By Myk Baxter
Whether it’s about protecting your online reputation, or just another process in the development of your new business website, search engine optimisation (also known as SEO), is a necessary and incredibly important task that needs to be done right and then maintained indefinitely.
Unlike my other articles in this series that have definitive answers and end-points that you can aim towards, SEO is a more fluid, flexible system that often changes without notice, potentially leaving many companies left in the wake of other businesses who employ dedicated SEO management services.
It’s Not Just Algorithms
You’ve probably seen time and time again that Google has announced a brand new algorithm that is said to change the face of SEO forever. Although not wrong, as any optimisation will need to be adjusted for the new protocols of Google and other search engines, the idea that all SEO is dictated by search engine algorithms is not completely accurate.
When an algorithm change does strike, websites ranking on the top of the search results for a given phrase one day could be relegated to page three after the change. In some cases, even the most reputable sites with consistently good content and strong SEO find themselves dropping five or even 10 places in a Google search.
This, thankfully, only happens when more significant changes happen to the search engine algorithms. Smaller changes have smaller effects and overall the system maintains the same architecture and processes, making it easy enough to adapt to…if you know what you’re doing.
The world of SEO is ever-changing, and the pace of that change is always accelerating. In digital marketing, it’s both a blessing and a curse. So how do companies survive this SEO minefield and keep their businesses at the top of search engine searches – one of the primary sources for new and existing customer returns?
For most SEO experts, whether they are from a digital marketing service or employed internally for businesses to manage in-house, a series of more personalised approaches to SEO are crucial to getting results.
Through informed trial and error, the right balance of keywords, metadata and link sharing can be an effective tool in keeping a website on the top page of Google and other search engines. Inexperienced managers will often default to more generic SEO practices that ends up benefitting the site owner more than the customers it targets – ultimately reducing tangible opportunities.
At MBM, I work hard with my team to avoid traditional SEO ‘hacks’ that are often outdated before they are effective, instead focusing on the creation of genuine, user-friendly and engaging content that is both tailored to the customer and injected with top quality SEO elements, such as:
- Descriptive metadata and body text with keywords that work on both levels
By using the right keywords, you help both the human searcher and the search engine bot figure out what you’re offering and what your pages are about. By figuring out which keywords pack the most punch and putting them in the most prominent places will help everyone involved. However, be warned! If your text starts to read unnatural, then people will be turned away. Stick to compelling copy for humans, it always pays off in the long-run.
- Content that promotes crawling
From the slide of the mouse wheel to the scanning tactics of search engine bots, ensure your copy is crawlable in every way it can. Humans search for excellent web content to be sure to keep it entertaining or informative. Balance great writing with important keywords, images and other binary files in your main body so it can be easily readable by crawlers These days, Google can spot bad content a mile off, and so will your readers.
- Relevant links with authority sites
How many of us have had that email from some unknown blogger who is requesting you to share their link in a blog that ‘just happens’ to be about (and sometimes is better than) the blog on your own site? Yes, this is the SEO version of a cold call, but although annoying they have some merit. A lot of SEO comes from link building, but the era of sending links out to hundreds of people no longer holds up. Today, search engines think in terms of quality (judging industry authority) rather than quantity.
Sharing links and linking to only the best sources you can by identifying the niches of the web that are relevant to your content. Set up a relationship with the webmaster first instead of spamming them with junk blog article links. If you do it the right way, both companies benefit, and the readers have access to more information at the click of the mouse – a win-win for all.
For my final article in this series, I will explore the mysterious world of Pay Per Click advertising, or PPC, and how it can be utilised effectively. As with SEO, inexperienced management of such systems can at best bring average results, and at worst cost your company thousands in wasted or lost income. With these five articles, I hope you can be better informed to begin developing a website that is both effective and integrated with the most important online systems you’ll ever need.
Myk Baxter is a digital consultant with a vast experience building, planning and mapping out marketing strategies. To find out more visit https://www.mykbaxtermarketing.com/