- SEO Intelligence: Understanding the Inner Workings of SEO
If you want your website to be successful, you must learn about search engine optimization (SEO). It is not necessary to know every technical process involved, but you should know enough to understand how traffic is driven to your site. SEO gets more complex all the time as the search engines change algorithms and submission guidelines to better manage the wealth of information on the Web. Being aware of current trends can make all the difference to your online achievements.
Since you are running a business, you can’t focus on SEO 24/7, but you can stay on top of SEO industry standards in several ways. Subscribe to newsletters from leading experts. Find a blog that reports out on SEO news and read it once or twice a week. Figure out some way to keep your finger on the pulse of the SEO community. Following are the leading reasons that SEO intelligence is a must in today’s online competitive environment.
1. Architecture of Success
The actual design of your website is just as important for SEO as its contents. In the past, it was all about getting the customer’s attention with snazzy graphics and animations. Web designers would fill all available space on each page with the idea that something on that page will hold the customer’s attention long enough for you to actually make a sale.
This practice is now counterintuitive for SEO. Search engines, as well as customers, want websites with clean designs that don’t necessarily have all of the bells and whistles. Page clutter is a nuisance. Customers should be able to logically navigate your site. Search engines consider this when indexing. If your site navigation is all over the place, search engines may view this as a deceptive practice and penalize you. This means your site will not be included in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Even the use of keywords has changed over time. Overuse is no longer a good thing. This tactic can delay your site from being indexed or prevent it from happening altogether. Actually, it holds true for all of your SEO content, including web pages, press releases, blogs, and marketing articles. Being unaware of these changes can result in a significant waste of time and money on your part.
2. Death of the Popularity Contest
You may have thought you got away from the whole popularity thing after graduating from high school, but it is alive and well online, just in different forms. Proper SEO techniques help get your site indexed by search engines so it will be included on SERPs. But that is just the first step. Where you are on SERPs is critical.
We know that most users never go beyond the first few SERPs displayed unless there are only a handful of them to begin with – even then, it is the top results that get all of the attention. Up until recently, the problem with the way search engines ranked sites allowed for sites to be given high ranks based on unethical SEO practices that made them appear to be more credible or popular than they really were. With some of the latest search engine changes, the popularity contest just got a makeover!
This truly changes all things SEO. It is no longer acceptable to submit poor content for the sole purpose of getting ranked higher on SERPs. Search engines realized that their own credibility was on the line when disreputable sites started gaining an advantage over reputable ones and were placed higher in search results. The problem with this is that searchers don’t want to read junk; they want credible and informative content that helps them in some way. So the search engines had to reconfigure their ranking strategies which now emphasize quality content.
3. SEO or SEM?
That’s kind of like asking peanut butter or jelly? Each is great on its own, but can’t be beat when combined. Making sure your website is properly optimized is the perfect start but you need to do more. Marketing directly to the search engines is required. Search engine marketing (SEM) is comprised of multiple techniques that can help get your site ranked higher. And all of the techniques require knowledge of SEO to be implemented successfully.
Pay per click (PPC) campaigns is an example of SEM. In fact, the major search engines offer their own PPC programs. You can market your site directly on the search engines in the form of ads which appear on SERPs. PPCs are based on keywords so they are optimized. You have to always remember your customer in your SEO. Keywords are used for SEO purposes but they are really the language you use to communicate with current and prospective customers. Keyword research is nothing more than learning how search engine users find what they are looking for – the words they enter in the search box.
SEO and SEM are related to one another through the search engines. SEO allows a search engine to index your site and content. With SEM, you are going to the search engines and using them as a platform to market to their users. Hopefully, their users become your customers.
4. Show Me the Money
SEO is the primary way to make money online. Even big name brands have to advertise to make money. While there are other ways to advertise on line, the reality is that Web users spend nearly 70% of their time on major search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and MSN. And a recent report by Pew Internet stated that over 90% of all adults use search engines to find information. The importance of SEO cannot be overstated!
Between organic traffic provided by the search engines as a result of submitting your site to them for indexing and the additional SEO strategies you can use to drive traffic to your site, you are likely to get most of your site visitors from the search engines. This makes them critical partners to your success. As long as your website is able to convert visitors to customers, you have one of the best recipes for making money online.
5. Keeping Up with Joneses
SEO is constantly evolving. You have a better chance of staying competitive if you at least have a foundation of SEO knowledge from which to build. Changes in SEO standards often require you to go back and make adjustments to your site so it will continue to be ranked. And this can be challenging if you don’t have a starting point from which to determine what needs to be corrected.
But, again, you must remember your customer. Make your site and content beneficial to them and then optimize for the search engines. Focusing entirely on SEO is not a sure way to improve your conversion rate. It may get you noticed on SERPs but you still need to have something of value to offer visitors. That is, after all, how you will beat your competitors – with superior products and services. And your SEO knowledge can help keep you on top.
6. Balanced Approach
The reality is you need to spend equal time catering to your customers and the search engines. Both are necessary for your success. Customers can talk about you their blogs and create a link to your site. This is great if what they have to say is positive. Regardless, the link allows their comments to show up on SERPs when your business name or relevant keyword is searched. This type of negative Internet chatter can damage your SEO campaign not to mention your business reputation.
So while your PageRank is important, it can quickly drop without proper customer care. SEO is important but it is not your mission. It is an excellent customer recruitment “tool” that you use to build your business, not supplant your business goals. Ignoring customers in the process is a fast track to the end of your online business experience.
7. Paradox of Time
Getting your site noticed by potential customers takes considerable commitment on your part. It is no longer sufficient to build and submit a website and then kick back to wait for the visitors to come. The irony is that in contrast to the time you put into getting your site noticed, you have put scant seconds to capture the attention of Web users. This really is not much different than traditional marketing tactics which the exception of the mammoth size of the online competitor pool.
Without a major commitment of time and resources on your end, your website is just a nice place to refer your current customers to every now and then. But there are ways to manage this entire process so it doesn’t take over your life or drain your budget. SEO management firms have the expertise to streamline your different SEO techniques into a complementary streamlined process that gets you the results you need much faster than you could ever realize yourself.
Having SEO intelligence is your gateway to a successful online presence. You may not be designing your website or writing its contents, but you should at least know if what you end up with meets SEO standards or will result in you being blacklisted by search engines.