Over the last couple of posts we may be accused of having a go at the SEO industry, suggesting that spending time optimising your site so it can be found on search engines is a waste of resources. Since over 70% of traffic is still driven from search engines, this would obviously be a strange approach for someone who advocates joined-up web marketing, and the fact that you are still reading hopefully suggests that you understand that this is not what we are saying! Here we want to look at what you should be doing to ensure that you are found on and valued by search engines. If you want to call this SEO then OK, but remember, this is a marketing issue and NOT a technical one! The starting point is “Search engines love good, relevant, new and authoritative content“. If your site is full of good, relevant, new and authoritative content, search engines will want to find it. The good news is that if you have been following our recommendations you will have a site with a news section/blog and you will be continually be adding good and relevant content that you can then use this as the basis for regular email newsletters to your contacts. If this is the case then the hard work is done and the final step to join-up the marketing process is to “Optimise this content for Search Engines”! We aren’t talking about the old fashioned SEO of bulk building links and spraying the net with thinly disguised copies of your content linked back to your site, but using the even more old fashioned concept of keyword optimisation, and the newer ones of content sharing and authorship tagging.
- Old Fashioned Keyword Optimisation: Even though Google no longer focuses on the Keywords metatag, keywords and keyphrases are still vital, and central to the operation of search engines. Google’s algorithm centres on matching the keyword entered by the searcher to the content of pages in its index. Ensuring that the relevant keywords are appropriately represented in your content is still key to being found on search engines.
- Make sure Google knows who wrote the content: You will pick a book because you like the author, or read a paper because you like their reporting style. So, unsurprisingly, there is much talk at the moment about whether Google uses authorship as a ranking factor. Although the jury is out, the suggestion is that they currently don’t use it as a direct factor, but that it does influence the results indirectly (see this post for more info on the subject). Furthermore, if they are taking bets on whether or not it will be a direct ranking factor in the future, the odds-on-favorite answer must be “Yes”, so make sure Google knows who wrote the content. You will find details of how to atribute content authorship here.A by-product of the authorship process is that your Google listings will have your picture alongside them, thus making them stand out.
- Share your content using relevant social networks: There are many good reasons to share your content on Twitter, Facebook, Linked-in etc.:
- Google used social interactions as a direct ranking factor (if your post gets shared on social networks it will help your search rankings)
- Content publishers use social networks to find content & stories. I have heard on numerous occasions of people having their story picked up by magazines & papers from a tweet they have made.
- It gives you a direct connection with your customers, gives them a route by which they can communicate directly with you, and acts as a measure of what your audience think of your content. If they like it, they will share it.
- It is very simple & straightforward to do so there is no reason not to.
Given the demographic of the readers of this blog, I would suggest that the focus should probably be Twitter first & Linked-in second with Facebook a somewhat distant third. Conclusion
- In discussing SEO, we are starting from the assumption that people would want to read your content if they could find it and, on this basis, search engines will want your content to be high in their rankings. What we are advocating here is ensuring that it is easy for them to put it there.
- Much of what we are advocating here is not SEO as a separate activity, but SEO as part and parcel of a joined-up marketing process of producing and publishing good content for your site. Good search engine optimisation comes from having the right philosophy and mindset when writing content, rather than in employing someone to “optimise your site”! (You will find an expansion of these thoughts here: Is SEO an individual or team event?)