Google has made many changes over the years with the primary goal of delivering better search results to their users. After all if we always, usually, or even a big percentage of the time were given irrelevant links to our searches we would soon stop using that service. The search engine game is all about being the most trusted, reliable search source on the Internet. So far Google has done very well at this and as a result has become the dominant search engine available. Although Bing is making great strides and other engines are improving Google still commands a high market share and continues to be the primary topic among online marketers.
What Is Search Engine Optimization?
Many years ago search engines simply were not as complex as they are today. Fooling a search engine into believing your page provided the information their users were searching for was as simple as using the keyword over and over. While there are still site which attempt this “keyword stuffing” method the engines are smart enough to recognize it, treat it accordingly, and even discredit sites which continually employ this technique. Although this technique is one of the most recognizable it certainly is not the only trick and the discovery of these black hat and grey hat techniques is what keeps the search engine developers busily improving their search algorithms in order to eliminate results which appear because of such methods.
Search engine optimization generally pertains to the methods and techniques of making sure web pages, and the entire site, are published and coded according to the guidelines we believe are acceptable to the search algorithm. Today’s SEO is quite different from the ill-advised activity from decades past. Ensuring proper coding, use of proper formatting, and other content related issues are among the most important factors in optimization today. Making sure all of the language on the page, and often within the entire site, is search relevant is part of what we providers must take concern to achieve.
How To Optimize For Search Engines Yourself
While the coding, formatting and back-end issues may be beyond your skill-set there are still things you can do to help the search engines like your content. In fact content is what it is all about. Think about the people you want to become your clients and write for them. Talk about the things that are important to the people you want to connect with and provide good, accurate information. Think about if you were standing in the room, or giving a live presentation, with the crowd you want to reach. Would you babble about nothing except the key words for your business? Not likely, and if you did you would probably be ignored … or shown the door.
Providing information, facts, data, reports, stories, history, and other important information relevant and valuable to your readers. If you are a plumber talk about the importance of having regular plumbing inspections to avoid costly disasters. If you are a restaurant keep your site up to date with information about your staff, your menu items, or events at your facility. Search engines love recent information and it helps move you up in the ranking to fall into higher position on search. Don’t be afraid to go in and edit old pages to bring them up to date.
Learn to monitor the traffic to your site. Although Google is de-emphasizing the value of keywords in search they are still there and are just as valuable as ever for indexing (the method in which the search engine files away data). If you see that relevant keywords are performing better than the ones you are currently using don’t be afraid to change your language to include them and make sure to create new content with them included. For example if you are in the healthcare industry you may change a term like from “fat loss” to “fat metabolism” if it is performing better. There are tools on Google and Bing as well as other tools, including plugins for WordPress, to help you track which keywords end up in a visit to your site.
Visits Don’t Mean Sales
Just because people are coming to your site does not mean you are doing business with them. Several months ago I wrote an article on this blog about how ghost hunters use social media to get their word out. To this day if you search for “ghost hunters social media” this site ranks high and I get a lot of traffic from those search terms. There is not one visitor from that search that I can track to a conversion and it keeps my bounce rate higher than it should be. In fact I have considered removing that article for just that reason.
If you publish irrelevant information, pr information that is only loosely relevant, it may simply result in traffic, but never conversions. Real estate agents were sold a bill of goods by a handful of gurus some years ago telling them to create blogs about all the things there are to do in their town. The problem is there are very few of those sites, most of which do have high traffic, which make best use of the call to action methods required to convert. I write this because while it is possible to win the SEO wars it is simultaneously possible to lose the marketplace battle.
Determine why you have a website or blog. Set goals for the results you expect from it. Work toward those goals. Hire a professional. Seriously.