SEO Guy: Myths, Insights and Zen Search Engine Optimization
Happy? So there you are with a beautiful, well designed, look-at-me-now website. It’s got beautiful navigation, a great call to action, eye-candy imagery, and a to-die-for web analytics package just waiting to give you an in-depth insight and analysis of your visitors.
Problem is, Google isn’t paying attention, and you’re the only one actually looking at your beautiful new creation.
The solution? Ask any SEO guy or SEO specialist and they will tell you the answer is on-page optimization (Googlify your site) and a comprehensive inbound link campaign that you can buy today for the special price of $699 per month plus tax. But here’s what SEO guy won’t tell you:
- The work they do is essentially replication of what should happen with your site naturally over time.
Good SEO campaigns can simply accelerate the process. And the natural truth is that you can accelerate the process yourself if you have the time, ability and inclination.
The magic bullet? Write, write more…and did I mention, with relevance?
Content is King
Search engines don’t tell us how they decide who ranks first in their results – they guard that secret the same way Coke guards its recipe or the way software programmers guard Twinkies. Google doesn’t share a whole lot, but they have come out to say that the text on your site is extremely important (that is what people are looking for, right?). And not just any text, but text that clearly states what your site is about – and by extension, what YOU are about. (see this great blog by Jeanne Hopkins on Post-Panda SEO strategies)
Conclusion #1: the more content you have that includes the search phrases you want to be known for, the more likely Google will find you when your prospect is searching.
Who’s Lookin At You?
One of the only other items of consideration that Google has admitted to is inbound links. Inbound links are links from other sites that point back to your site. Each one is like a vote of confidence for your site and content. The more inbound links you have – and the more of them you have from well-respected sites – the more respect the search engines give your site.
Conclusion #2: If you can figure out a way to get a bunch of inbound links to your site, you will get Google’s attention.
Blogging and Lots of It
So how does writing help? In terms of content, that's pretty obvious. Write a good article that is related to your product or service and post it to your site (blogging is ideal for this purpose, and provides the added benefit of an RSS feed). The next time the search engine crawls your site it’ll find the new content and know that much more about you.
As far as conclusion #2, inbound links are concerned, there are a few extra steps that need to be taken to get the full benefit.
First, promotion: You will want to upload your article to an article submission service (like ezinearticles.com) as well as posting it to your blog. You’ll also want to use social media to publicize your new content: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. A well written blog can spread like wildfire on the web thanks to social media.
This helps make your content more available. What you are hoping for is that others in and around your industry will find value in what you have written and feature it on their own site and/or blog.
Second, here’s the important part: in exchange for using your article, they have to keep the author’s name and information intact, including links back to your website.
Zen And The Art of Anchors
Not so fast. There is a right and a wrong way to facilitate those links back to your website. Do it the right way can make you a Google rank king. Do it the wrong way and you'll get nowhere. To understand why, you have to think the way that Google evaluates links: Google will associate whatever phrase is used as the link with the site itself.
Consider the example of this is overused webphrase: “click here”
There are millions of sites that offer PDF files, and nearly all have a small bit of text that reads, “you need to have Adobe Reader to read this file – if you don’t have it, click here”. That phrase – “click here” – is linked to Adobe Reader so often that Google associates it with Adobe, and specifically the page where you download Adobe Reader. See for yourself – Google click here. Adobe ranks first, but see if you can find the phrase “click here” anywhere. You won’t. That’s because click here = Adobe to Google. And while this example is a bit extreme, it’s a great illustration of just what inbound links can do.
To put this concept into practice, you will want to choose a search phrase (ideally related to your article and keywords your are trying to rank for) and use it to link to your site. Don’t make the amateur mistake of using “click here” or for Pete’s sake, www.yourwebsite.com. Trust me, Google already knows your site by that link!
You’ll also want to link key phrases in your content to specific pages on your site. For example, since this article is in regards to SEO, it would be wise for me to use the phrase Boston SEO Company and link it to the search engine optimization page on our site. Most article submission sites will let you get away with 3-4 of these types of links – more than that and they’ll feel like you are trying to game the system.
But Will It Work?
How will content and blogging take the place of a professional SEO firm? If done correctly, you will recognize the following:
- More relevant content for your site (Content is King)
- Search engines LOVE fresh, updated content. It’s a sign that you view your site as a living, breathing source of information instead of just an online brochure.
- All that content helps search engines better understand what you are and what you do. Search engine confidence gives you web mojo.
- Just one popular article can generate many inbound links. A number of popular articles will generate tons of inbound links.
- You are doing exactly what Google wants to see – growing your site organically, providing valuable content – and you will be rewarded.
When all is said and done and your writing is published, promoted and peppered with anchor links, you will have effectively accomplished what you’d hire an SEO guy to do. Now, to be fair, this strategy doesn’t truly address “on-page optimization” completely but you can read about on page SEO on our site, so a case could be made that writing content AND using an SEO guy would get you results faster. But if you have the time and ability, you can absolutely achieve the same goals just simply by writing articles... or having an inbound marketing agency write them for you.