The Truth About SEO – And What To Do About It
We've all heard and read about SEO, and most of us believe we must do it in order to be seen online.
So we follow the gurus, who tell us to:
- Get as many backlinks as we can (from reputable sources of course)
- Structure our sites in a special way (to take advantage of internal linking)
- Sprinkle keywords throughout our articles to fool the search engines
- Follow specific algorithms on keyword density
- Use anchor text in special ways
- Write a minimum of 500 words, and preferably between 1,000 and 2,000 words
- And so on…
But NONE of this helps the people that matter:
- You. Everything you put online creates and cements your reputation.
- Your customers and prospects. Do they care about article length, keywords etc?
- Search Engines. They exist to serve the searcher (and benefit advertisers and shareholders – none of the above does that)
When everyone follows BAD advice, it's a race to the bottom. And it always ends in tears.
Doing things for the wrong reason is why everything eventually fails. And since the wrong reason for current SEO thinking is to fool search engines, it makes sense that the right reason to do SEO is NOT to fool anyone – and focus on those who really matter.
Who do we need to benefit?
- Our prospects and customers
- Ourselves – in terms of reputation
- Our stakeholders
The ONLY way to help our prospects and customers is to give them EXACTLY what they need. Solutions to their questions and problems. That (and making a profit from supplying information and products) is the point of business.
The ONLY way to develop and grow a good reputation is to produce quality information, quality products, and quality customer service.
The ONLY way to benefit stakeholders is to give them a sustainable business. Those stakeholders include search engines. If we supply them with content and mechanisms aimed at fooling them into believing we matter, then we deserve everything that comes our way – including being ignored by them.
A search engine's purpose is to supply the best possible answer to whatever is searched for. If it fails to do that, another search engine that does it better will replace it.
Right now, in the West, there is only one search engine that matters, and that is Google with 90% market share (according to the latest figures from Statista – Oct 2018).
That's not to say that Bing and Yahoo don't matter, just that for every page that gets 10 visitors from Google, it only gets 1 view from all the rest combined.
This makes Google the Gatekeeper of search. And ABC, Google's holding company needs to make sure it stays that way. If it fails, the advertisers will go elsewhere because the visitors will go elsewhere.
And there's only ONE way to ensure it never fails. And that way is to ALWAYS deliver the best possible content – NOT the content with the most backlinks, the highest number of words, the most authoritative website, the best site structure nor any of the other things we're taught by the SEO gurus that matter.
Companies rise, fall and disappear all the time. Even the largest of them. Google is no different. It may take time, but it will happen if they take their focus away from ONE thing. And that thing is CONTENT.
To always deliver the best possible answer for the intent of the searcher is the only race in search engine optimisation.
And unlike traditional so-called SEO, this race is a race to the top.
How To Do SEO Correctly
Research. Your first question should be "what are my customers and prospects looking for?" followed by "what do they need help with?" followed by "how do I fit into that?".
Answer those three questions and you'll be able to create a list of topics worthy to write about that won't waste your (or your prospects and customers) time.
Next, you need to know what (not who) you are competing with. If you put up the same content as everyone else (which is largely what's happening right now) you're asking NOT to be ranked at all.
So start with the Gatekeeper. They're the people who choose what pages are worthy of testing, and from those results, they pick which pages to rank.
As with all plagiarism, it's no good copying what's already ranking. Search engines are not stupid for one thing, but more importantly, if you get someone to rewrite what already exists, it doesn't help your customers, your business, your stakeholders (or your reputation).
You need to improve it. You need to make it more in-depth than the current top 10, easier to read and understand than anything that currently exists, and more useful as an answer than anything else for the problem it solves.
And you need to do this more consistently and at a higher rate than any of your competitors if you want to lead – and stay on top of your market.
OK I Get It. But Is There Any Part Of Traditional SEO I Should Still Use?
Yes. Meta tags. An article's Meta Title and Description tags are your advert. When a search engine decides to show your page to its audience, it may* choose to use your meta title and description.
If it does, then you have control over your hook (a hook is how you attract and engage readers).
However, if your meta title and description do not precisely describe the content of your article, then you run two risks. a) the search engine may decide you're using clickbait in order to get people to click on your page, and b) readers who do click will be disappointed with your page and will bounce back to the search results and click on someone else's page instead (which will in time hurt your rankings – for hopefully obvious reasons – search engines will demote pages that either a) no one is clicking on, or b) has a high and deserved bounce rate).
What To Do Next To Fix Your SEO Problem
If you're unsure about how to do any of this, talk to us here at ProofMEDIA. It's what we do for our clients. The number to call is 01733 590133 or visit ProofMEDIA.uk
* Search engines will select part of your text if no meta tags have been defined, but even if they have, they may also choose to ignore them.