*may not last forever
1) “SEO is a mindset within the website building process and beyond.” – Buzz Lightyear
When building websites, clients often (and rightfully so) ask about the SEO on their new build. Unlike an insulated wall or hardwood floors, SEO isn’t just a checkmark on the list of things to do. It includes major frame working, a lot of details large and small, as well as continual maintenance.
Let’s back up a bit – understanding search engines:
A search engine is a program that constantly crawls and maps the content of the web to serve to its users at their requests. You may have heard of Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask and if you’re in China – Baidu. These are the top 5 search engines in the world as of May 2018* ebizmba.com. Some are more popular than others *cough cough – Google – cough cough* but for the most part, they are all doing the same thing
To rule the world? Yes, but in the meantime, their focus is to be the top search engine. To do this they are all competing to best serve and grow their user base. Who remembers when ‘Ask’ was ‘Ask Jeeves’? For the first (and only time) I had a butler. Then there was ‘DogPile’ – a puppy fetching you the things you want. Keep these images in mind for ‘inspirational’ SEO quote #2.
2) “Search engines are there to serve their consumer.” – Alfred Pennyworth
The more you build, write, and play to the needs and wants of the consumer, the more search engines will notice of you.
If consumers don’t like to read long, unbroken paragraphs full of run-on and repeating information (hint: they don’t) – write concisely using short blurbs that are easy for the eye to scan.
If consumers like to look at neat visual or videos (hint: they do) – give it to them!
How do search engines know what we’re looking for?
You might be surprised (or creeped out) to find out that these services are not simply using the words you’ve typed in, but they’re also using your location and search history, along with their proprietary and ever-evolving algorithms.
a fancy word for statistically-based, computer mind-reading magic.
Search engines are developing their algorithms to determine the legitimacy and validity of your website content by taking note of things such as:
- how long your website has been active
- how often new content is added
- how much traffic visits your website
- how long visitors spend on your website
- whether or not visitors ‘pogo-stick’ on your website (aka – click on your website and almost immediately click back)
These are just some of the ways search engines determine if your content is pleasing their users and if they should be sending more or less users your way.
3) “Text or it didn’t happen.” – googlcrawz365
As fancy and magical as these search engines are getting, they still haven’t gotten to the point where they can read your videos, images, pdfs, graphics, links, etc. If you’re going to have crowd-pleasing videos, photos, graphics, etc. on your website (which is highly suggested), just make sure to accompany it with titles, video transcripts, photo alt tags, descriptions, etc. – things the crawlers can digest.
These text practices will not only help your standing with the search engine crawlers but also keep your website accessible to those who are visually impaired and rely on website reading software to read them your content.
4) “I’ve a feeling we’re not in the 90’s anymore.” – Dorothy Gale
No shit Dorothy – sorry, the passion is strong on this one. Basically, if your website is using ‘beat-the-system’ tactics of the 1990’s – 2015’s, your website is being penalized.
Although keywords are important, tactfully using these keywords is more important. Repeating what you do/sell/offer over and over again isn’t going to cut it with today’s increasingly intelligent search engines. Keeping in mind inspirational quote #2, it’s safe to assume, your consumers don’t want to read that anyway.
I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but for the sake of SEO history and for those who may have a website from 2005 here it goes. If your website has the remnants of once popular – (and at the time, very effective) – keyword stuffing tactics, it’s time for an immediate update. Actually, let’s go back to the 2005 thing – you should probably look into an update anyway.
Three major ways to determine whether or not your website is using keyword stuffing tactics:
- You may find text behind images or that is the same color as the background.
- Using words out of context that have a high search-rate, but nothing to do with your content: Ex: sex.
- Keywords and meta descriptions are single words or phrases repeated over and over.
We all love a good ‘beat the system’ story. But it’s not working in the current SEO climate.
On the other hand – if your website looks like it’s from the 90’s – or is ignoring mobile – you’re in trouble as well. Search engines have already started to penalize websites not fit for mobile, but roughly 52%* (statista.com) of all 2018 website traffic has been mobile.
Take the time to visit your website using your cell phone and check what you see. It could be a huge opportunity to improve not only your SEO but also the way your customers and potential customers view you.
To Sum Up
The best thing you can do for your SEO is to put yourself in your target market’s shoes. Give them what they want and don’t cut corners. When your site becomes as genuine as you are, search engines and users alike take notice and want to stick around.