Search Engine Optimization is about building authority and credibility on the internet. Search engine rankings that deliver the right traffic are the effect of having a good, original, informational and easy to use website that people trust and link to because it makes sense to do so.
These days, people want easy and they want instant. In most cases, that means when looking for a product or service, those listed on the first page of Google will get their business. That’s where we come in.
Below are the basic services that contribute to either making your website better or increasing your reputation and authority across the internet. These services make up the nuts and bolts of the work that actually goes into properly done SEO, no matter who your service provider is.
While World Wide Web wasn’t launched until August 24th, 1991, the infrastructure that makes up the internet had already been laid through the cumulation of various networks that had evolved since ARPANET. The earliest tool that had been used to crawl and index other websites were called “Archie” which was short for Archive. However, this search engine did not have a front end user experience or a back end algorithm.
Gopher was the first search engine to use hypertext in 1992, followed by the first web indexing search engine Wandex. Soon after there was a parade of Search Engines as the internet increased in popularity:
While the evolution of search engines before google is interesting, it really doesn’t matter too much in Modern SEO, which largely revolves around Google since its rise to complete dominance in the search market.
As of June 2017, Google still dominates over 79% of search engine usage.
Because of it’s dominance many of the best SEO practices are developed by understanding and reverse enginineering the following updates:
As Google has become increasingly more refined in understanding the relevancy and authority of digital information, the process of Search Engine Optimization has become increasingly more clear, despite it’s increasing complexity.
Basic Principles that are trending in the updates include:
At the end of the day, every update that is released is a reaction to the changing landscape of the digital landscape and how people are traversing it. Google is using the data it gathers from billions of users in order to refine its results and provide everyone who uses it the best possible information, resource, or site available.
Because of that Search Engine Optimization is really about being the best resource, and that cannot be faked. The more people you have contributing to the evolution of your site, the better.
This version of SEO is quickly becoming outdated due to the fact that it really follows more closely follows the old mentality that SEO is about Keywords, which it really no longer is. The reason is the cause of one of the biggest myths on the internet that you can ever “be on the first page of Google.” That is just like asking to “Be on the first page of Facebook” which makes no sense because each timeline is curated specifically for each individual user. Because of that, we can only ever look at averages.
Campaigns that focus on particular keywords should often follow a simple strategy… Write a page that explains everything around your ideal keyword, that is ten times better than the pages that are currently ranking in positions 1-3 of your search engine results. Remember, Google wants to provide the best resource or service, provider. So if your competition gives good definitions, useful links, and great illustrations, you’re going to need to build something that’s better and more useful. There’s just no way around it.
When link building for the purpose of keyword rankings, you’ve got to understand that your site should answer questions already being talked about in other places. The links that should be built should primarily be on directories, publications, or conversations that directly relate to the content of the page you’re trying to rank, and that page ought to be a useful and relevant source for those sites and communities they support.
This is by far the most relevant replacement to keyword based SEO. The purpose of content marketing SEO is to drive traffic around particular topic verticals by creating a library of useful content, credited to the author or business, that is used both on and off site.
Creating an effective content marketing strategy should be based on strategy, and not a shot gun effect. A great place to start is a keyword analysis that focuses on the questions and topics being searched by volume. By identifying common elements in those trends, along with weaknesses in the existing content on the web, a solid roadmap can be created.
Unlike global SEO campaigns, these rely heavily on local citations and reviews. One of the most important aspects of localization is to ensure that as many directories and maps listings have been filled out with consistent information. One of the best partnerships we have to do this is through Yext. However, APIs only go so far. Many times local directories need to be sought out and manually claimed, in addition to localization services like these:
In addition to directory listings themselves, reviews are also crawled and indexed in order to understand the details of what services are provided, how helpful they are, and general emotional sentiments around the businesses. As a result, review generation and reputation management are likely to surpass all other forms of local SEO is the most important element… As nature intended it.
Product SEO, like local SEO, is heavily focused on the reviews. Search engines are not only learning to trust people, they’re learning to understand people and let the consumers drive the conversation. By essentially crowd sourcing it’s understanding of businesses quality and authority, Google can have a more reliable way to recommend the best product for any consumer.
However, unlike most other kinds of SEO, Google is not our primary search engine… Amazon is.
That being said there are several ways to optimize your website for Google Search. The most common ways of doing so are through a woocommerce website, using the Yoast Product extension, or by using the tools built into a CMS designed for e-commerce, like Shopify:
Wordpress makes up over 25% of the entire internet, as far as page volume is concerned. There are a number of useful on-site plugins and extensions that are very useful for any business owner or website manager. The most popular of which is Yoast, which is WordPress plugin, we often consider being “training wheels.” It has simple on page graders, and meta fields, but it also allows for the direct adjustment of more advanced settings like HTAccess.
One of the more complex sides of onsite SEO has more to do with the organization of the website itself. Consider your website like your dissertation to the world. Google and other Search engines are directly judging not only the content but the structure and format of how that information is presented. That means that your URL structure, site map, and meta data. One of the best tools for quickly getting all of that in one place is Screaming Frog:
After the 2015 update affectionately known as Mobilgeddon, it’s now critically important that your website not only be technically responsive but for the user experience and data of your users to confirm that it is, in fact, easy to use your site. The quickest and easiest way is to use the product by Google to test your website. However, nothing replaces good old fashion multi platform testing.
Having a historical understanding of what pages existed in the past, particularly when trying to recover lost rankings, is important. Unfortunately, not all sites keep historical records or change logs. Thanks to Archive.org, any webmaster can look back on the historical content and look of any website. The Wayback Machine isn’t perfect, but it’s been a life saver too many times to not mention.
Duplicate content is a big SEO no-no. Search engines are vigilant and finding the right source to attribute original work to. Because of this they will typically not index copy that’s already appeared elsewhere on the internet. It’s surprising how many websites have their content straight up stolen from other websites in an effort to fill out the content for their users. The problem is that by doing so these webmasters are shooting themselves in the foot. CopyScape is the best way to scan sections of copy to see if they’ve already been used elsewhere, online. This allows an SEO to know what might need to be rewritten on their site:
One of the first useful tools for understanding the links, authority, and keywords and ads all linking to a site is SEMRush. This tool helps with position tracking, ideas for gaining more traffic, and competitive intelligence that highlights links and opportunities discovered on competitors sites. However, the most important feature is the core of their product, a backlink audit, and analysis. We recommend taking a quick look at the 2017 Rank Factor study.