The key to search engine optimization now, isn’t technical tricks or secret sauce, it’s giving search engines what they’re asking for. So what are they asking for?
First, if you joined the internet community some time between 1990 and 2010, there’s a good chance you have outdated information or an obsolete understanding of what is good for your web site. It once was true, to a degree, but like old science in school textbooks, we now have lots of incorrect ideas still floating around in our heads, our resources, and even in the minds of technical specialists. So you need a quick lesson in what has changed.
The Brief History You Might Have Missed
- In the early days of search optimization, search engines just couldn’t make sense of all the text on a web site.
- So, they required technical guys to put in special hidden tags, called meta-tags.
- As things got more competitive, businesses hired search engine optimization specialists to do some technical voodoo.
- But search engines were getting fooled, when the hidden tags didn’t match the web page content.
- So the search engines got smarter, and now they don’t care about meta-tags anymore.
- Search engines now use artificial intelligence in the form of algorythms, to read web pages like humans do (top to bottom, left to write, the actual text)
Search engines are looking for 3 specific things.
Fresh content, original content, and locally relevant content.
- By fresh, we mean content that’s added frequently at a consistent pace over an extended time.
- By original, we mean you didn’t lift it from any other page on the web – you wrote it (and no, merely changing a few words doesn’t work – remember, search engines have gotten smart, and so have their algorhythms for spotting duplication).
- By locally relevant, we mean there’s some angle that applies to and mentions one or more of your specific coverage locales – search engines serve up results based on user location, and they favor locally relevant content.
Search engines ignore or penalize web sites for 3 common things.
- duplicate content (or plagiarism)
- content that isn’t specific to any locale
- content that hasn’t been added recently
There’s no technical secret.
There’s no longer a great technical secret to getting better search results. Here’s what you do to start:
- Don’t hide your fresh, original, locally relevant content behind a splash page. A splash page is a page with no text content that loads before your home page, and it can make a serious dent in your search profile or indexability in search engines – essentially making your site appear to have no content, or only buried content. If you have one, get rid of it, and let your actual home page come up first, or your blog page, depending on your internet marketing strategy and the advice of your consultant.
- Add a blog page to your site. A blog page is the ideal way of adding fresh, original, locally relevant content to a web site. It also gives you a platform for interacting with social media without putting quite so much effort and time into any one individual social network – blog content can be excerpted (quoted and linked) or repurposed in social media, and social media comprises the largest search platform after Google. Make sure you know how to add posts to your blog, by yourself, since frequency is better than a big long process that inhibits frequent posting.
- Feature your blog excerpts on your home page. Automatically updating excerpts have a title that links to the full article, and a teaser blurb, excerpt, or summary, with a “read more” link. What appears on your home page carries more weight with search engines than content on secondary pages, so having your fresh, original, locally relevant content up front tends to weigh in favor of your site.
- Add more posts, not more pages. Whenever you feel the urge to add a page to your web site, see if you can bring yourself to make it a blog post instead. Blogs get read more than pages, on the whole. They’re better treated in search engines. They’re more socially gregarious (meaning they get shared better across social media and social networks). After about 7-10 pages on your web site, you’re probably adding too much content as pages, and not enough content over time to the blog, and your menu is likely cluttered and less used by visitors. Web site visitors are notorious for *not* doing what we wish they’d do, and for having minds of their own. For best results, we usually counsel blogging 4 times per month (significant), 8 times per month (good), or 12 times per month (awesome), on a consistent basis (in other words, spread throughout the month, not all on the same day).
Again, the key to search engine optimization now, isn’t technical tricks or secret sauce, it’s giving search engines what they’re asking for. You can also extend the search value of your fresh, original, and locally relevant content, by repurposing some or all of that content in social media. Of course, we can do that for you. Most importantly, proceed with a plan, so your efforts are consistent, methodical, and designed to augment one another. We can help with that, too.