07 Jun What Is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
When you enter a search term (also known as a keyword) into Google, Google then scours the internet for content (i.e., wording) related to your keyword. Think of it this way. If every company has a product, then Google’s product is information; therefore, Google has a vested interest to provide its customers with the best, most relevant, and most up-to-date content. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketing strategy where you provide Google with the content representing your services or products on a consistent, regular basis1. Good SEO practice is telling Google about this wonderful content as soon as possible so your website can be listed in the search results, preferably on the first page. (Joke: Do you know where the best place to hide a dead body is? The second page of Google results. Ha!)
I spend the majority of my time learning about Google’s search engine algorithm and duplicating my strategy to Bing and Yahoo for two very simple reasons:
- Have you ever had someone ask you if you “Yahoo’d” something? I doubt it, but I’m sure you’ve been asked if you’ve “Googled” something.
- Have you ever searched for a business name or individual on Facebook’s search bar and couldn’t find them? It’s because that search bar is powered by Bing. If you go to Google and put in the same search and put “Facebook” after it, it may show up even though it wouldn’t show up in Facebook’s search results. (Fun fact: Some people say Bing stands for “Because It’s Not Google.”)
How Shortcuts Can Backfire
There are a lot of SEO experts looking for strategies that will give them advantage over their competition. They are looking for shortcuts and ways to beat the system. (Tip: One strategy you want to avoid is using your service or product keyword in the body of your content more than 2.5%. If it’s more than 2.5%, Google will consider that page spam.) It is my belief that these experts are only cheating their clients. My guess is that these strategies will eventually be discovered by Google, and that these shortcuts will then backfire on these experts and their clients, just like what happened with Google’s algorithm release of Panda in 20112. This release prevented poor-quality websites and/or pages from ranking higher than high-quality websites. See, Google asks two questions to determine whether or not a site is high quality:
- Would I trust this site with my credit card?
- Is the content on this website poor quality or duplicated?
In 2012, Google released another update, Penguin3, aimed at black-hat techniques that manipulated a webpage ranking through artificial link schemes. One of the SEO strategies commonly practiced up to that point had been to have your webpage address added to third-party websites. The idea was that the more “backlinks” from other websites pointing to your website, the more Google recognized your site as an authority in your industry. The problem was that because of this, search results were no longer truly providing the most relevant or up-to-date search results. To protect it’s product, Google suddenly released the Penguin update and several additional updates over the next two years. The result was that all websites that previously were ranking #1 through this practice disappeared completely from search results. Google had changed their system to make these links appear as spam in some cases, and as a result, these “backlinks” that were once helping a website rank on the first page were in fact now hurting it.
SEO is the practice of providing your clients with information about your services digitally. The best long-term strategy for this is using blogging, social media, and press releases. If you or someone you know needs help with their website, SEO, and/or social media marketing strategy, give our Fort Worth office a call to schedule a free market evaluation at 817-431-9861.