So, you’ve created your website, you’re getting little (or not enough) traffic and you begin to look for ways to increase it. A lot of people will point you in the direction of SEO – and they wouldn’t be wrong.
The problem is; with so many differing views and opinions of what is good and bad SEO online, it can be hard to know where to start. We’ve noticed over the years that more and more people are going to web development agencies for help in this department as no one really gives a clear and concise verdict on what is “good” SEO.
So, why is it so controversial?
For ease of argument we will just use Google as our example, but it works for all major search engines. Effectively, Google are constantly updating their algorithms to provide the best search results for their users.
What are these algorithms?
Nobody really knows.
To stop people from exploiting the weaknesses of these algorithms, Google never reveals quite what it is looking for. For example, if the algorithm was looking for location-specific SEO, everyone would add every town and city in the UK to their SEO to become the top results.
Once everyone has done this however, it leads to a downfall in the search results and you no longer see what you are looking for, just what people have forced upon you – therefore, making the search useless.
So, how does everyone know what to do?
The algorithms are the heart of SEO, but without knowing exactly what they’re looking for, you wouldn’t be the first to ask – how does anyone know what is good SEO?
Google don’t want you to know how it works, but they do want you to make good SEO. With every Google update, the SEO gets stricter, making the search results pages more defined and tailored to the user. Making tags for images that are specific to that image and not just words that you want to be found for – for example – is exactly what the search engines want.
Long ago, you could add any word you wanted to your site descriptions and keywords – and if it was there, you would rank for it.
So, what’s so controversial?
Nowadays, the search engines are much more advanced and can see whether the description and keywords you have listed are actually relevant to your business or not. There is a much larger emphasis given to your on page – visible to public – text, rather than keywords and descriptions, as this is what the user is going to see. Because of this, some people doubt the necessity of meta keywords – various SEO websites, forums and companies have tested this theory but all have proven keywords do matter. John Mueller – Senior Trends Analyst for Google, Switzerland – often reiterates this and makes it clear that keywords do matter.
The controversy of SEO comes from the lack of knowledge of the algorithms, paired with the ability to question how they work without anyone being able to completely prove/disprove the assumption, and this can make it very difficult to know where we stand on SEO
So, how does anyone know what to do?
We would suggest that following the clear-cut SEO guidelines is where to start to begin seeing any benefits from SEO. You need to concentrate on making strong and consistent meta keywords, meta descriptions, image titles and alt tags across all of your online content. As a result of this, you will be able to give a clear and perfect description of what is happening on your website, attracting more visitors as a result.
People focus on writing for the search engine instead of writing for the people who read their content. So, it is important to remember not to concentrate on pleasing the search engine, instead concentrating on producing high-quality content that people actually want to share and engage with.
Keyword stuffing is in the past and blogs which ooze endless keywords but talk absolute nonsense no longer perform well.
Furthermore, posting regular content that is industry related and shareable can be a catalyst for SEO advantages and organic traffic for your website. The most important thing about creating content is that it provides the best possible information based on certain queries, and more importantly user intent. Finding a gap in the industry and writing content which your competitors are not will give you a huge advantage when it comes to SEO ranking via search engines.
According to the recent content research case study by Backlinko, long-form content gets an average of 77%.2 more links than short articles Therefore, long-form content appears to be ideal for backlink acquisition.
It is also important to acknowledge that content pieces with higher word counts have greater potential to target more relevant queries. However long your content may be, ensure that you are eliminating the “fluff” and answering the pressing questions with credible insight.
It is important to remember that all content should have a purpose, in turn it should have a topic of focus, an audience, and even an intent stage for that audience. Make sure there is substance in the content you produce and that users have a reason to read it. Does your content satisfy the purpose? Educate your readers on topics within your industry and they will appreciate and depend on you.
So, what do we suggest?
For small business owners utilising the potential of SEO can help build a strong online presence, build trust and help gain an advantage over competitors. But you have to remember SEO is way more than just keywords; in order to gain the full potential of SEO growth it is important to make sure you have all of the additional tools, such as a well designed website which encourages visitors to stay (therefore decreasing your bounce rate), a consistent use of meta tags, alt tags and image titles across all of your published content, regular high quality social media content as well as blogs and articles which solve pressing issues within the industry.
As a result, this is the way which small business can rise above their competitors in terms of ranking and gain the online presence they deserve.
Because it really isn’t all about keywords…