First Things First
Firstly, there are no BIG secrets of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is simple. Put up good content and write it for people, not search engines. There are no shortcuts and no magic buttons you can press that will put you on the first page or in the first position on Google, Yahoo or Bing, although the only search engine that really matters is Google. Now some people would say, why would you discount the other search engines? Yahoo and Bing are just as important to have your website indexed on. Before I respond to this statement, I thought I would share some search engine usage stats. Below are the results for February 2013, which should leave me no reason to answer the previous question.
Where to Start?
If you are new to SEO or are just trying to improve your website’s visibility and rankings, the most important factor is knowing where you currently stand. You should first sign up for Google Webmaster Tools. Utilizing all of the great tools will allow you to see how your website is performing and monitor the improvement over time as you add content, make changes and tweaks to your website. Webmaster Tools will also give you insights to Webmaster Education Videos and the Help Center to answer your questions. If you truly want to get a full understanding of SEO, the best place to start is with the Webmaster Academy. Google provides programs for beginners to experienced website owners who want to learn something new. Sometimes, the smallest little thing you learn can make a huge difference.
Below is a list of items you should not do as part of your SEO strategy.
–Press Releases Without News
This is a major waste of time. Unless you have something newsworthy to disclose to the world, it will do nothing for you except waste a couple hundred dollars. You will not get any link value from it.
Even before the Panda update, this really wasn’t the best use of your time and essentially was just a way to get some quick links back to your site.
If this was 2003, I would say go for it, but since it is 2013, don’t even think about it. It’s a waste of time and will do nothing more than give you crappy links from a webpage with no value back to your website that no one will ever see. It can even work against you. Can you think of an easier way for search engines to figure out what you are doing when you swap links with another website?
–Publishing thin content
Putting thin or weak content on your website just to create a link is worthless. You need to post great content to your site to drive traffic. People will not link to thin or crappy content, although they will link to great content. If your article, post or webpage offers something useful, people will link to it in an effort to help people find what they are looking for.
–Posting Automation Software
If you think you can load up content that gets automatically generated and tweeted to your followers or that gets posted to forums, Facebook, or other websites, I have the deed for the Brooklyn Bridge in my pocket, and I’ll give you a really good deal on it. You can even put up a toll and charge people who cross the bridge. This is a no-brainer and a huge money maker. Yea, Right.
–Implementing a Plan without a Strategy
Take the time to truly understand what matters when it comes to SEO. Don’t waste your time reading Black Hat Forums or looking for shortcuts for improving your search engine rankings. Slow and steady is the way to go. Sit down and make a strategic plan with a starting point, specific interim goals and an end game. SEO is a constantly changing landscape and you will need to perpetually change with it. The simplest plan of attack is to follow the rules. The most important rule is “Write Content for People, Not Search Engines.” Put well written content and quality information on your website that people need and they will find you.
If you have a poorly designed website with misspellings, poor navigation and it looks like your 6 year old nephew built it for you, you’re going to have problems no matter how good your content is. Make sure you have a professionally designed website with good navigation and well written content. Think back to basics. You don’t want any flashing images or floating stars on your website. You need to make sure you are presenting a professional front. People want to know that what you are telling them is truthful. Most people want to believe that your website is believable and trustworthy, to a point. Think about how much effort it took to get a new visitor to your website. Once they have walked up to your front door, you don’t want to jump out with a Frankenstein mask and scare them away. You want to meet them at the front door and welcome them with open arms and try to help them with anything they need.
Why Should I Listen to You? How do I know this will Work?
That’s a very good question. You obviously found our website. How do you think you got here? I can assure you, no magic pixie dust was used in bring you to our website. We just used common sense with our SEO strategy and try to put up helpful content.
Beyond laying out a very common sense approach and options for you to undertake in getting better search results, I will share some of our results. Currently, and this can change anytime, we have 24 keywords or keyword phrases on the first page of Google. We actually have nine #1 position listings for very important keyword searches that relates to our business. It just takes time. It is a constantly changing and evolving playing field and you have to change with it.
When you are ready to jump into Google Adwords, you should take the time to read this article, Google Adwords Quality Score Is Not So Black and White. It will provide some detailed insight into Google Adwords Quality Score and how to use it effectively.