points for an SEO strategy. Some other important issues are keyword development and content design around keywords, the technology your website is built on. It is critical to choose a platform that is Google and SEO friendly. We use Drupal as it sets the benchmark in this area and WordPress is also good but many of the other platforms are not strong in this area and some will damage your online reputation. Lastly website and page load speed is a critical factor, if the pages take to long to load your ranking will suffer.
In closing even Google gets SEO spammers and this is a direct quote from one of Google’s pages on SEO:
Amazingly, we get these spam emails too:
I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories..."
Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for "burn fat at night" diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators.
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