ZD Design Blog

What Is SEO Today? Really.

What is SEO today? Really.

So maybe 7-10 years ago, you could dump the keywords on a web page and have it rank highly in Google within a few days.  Shoot, do you remember those sites that had long paragraphs of spammy keywords at the bottom of the page?  It all worked at one point in time.

Nowadays, though, this type of work doesn’t pass for SEO.  In fact, if you do these types of things for your “SEO strategy,” then really you’re asking Google to penalize you.

To add to this, there’s so much misinformation and flat-out unethical SEO floating around out there that it’s often difficult to really know what true SEO is.

SEO Is A Long-Term Strategy

In today’s Google environment – after major updates like Panda (actually 20 or more updates of Panda), Penguin and Fresh, SEO is dramatically different from where it was even just a couple years ago.

Gone are the short-term tactics of putting keywords on your web page and having it rank within a few days.  Actually, you can do this, but it’s much like finding $1 million in treasure buried in your back yard – it just doesn’t happen that often, and neither does it happen to everyone.

Nowadays, any SEO worth his salt tells his client that they will have to wait at least 3 months before they rank on the 1st page of Google for their targeted keywords.  And even 3 months is fast.  In most cases, it’s at least 6, and in many more, it’s 9, or even 12 or more.

Tactics that Help SEO Become Successful

Even though many SEO professionals talk about rank when they talk to their clients, SEO isn’t really about rank that much anymore.  Personal results, the widespread usage of social media, local results, and even fresh results get more preference than ever before.  Basically, you can rank at the top for a particular keyword, but still many people won’t see that result because of Google’s increased focus on personalization.

What Is SEO

Rank matters, but it’s not what it used to be.

In the end, for every business owner, whether they say it or not, needs to have a positive ROI from their internet marketing efforts.  SEO helps with that by:

  • Helping the client identify keywords and phrases most likely to convert, and adding more and dropping ineffective phrases as more is learned over time
  • Improving the user experience with the website by implementing a clear call-to-action, a modern, attractive design, and loading quickly
  • Making appropriate URLs canonical
  • Optimizing site coding for the fastest/most Google-friendly load times
  • Getting on-site content optimized for the right keywords and using the right internal link structure to help Google identify the most important pages on the site
  • Using off-page optimization (Google Places) and the appropriate channels/websites to attract links from to increase authority
  • Developing stellar on-site content to give clients/visitors a reason to continue learning about the company and eventually, to use its servicesWhat Is SEO

Dispelling Some SEO Myths

Because SEO changes so rapidly – literally from month-to-month sometimes, myths get formed quickly.  Some professionals believe in methods and techniques that Google publicly announces are no longer relevant.  Even if these techniques/ways of thinking work now, they won’t work for the long-term.  Google doesn’t rank sites perfectly, but it’s getting much, much better at ranking the highest quality, most informative websites where they should be – near the top of the SERPs.  Some of these are methods that don’t carry much effectiveness now and will eventually become entirely useless:

  • Building links – Each year, “built” links have less value.  A PR9 link from WordPress sounds great, but how related is WordPress to your website?  If your company manufactures auto parts and you have links from WordPress, should you really be ranked higher than a competitor with 10 PR1 links from sites with topics related to cars?  Google doesn’t think so, and this tactic is becoming increasingly ineffective, and in some cases, results in serious penalties.
  • Keyword spamming – Believe it or not, many SEOs still do it.  “Spam” isn’t about a certain density.  It’s about using keywords in awkward ways in a deliberate attempt to increase your rankings.  Keywords should be used in a natural way in various places throughout your content – page title, subheads, content itself, and in ALT text of images.  It’s simple – don’t make it any more complicated than it has to be.
  • It can be done cheaply – Seriously, how many companies have done incredibly well and have grown to dominate their industries by finding the lowest-cost B2B services available?  Come on folks!  Companies doing SEO cheaply give you what you pay for, which won’t help you a ton.  Others give you much less.  When compared to traditional advertising, SEO is much more cost-effective, but if you look at monthly spend, it can still run into the tens of thousands of dollars.  However, a good SEO company will provide ROI worth several times your monthly investment.

 What Is SEO

SEO Will Never Die

It can’t – Google will always need some way of identifying which website should be ranked for which keyword, and how highly.  However, what “good SEO” is will dramatically change.  It changed in the past 10 years – even the past 2, and you can bet the SEO of 2015 will look much different than the way it’s done now.  Then, you’ll look back on today’s SEO and laugh at how ridiculously simple it was.

Above all, form a strong working relationship with your client, learn what Google likes, and work hard over the long-term, for it’s the surest way to success in SEO.

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