There are many people out there who fight against SEO as a marketing strategy. So many of these people feel that SEO is some kind of trick that helps shady websites get to the top of a search engine results page. And others decry SEO tactics as a symbol of entrenched businesses being able to get their website to the top, instead of building a following by generating organic SEO over a long period of time. But the simple fact of the matter is that SEO is generally misunderstood by a lot of people. Especially those who are outside the internet and technology sectors.
Although at one time, SEO was about trying to “trick” the search engines into listing your website higher, the days of keyword stuffing and content farming are pretty much over. Recently, Google introduced the farmer update to its algorithm and booted a number of sites that were posting good-for-nothing content that was nevertheless search engine friendly. At the same time, it boosted the rank of pages and sites that contain original, useful information based on search engine usage.
In addition, the SEO world has been shaken up trying to figure out how Google and Bing are integrating social media results into their page rank algorithm and what effect RTs and FB shares are having on the SEO of a given website. There have been some great case studies as of late, but nothing that has definitively stated how social media can impact your SEO. Regardless, this move by the big search engines to start taking into account social media content shows a turn toward a more popularity-based ranking system.
It appears that Google and the other search engines are weighing authority more and more heavily when ranking websites. In other words, the actual content of your site is becoming less important when it comes to your SEO than what other people are saying about your website and the backlinks you are generating.
What this all adds up to is the fact that popularity is much harder to fake than site content. Gaming the system without site content is easy. You have complete control over it and there are a lot of really creative programmers out there who can come up with some cool hacks and bits of code that can pull the wool over search engine’s eyes. However, on the open highways of the internet, it is much harder to fake authority and popularity.
In the eyes of search engines, you should not necessarily be judged on what you are doing, but rather on what other people are saying about you. And the only way to objectively measure your popularity on the web is through links. Search engines see links as positive endorsements of your website. So the more links you can generate on other websites, the better.
Of course, you can pay people to post links on their sites linking to you. But that tactic can backfire quickly, leaving you out in the cold. Just ask JC Penny, who recently got caught in a pay-for-link SEO campaign and almost got booted from Google’s index altogether. And consequences can be hard to bounce back from, both financially and reputationally.
So, the only real way to build lasting SEO for your site is to go about building quality content and garnering organic backlinks.
If you can’t pay people to put backlinks on their website, how are you supposed to get people to voluntarily link to you? The only way to get people to endorse your site is to have quality content and deliver good products and services. That is the bottom line.
First, you have to start with an easy-to-use website that delivers the information people are looking for. If your website is easy to use, users will have confidence in your websites and share it with their friends. But beyond usability, your website has to contain the information that people are looking for in an easily accessible format. For example, if you are a shoe company and people come to your site looking for running shoes, you better have a section on your website about running shoes that is easy to get to and gives users all the information they need to make the decision to purchase your product.
After your actual website content is optimized and your website it easy to navigate. The next thing you need to do it give the wider internet community a reason to link to you. Social media buttons and connectivity are great, but you’re going to need to do more than that.
The internet is not called the information superhighway for nothing. The internet is full of information and people are looking for information all the time. If you can show the world that you are actively involved in sharing your expert knowledge with the world on a regular basis, the more people will trust to you, link to you, and return to your website over and over again. In other words, a company blog is a great place to start.
Quality blogging is a great way to give your users great information on a regular basis and something that they can share around the internet, whether it be through backlinks from their site, through shares on Facebook, or RTs on Twitter. If you provide your users with original, quality, on a regular basis, you’ll be giving them a reason to share your website with the world. In turn, that will boost your backlinks, SEO, and—ultimately—your website traffic.
Brad Anderson is the Founder and CEO of Fruition. Brad’s focus is supporting Fruition’s team to enable sustainable growth and excellent client satisfaction (EBITDA growth). With a strong statistical background, Brad built Fruition’s in-house software that is used to manage client success.
President & Founder, Tru Family Dental
Marketing, Dependable Cleaners
President & Founder, Family Travel Association