Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You might “game” the search engine rankings for a short time, but if that is your long term business strategy, you’ll be chasing lug nuts around… Search engine optimization isn’t about “gaming” with black hat search engine optimization techniques, if you want to call them that. SEO is about improving how you look in the eyes of the search engines, going from dating to mating… Well, you know looking really hot to those algorithms. No games. Just solid, engaging content that your potential customers are craving. Dessert anyone?

search engine optimization supercharged revved business

The mythical creature that is SEO, or search engine optimization. What is it? How does one tame it? How does one wield its power for his or her own benefit? Basically, SEO refers to a group of practices you can do to make your website more ‘visible’. Search engines create a type of ‘survival of the fittest’ environment – those on top of the rankings will get the most traffic, which will in turn give them even better rankings, creating a seemingly neverending loop. So how does one break into it?

I won’t lie to you – SEO takes time and work. It’s something you should prepare to work on for as long as you own a website that needs visitors. Of course, if that website acts as the front of a business, SEO starts to have a direct impact on your livelihood. Poorly optimized sites receiving little love from Google’s search algorythms? You’ll be lucky if users can find you by typing your full business name in the search box.

And what awaits on the other end? Try searching for some common terms like ‘viper’ or ‘apple’ and see if the majority of the front page talks about snakes and fruit. Sure enough, these are extreme examples that are not exactly on point, but they work well enough to show you how search engines think and, in turn, the power of SEO.

Now, if your business is named ‘white’, will I be able to make multiple websites related to your company pop up on the front page whenever someone Googles the word ‘white’? Probably not, unless I make a deal with the devil (or Larry Page). But what I can do is help your company’s website become relevant to the search engines.

How the SEO game is always evolving

During my years in the biz, I’ve seen quite a few changes to the search engine game. Google has a pretty good idea of how people are using their search, and that includes efforts to ‘manipulate’ it into favoring their sites.

They’re always making changes that can render old tactics obsolete and make the playground a bit chaotic. Ranking these days isn’t what it was just a few years ago, although many of the same principles do remain. What you can’t let slip from your mind is that SEO won’t stop changing – Google isn’t going anywhere, and they’ve made their policy of constant search engine updates clear. So, as someone who’s running a website that needs to keep or improve its rank, you’ll need to stay ahead of the game and, more importantly, ahead of competition.

What has changed, what hasn’t, and what can you expect from the future for search engine optimization?

I’ll try to cover this broad field.

  • The amount of ‘secret tricks’ you can use to rank your site is decreasing. Google wants your site ranked by its actual popularity instead of you pulling a secret lever somewhere in the search engine code.
  • Keyword research and distribution remain largely untouched. You can still score big with the use of right keywords and lots of great content. Even small improvements can benefit your ranking tremendously, although there is an increasing need to have keywords that are more specific.
  • Part of Google’s efforts to make SEO manipulation more difficult revolves around hiding some of the information and taking away some insights into the engine’s inner workings from the public. Will this trend continue into the future, with even less data becoming available? You never know.
  • Site optimization remains similar, if not identical. You can still get traffic from Google Images if you name the pictures on your site appropriately and provide the search engines with something to work with.
  • Google is going mobile, and is now actually diminishing the rank of sites that aren’t mobile-friendly thanks to the amount of users relying on their smartphones and tablets to browse the web. If your site looks like an expressionist painting when viewed on a mobile device, your ranking will suffer.
  • Social media is taking over, and Google is following. Being active on the most popular social media sites will improve your standing with Google and will directly impact the rankings of your site. Time to start tweeting, improving your likes and sharing on Google+ of course!

But do I really need SEO? Can’t I just go without it and hope for the best?

The short answer is no, and the long answer is… no. After all has been said about the amazing search engine, it’s still just a bunch of code – it’s not an intelligent being. It uses a set of algorythms that will always be vulnerable to manipulation, no matter how much Google patches them up – similar to how an antivirus company provides daily updates to firewalls and virus libraries.

If you’ve been ignoring your search engine standing, you might not realize it, but your business is suffering. Your websites are begging you to rank them higher and bring them to a point where they’ll have the nourishing traffic they so very much need.

SEO is both a long-term investment and a long-term commitment – everything you do to rank your sites will count for a long time to come, but so will everything your competition does. You can’t afford to sit back and think you did a good job, because while you’re doing that, your site will slowly but surely be dropping in rankings.

I make staying on top of all the latest search engine trends a habit, because that’s the only way your site – and your business – will remain relevant. With a quick look at your website, I’ll be able to tell you just how much work you’ll need done; whether we’re looking at a week-long summer vacation of giving you a boost through high PR sites or preparing for a 3-month trip through the arctic wasteland of building your business website from the ground up, I’m prepared to take on the challenge.

Also, don’t use the excuse of not having too much competition. You might not be fighting tooth and nail over every lead with dozens of other companies, but you could be losing out on some big bank because you haven’t made an effort to land on more radars.