Search Engine Optimization (dun dun duuun)...
If you’re in business you seek it, crave it, want it, pay for it…and you kind of (but not really) understand how it works. Ultimately, you just know you want people to find YOUR BUSINESS when they go online to search for any words or phrases or ideas that fall into your industry.
Let’s say…your name is Carol and you love Starbucks…so much in fact that you have decided to provide cool custom coffee mugs in a Seattle suburb. Proudly, you open up shop and name yourself Carol Coffee Cup. Hi Carol, welcome to Jali. As fresh, wide-eyed new entrepreneur, you’d love nothing more than for Google, Yahoo, or Bing to push your domain to the top of their search results…or at least somewhere on the first page. You do your own Googlez, and you come across a few articles that don’t makes sense to you and so the information doesn’t stick…
Meta Descriptions Link Building
Like…what’s with the random animals, and what in the hell is a meta description? Honestly, you sit there, on overload, and then you call someone who knows someone who is a web developer and knows things about SEO.
Fast forward to a few months later, and you’re sorely disappointed in your results. You Google, Bing and Yahoo key words and you’re not even coming up on the THIRD page! Finally, even though you like how your website looks in general, you fire your Web/SEO guy and you just wash your hands with SEO. You’re done with it. It doesn’t work. If you have been hurt by an SEO expert in the past, trust us when we say that does not mean SEO is “not real” or “doesn’t work” or is a “scam.”
Before we break into a few "open secrets" about SEO, let’s take a moment to celebrate all the SEO experts out there who DO understand how to maximize SEO potential and set their Client expectations realistically and truthfully. Party on—you all rock!
Now, here’s a few basic things that no one ever really tells you about SEO…
NO ONE ACTUALLY KNOWS THE FORMULA FOR SEO
…that’s right. If you’re like Carol Coffee Cup from my earlier example, you were probably sold the dream that your SEO guy or gal knew exactly what to do to get you at the top of the results pages. But the truth is…search engines like Google, have put their USERS FIRST. This means, they think about you as a seeker of information, before they think about you as a business owner. Search engines are constantly changing their algorithms to make sure they provide you the OPTIMAL service (pun intended). Google protects its users by employing programs like Panda and Penguin to seek out “bad” content and link building. In the earlier days of SEO…bad content and bad link building were running around on the internet like Billy the Kid and Butch Cassidy! There was a time when it was easy to figure out trick search engines with crappy content and overload sites with key words, and build artificial links- (seriously Wild West days of the net). However, that is just not the case anymore. The Bots are getting smarter and smarter, and so while there are ways to manage and increase your likelihood of high search rankings, there is NO SET FORMULA known to anyone besides the search engines themselves. If someone tells you they can GUARANTEE SEO—ruuuun!!!
IF YOUR WEBSITE IS NEW, THE BOTS WILL PUNISH YOU
…okay, “punish you” sounds a little strong. But it is true that if your website is under a year old, search engines are working to actually verify that your site is real before they truly consider your site for rankings. Search engine rankings are based on your “authority.” What is authority? It is basically a score (out of 100) that indicates the strength of your web presence. New sites typically have very low domain authority—and that’s totally OK—you’re the new kid! As the search engines continue to change their algorithms, anyone offering you a new website with a quick turnaround for SEO is again someone you should ruuuuun away from! IMPORTANT to NOTE: If you have an established website with high traffic, you should be aware of the harm a redesign could potentially have on your SEO. **Check Your Site's Authority score HERE.**
SEO IS NOT A ONE MAN SHOW
…so what I mean by this is that SEO does not work alone. Links, key words, social, blogging, meta descriptions—ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE CONTENT—and ultimately, will drive traffic and boost your authority, and authority drives ranking. Anyone telling you that SEO does not require quality content, particularly with Google’s ever-changing algorithms, and the company's drive to create the best possible experience for users, is not telling you the truth…so, again ruuuun!!!
SEO is a complex process that requires a formulaic and strategic approach, it can work and there are amazing agencies in the SEO space that totally kick ass at it! But keep the list above in mind when hunting for your SEO Expert. Ultimately, it’s important that with this knowledge you have realistic expectations of the time it will take for your website to move up in authority and rankings and eventually be all over that first page!!