Understanding SEO is like chasing a crisp packet on a windy day. Every time you think you've nearly got a hold of it, it flies off out of reach again!
There are a number of reasons why SEO is so hard to get a handle on.
It's A Mystery
Because nobody really knows exactly how Google™works out why one site ranks higher than another there's a degree of guesswork involved. It's not like most other areas of business where you learn the rules and apply them. Here, nobody knows the rules, they just have to try to figure them out.
It Keeps Changing
I'm sure you've heard of Penguin and Panda. Those are a couple of the biggest changes to Google's algorithm in recent years. They seriously affected many businesses, mainly those who were trying to game the system by stuffing their content with keywords, hiding keywords or buying dodgy links from dubious sites.
It Has Its Fair Share of Cowboys
Yes, it can sometimes feel like the wild west in the world of SEO. We get several emails every day offering to get us on page one of Google and I'm sure you do too. Many unscrupulous companies and individuals have jumped on the bandwagon, promising the earth for peanuts. It's no wonder people are confused when there are all sorts of outrageous promises and claims out there.
You Can't Control It
Because it takes time for any changes to the content on your website to have an effect on your position in the search engines it's hard to know what works and what doesn't. Some pieces of content will perform really well and others won't and it's more or less impossible to predict which is which. And, as we know, the best links are those that are completely natural, based on merit, so a lot depends on what other people think of what you've written.
What's The Answer?
As we keep saying, if you create your website for your ideal customers and try to help them rather than purely sell to them, that's at least half the battle. Here are some other tips:
- Don't try to trick the system as you will almost certainly get found out sooner or later.
- Make sure your page titles and meta descriptions are accurate and informative.
- Don't pay for links to your site
- Create the content that your potential customers will be looking for
- Keep adding new, original, useful content on relevant topics
- Remember to link back to your most important pages if it makes sense
Who Can You Trust?
Sadly, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Look out for wildly optimistic promises and don't believe them. Find people who practise what they preach. People who are at the top of Google for phrases such as What is SEO? (that's us by the way!). People who don't offer quick fixes. People who start by understanding what you do and what you want to achieve before dishing out answers. People who genuinely care about what they do and would rather give you the best advice than just take your money. Take your time, get to know them, ask questions and make sure you are comfortable before you make any decisions.