Let’s talk about web design for optimal SEO.
You will hear a lot of conjecture on the Internet about what constitutes good SEO and bad SEO.
I believe the majority of this talk is nonsense and I’m going to tell you why.
Google has constant updates to their algorithm. Every time one of these updates rolls down the pipeline the entire Internet community goes into a frenzy. This frenzy usually sounds and looks like this.
“Everything has changed, links don’t work, content doesn’t work, meta-description doesn’t work” and so on and so forth. There will always be one remaining factor that is the primary ranking factor as the last Man standing. Lately, it seems to be traffic. The gurus of SEO will tell you that traffic is the ultimate signal and that without traffic your site simply won’t rank.
My question regarding this idea is this. How does a website rank in the first place on the first page of Google? We know that 95% of the traffic to websites comes from page 1 so this seems to be a bit of a contradiction. If traffic gets you ranked I newly launched page stands no chance of ever ranking because it will never get any traffic by the very reasoning that no brand-new page what ever show up on page 1 of the search engine for any competitive term.
So we have a bit of a contradiction. It’s kind of like when you’re searching for a job when you’re young enough had never had a job before. Everybody says you need experience to work at XYZ place of employment but without ever having worked anywhere how are you supposed to get any experience. It’s kind of a parallel dilemma, isn’t it?
So what is the truth about Google have gotten a little boost of energy algorithm updates. I believe the truth go something like this. The things that worked to rank a website 10 years ago, five years ago, two years ago, and today are generally the same. The problem with peoples perception that everything has changed every time there is an update I believe comes from the fact that people like to be provocative to garner attention. By waving their arms wildly screaming at the sky is falling they believe people will listen to them every of your them as the current guru when it comes to Google knowledge.
Just saying that there has been a modest, subtle modification to the way that search algorithms and interpret data isn’t a very sexy and doesn’t get a lot of attention. It’s like our new media sensationalizing everything just for the sake of getting listeners tuning into other programs. The Internet has become the new media and the purveyors of media nonsense are now the Internet gurus with their Micro Followings of intent listeners hanging on every word they say.
I work with a mastermind group and several of the members of this mastermind group do testing. Bye testing I mean that they have real websites on which they perform real experiments to see what the reactions of the search engines will be. By doing so, there can be no speculation about what new algorithm updates mean in terms of ranking. We get to tune in and benefit from these experiments and the resulting data so there’s less guesswork in our real world endeavours. After all, much of the work that we are doing is for clients so there is a lot on the line when it comes to the results. We can’t afford to speculate when somebody’s business is at stake. We like to be succinct and get the job done so we can get paid and get referrals from satisfied customers.
Without giving away the plot and revealing some very hard earned data that is proprietary to our group let me just say in general that not much has changed when it comes to search engine. What has changed in recent years is the details. And when I say details I mean typically the percentages for optimization have changed not the core principles.
Inbound links to your site still rank despite what people will tell you. Exact match anchor text still ranks despite what people will tell you. What differs is the context in which it works and not whether it actually works or not. But people like to take a ham-fisted approach to change. Nobody really likes change so they tend to overreact to it instead of giving it to its appropriate response. Keep in mind that a search engine algorithm is a very complicated thing. Many of the changes to the search algorithm have been put into place to try to prevent people from gaming their system. The problem with Google making sweeping changes to the criteria for what constitutes a search result is that they can end up mass penalizing a large segment of the population by making a change that’s intended to restrict the gaming have a specific tool. This is an unintended consequence that Google cannot afford so they have to be able to make changes incrementally and subtly.
But here is what I will say. The standard practices as far as SEO are concerned still apply the same way they always have. The key is to do your research ahead of time and let that be the foundation of how you build the site. Just like building a house if you get the foundation right everything else makes a lot more sense. This foundation usually starts with keyword research. Keep in mind that Google is nothing more than a librarian and the library is Internet and the servers which house the information that the librarian looks through.
If you do your keyword research properly this will dictate how your URL strings will be worded. It will also dictate what you will put in your title tags and what you will put in your meta-description as well.
There is an order of importance in regards to the three elements. Your strongest keywords should be put in your URL strings. Your second strongest should be putting your title. You’re third strongest should be put in your meta-description. I’m not going to tell you why this is the case I’m just going to ask you to trust me. We have research to back up what I’m saying.
Although I am the first to bash those who say content is king you should still take content relatively seriously within the level of priority that it belongs. In these terms what you really need to be considering his the amount of content that goes on a page as opposed to the quality of the content.
Although Google is getting smarter it is still a machine and really can’t read content in the same way that human being can. What I mean by this, is the Google can’t really judge good content from bad content. First of all good content is subjective and all things subjective are based on human perception and not on anything really quantifiable.
What I consider good content really comes down to my own personal favoritism and not to anything you can measure with any kind of incremental yardstick.
So when it comes to content probably the best piece of advice is to simply look at how much content and the winning competition seems to have under page and do at least that much.
Of course content matters when it comes to keeping people on the page and keeping them reading and in that regard it is an SEO factor. But it’s really an SEO factor “ after the fact”. It’s not going to get you ranked and it probably won’t prevent you from getting ranked but once you are ranked it could certainly help keep you there.
It’s kind like the age old question “ which came first the chicken or the egg”. Ranking comes first in the majority of that comes from you’re URL’s, Titles and meta-description. The added factored being inbound links.
Get this stuff right and you are 90% of the way there!
I know that I’m being somewhat invasive in not telling you too many specifics and this is intentional. The secrets of SEO are closely guarded among our group and I intend to keep it that way.
After all the secrets are worth money and Money talks.
WHAT IS SEO?
Honestly , does any business person really care about the technical definition of, or the strategies needed to implement an effective Search Engine Optimization campaign? If you do, then that’s great, we can talk more about that.
For now, let’s talk about what it can achieve for your business!
WHAT CAN SEO DO FOR ME?
SEO, over a relatively short period of time, can help your website get to page one of Google. 90% of the clicks to websites come from visitors to Page 1 !
30% of those come from the first entry on page 1
WHAT IF I AM ALREADY ON PAGE 1?
That’s great. But for what keyword(s)?
You could very well be ranking on page 1 for your name but that is a given. You need to rank for the more competitive keywords because they are the words and phrases that people are, by nature, typing into Google to find a product or service such as yours.
TELL ME MORE ABOUT KEYWORDS
Keywords are like individual phonebooks. In the tradition phone book you had a ranking based on your name. With a company name like “AAAAA Abattoir ” you would likely be the first listing on page 1. ” Zekes Slaughter-house” would be much harder to find! Keywords have far less limitations.
Let’s say you were a hypnotherapist. People may type in “hypnotherapist” to seek you out. The results for that search would constitute a virtual phonebook that Google would assemble for the searcher.
But “hypnotherapist in Phoenix” or “hypnotist” or “hypnotherapy for smoking” would create their own individual “Virtual Phonebook” pages with very different results for those doing the search!
OK SO HOW DOES THIS CONVERT TO $$$?
Simple…. People search…. You show up in that search on page 1…. People contact you. …More contacts + more sales = “GET THE GREEN $$$”
BUT…..You need to show up on page 1…and not just for one keyword
HOW MANY KEYWORDS SHOULD I RANK FOR?
That depends on your budget, your type of business, your personal objectives and many other factors.
There could be just a few keywords that make all the difference to your situation and there could be hundred
IS SEO MY ONLY OPTION TO SHOW UP ON PAGE 1?
No , you could pay for ads that may or may not put you on page one all of the time. It depends on the competition for keywords again. If your competitors are paying a higher price per click you fall lower in the rotation on page 1.
The costs can get very high in competitive markets.
HOW HIGH CAN ADWORDS COSTS GET?
Depends on how high of a budget you have.
I know a plumbing company that spends $70,000 per month!
It’s possible that a strong SEO campaign could achieve similar results for a fraction of the cost with more sustainable results!