Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Search Engine Success Starts By Thinking

Search Engine Optimisation constantly evolves, but this doesn't mean you need to constantly change your website to stay on the right side of Google. Rather it means the good guys are slowly winning out over the bad. Let me explain.

It used to be the case that to rank in Google you simply needed to hire an 'SEO', and I'm being generous calling them SEO's, to build you a ton of links from their network of eh……websites (webshites). Links from these networks worked well for a long time meaning you didn't need a good website to gain rankings. Not so now.

While the link economy allowed poor websites to rank, the good guys hard work didn't pay, or at least the dividend from the hard work was low. However Google's updates over the past two years have made serious inroads towards ensuring the link cheats are brought to book and removed from their index, or at least demoted from the top spots.

OK, history lesson over, what now?

As search marketing specialists we are often approached by businesses who want to improve their rankings. Fine. However they have no idea how this might happen, again fine, that's what we do. Unfortunately they often think that as search marketers we somehow weave a magic spell to make their website, as it stands, a site that will rank in Google. Not so.

Obviously we can do all the standard things such as ensuring their site is well optimised whilst at the same time removing technical road blocks, but we can't magically make their content link worthy, and that's the hard bit.

I'm reading a great book just now by Eric Ward called the Ultimate Guide To Link Building. It's a good read but in a nutshell it's telling readers you'll only get good links to your web pages, and the rankings that come from these links, if you have something worth linking to. I said is much in my article on link building techniques written a couple of years ago.

So in nutshell if your web pages simply say something like our company is really great, buy stuff from us people aren't going to link to you, why would they? This rather inconvenient truth is what stops most people getting link building.

If that's you, read on.

Imagine for a moment (ahhhhh, real fruit as chewy as, Fruitella), there are 10 shops selling outdoor sporting equipment. Each shop sells the same brands of gore-tex jackets, walking boots, tents and everything in between. They all have websites, their prices are comparable and their product descriptions similar, after all there are only so many ways to describe a purple jacket made from gore-tex by Haglofs, other brands are available….

As things stand there's very little link worthy content on the sites, they've all got great pictures, a slick e-commerce system to allow easy purchasing and lovely pictures showing the products but nothing much to differentiate them. As such there's no way Google can differentiate between them, remember Google's not that bright, it needs links to tell it if content's any good.

The owner of one shop decides to take action. She asks people to submit stories, photographs and videos of people using the kit they sell. Show us how you use the great outdoor kit we sell and win a pair of Zambalan walking boots she announces on her website and facebook page. Before long her website has real reviews from real people about the kit she's selling. People see these reviews, find it interesting and share links to it with their friends, some even talk about it and link to it from their blogs. Ta-da! She's now got great unique content with links to it and Google can differentiate between the on-line shops ranking hers number 1. Simple.

OK, I admit, too simple, but surely you can see where I'm coming from, simply telling people how great you are isn't enough, those days have gone and they're never coming back. If you want your website to appear in search results you need to work at it, lazy marketing isn't going to cut it.

Questions on a postcard.

More in this category: General Chat, General SEO, Link Building