The Mystery of SEO
Russia is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. ~ Winston ChurchillThis has become a stock phrase typically used to describe something that is immensely puzzling to figure out or extraordinarily complex to fully understand. The same can be said for SEO. A riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Yep, that sums it up. There is something awe inspiring in this elusive, magical thing that drives all of us who are in the business of online marketing. But there comes a point when you throw up your hands and say, "Uncle." It doesn't matter how many books and blogs you have read on the subject, you always end up feeling as though a chapter or a paragraph was left out. I don't know about you, but I'm quite certain my comprehensive skills are not the problem.
In the early 1990′s search engines began their early stages of development to help organize the sites listed on the internet, and in the young days of Yahoo, optimization was born. As the years progressed, determined individuals began to understand database algorithms, and the methods used in basic search engines. Yahoo became the paramount submission site, submission spamming became the general method of site rank, and anyone who wanted to be recognized on the internet quickly learned that submitting their site to Yahoo was the only option. Although methods used to get results back then may not be entirely applicable today, much has changed. New algorithms have brought new tactics as SEO’s started to utilize multi-language platforms, word lists, and other innovative strategies. Vast changes have since flooded the horizon of the SEO world.
Here are a few very simple tips from Maile Ohye, developer advocate on Google’s Webmaster Central Team, on what to do and what not to bother with- from how to add the best keywords and including analytics code on your site, to how to approach marketing in general. For starters, if you're worried about how to fill out your meta keywords tag so your startup ranks best in Google results, don’t bother the company says. Google search ignores it. “It’s great to have a fancy site, but try not to focus so much on site fanciness that you don’t actually have indexable and searchable text. You want to use relevant keywords naturally in your text. These keywords are like query terms that normal people would use to find your product or your business. For example, companies that sell athletic footwear should include terms that are likely to be typed into search, such as 'running shoes.'"
In addition, each page should include a unique topic, title and meta description for the snippet that appears below the link listed on the Google search results page, but meta keywords tags aren’t needed. Keywords should be in the file name and typed with lower case letters. The anchor text for every link should also be clear and include keywords, whether you are linking to your site or another. This means that “click here” is not descriptive enough phrase to highlight with a link. Instead, it should be “product specifications” or something that better matches the link with the content.
Ohye also points out some major things to avoid: “Do not hire any rogue or shady SEO provider — if they guarantee rankings, it’s too good to be true,” she says. “Don’t participate in link schemes or buying links for the purpose of passing PageRank.”
Another question often on the minds of startups is whether they should invest time and resources into social media marketing.“Play to your authentic strengths,” she added. “It’s likely that your company has limited resources so if your CEO likes to tweet, go ahead and let them. If you have a salesperson who really enjoys Facebook, that’s terrific… and let them interact with the community there.”
I came across a blog last night which resonated with me in it's no b.s. authenticity. Written by Pauline Magnusson, and titled Content Marketers Revealed: 4 Dirty Lies We Tell About SEO,Pauline hits on some key points I am entirely in agreement with, "Too many content marketers and SEO article writers can't write. They've relied on technical tactics to get their content seen, rather than producing content that is favored by Google as well as providing genuine value to their audience." Magnusson goes on to say, "The marriage of SEO strategy and content marketing, also known as content optimization, is a mix of techniques both technical and artistic. Taking the time to research your service provider will ensure you end up with rich quality content, on time, delivered by professionals who know how to use it to boost your company's Google rankings and help your profits soar."
So there! I have said it. I am a social media marketing professional, who is forever in search of the Holy Grail of SEO; ever longing for that feeling I get when my client is #1 on page 1.
SEO is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. ~ Susie Saladino