There is an awful lot of tosh spoken about Search Engine Optimisation so let me give you my understanding of it.
Some may think it is wrong or just more twaddle written by someone who wants to offer a service….for a fee….but my aim is to give you a better grasp of what really goes on when SEO is used properly.
And how it can hurt your site if it is done wrongly.
When you search for something you type the words of what you want and up comes a list of sites that deal with that subject matter.
So how does the search engine “know” which sites to show and why are they in a particular order
There are two questions there so lets take them in order
If you want to find a plumber you do not want to see sites/results about dog training. Such results would not be relevant and the search engines are all about relevance.
They want to give you what you want.
And they do this by reading their “library” of sites and then presenting the results that are the closest match to what you are looking for.
This library is called the Index which is constantly being updated by the search engines themselves.
They do this by sending out “spiders” or “bots” which read the information that is sent to browsers. You can see what they see by right clicking on a page and selecting View Source.
Then you look for “meta name=”description” content=” which will be near the top.
This is how they collect the information about what the content is all about and file it in the index. So if the page is all about green widgets then when someone searches for widgets then the site appears in the results.
It says very little but works as part of an SEO strategy for a business that is looking for customers who want a website.
The bots will see that the page is aboutexplaining SEO.
Likewise the video is optimised to tell them that it is promoting a website design business.
This means that the bots see that it is relevant to the content on the rest of the page.
You must make your content relevant to the topic you are writing about.
How you can do this is covered HERE.
There are not enough people in the world for Google to have people looking at every site every day and so it is all done by computers using algorithms.
Apparently Google admits that there are about 49 different metrics they use to rank a site and set the order of the results of searches.
There are probably more and my view is that you are better off looking at chicken entrails for inspiration than trying to out think Google.
These algorithms are constantly being updated/refined so it is probably best to just give Google what it wants and that is relevance.
If your page is relevant then presumably it will become popular i.e. lots of people will read it….which means they will stay on the page and/or move round the site.
Google knows what happens and you can see it for yourself by using Google Analytics which shares some of Google’s information about visitor behaviour.
If a visitor leaves in less than 10 seconds then that page was not what they wanted. Google sees that as a “bounce” and if the bounce rate of your site is high (over 5%) then your site has content that is not relevant.
So if a site or page is being seen by say a thousand people a day and they spend several minutes on the site then Google is very happy that the site is relevant and rewards you by pushing you up the results.
If on the other hand you get a thousand visitors but 99% of them leave after 10 seconds and nobody mentions your site then Google thinks that there is something wrong with your site and so you go down in the rankings
They range from “whitehat” to “blackhat” from which you will gather that there are good practices and naughty ones.
Google will reward good practice and can punish bad ones.
The punishment can just be a fall in the rankings or at worst they de-index the site which means that it will never appear in the search engine results.
Thus there is always a risk that your site will die if you go down the wrong route as you will be involved in a race between what you are doing and Google finding out.
A few years back the “in” thing was to build Private Blog Networks or PBN’s. The method involved you owning 50 to 100 sites that all had links to your main site. They appear to be neutral sites giving “votes” to your site thus giving a lot of authority to Google that your site was popular and relevant.
What was really happening was that you were voting for yourself.
Google caught on and then de-indexed the PBNs that it found.
So people started setting up new ones with servers in different countries with sites “owned” by nominees or fictitious people.
They still exist and if you are ever tempted to buy backlinks then you will probably get them from a PBN……risky!
After all why should a dentist in Chicago be getting a link from a Coffee Shop in Australia?
Or why does a site suddenly get 2000 backlinks in a single day….all with the same anchor text from sites all round the world…….and then gets no more backlinks for a month.
So choosing a safe strategy is essential. It must be natural and real……which means it will take time. Getting onto the first page is not difficult but staying there is what really matters…..and that takes time and effort.
The strategy for a business will be different from that of a blog as the business has a defined territory whereas a blog does not.
A business will want to appear in trade directories….which you can read about HERE.…whereas it would be strange for a blog to appear in Yelp!
You want visitors to your site and so you must first let them know that the site exists. You can tell them about it on social media, you can pay for internet advertising or you rely on traffic from search engines.
Search engine traffic is free and so surely it makes sense to keep the search engines happy.
You do this first by being relevant with your content and producing it in a way that gives the bots what they want to see.
You look at the architecture of your site so that it is set up in a logical manner i.e. if you have a site about widgets (main topic) then you have 3 articles about green widgets each linking on to the next article (sub topic 1) another 3 articles about blue widgets linked as before (sub topic 2) and another 3 articles about red widgets (sub topic 3).
These are called “silos” and show the search engines that your site is easy to navigate and gives the visitor what they want.
The bots see that it is a site about widgets and will give a visitor lots of information on the different types available.
As you look round this site you will see how it is organised into such silos as there are links at the end of each article suggesting that you read more about something mentioned here.
You use Schema and the Open Graph meta data to give the bots more information than other sites do.
And then you can get people’s attention by using social media and RSS feeds to name but two. After all how did you get here?
If you would like to discuss the strategy that could work for your site then use the form to book a chat…..I look forward to hearing from you.
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