There’s a lot of confusion out there about SEO – Search Engine Optimization. A lot of that confusion stems from companies claiming to be experts in improving your site’s ranking.
SEO isn’t something you do once. It’s a process, a way of doing business online that optimizes your chances of being displayed prominently in search engines. It’s a constantly evolving art form. The major search engines are frequently refining the algorithms they use to provide you with a list of links that are relevant to your search.
Here’s a few things we’ve seen SEO companies proclaiming that are either outright false and possibly damaging to your website’s search engine ranking, or they are outdated methods that may have worked at one time but are no longer effective.
Most SEO companies promise to submit your website to hundreds of online directories. The reality is that the vast majority of search engine traffic comes from two places – Google or Bing. Most of these “directories” are little more than spam engines and the only traffic they have is other website owners looking to see if they are listed. Google’s algorithm takes into account the quality of the links to your site and their relevance. They know which directories are true resources and which were created just to increase the number of listings a website has. Which brings us to…
Links to Website
The number of links to your site does have some importance, but it’s not as important as it once was. In the early days of Google, PageRank was an important part of their algorithm and it was strictly a popularity contest. The more links you had the better (see above about bogus “directories”). Nowadays the search engine algorithms are smarter and WHO is linking to you on WHAT pages is more important than just simply how many links you have. Having your site appear in a bunch of bogus business directories can actually flag your site as “spammy” and hurt, more than help, your website’s search rankings.
Again, in the early day, meta tags used to be useful. These are bits of code added to your page that search engines once used in order to learn what your website is about to help them determine how they should index your site. Problem is, people abused them and they are rarely used anymore. There are some meta tags that should be used, but the “keywords” meta tag is not one of them. See this article for Google’s own take on it.
#1 on Google
If any company tells you they will guarantee you a number 1 listing on Google, you should probably run, not walk, away from them. No one can guarantee that. Most likely not even Google could guarantee that. The ranking algorithms are constantly changing, the competitive landscape is constantly changing. If a company does figure out a way to scam the system, Google will quickly update their algorithm. And by the way, Google does not like being scammed or gamed, and they usually build in a penalty in the next version of the search algorithm for “dirty tricks”.
Keywords are important. The actual key words on your page that is, as we’ve already demonstrated that the keywords meta tag is no longer used. There is no magic “keyword density”, however (density means how often a certain word or phrase appears on a page in relation to the other words on the page).
Once again, the search engines have evolved over time. Remember when you’d go to a website and the entire bottom section of the page would have a long list of words that related with the subject of the website? Yeah, that doesn’t work anymore. Search engine algorithms understand context and relevancy these days. The only way to have a good keyword strategy is to have a good content strategy.
How do you optimize your site for search engine ranking? It’s a process of making sure you have good content that is rich with strategic keywords, a social media policy that is consistently updated with fresh content, and links to your website that are relevant and trustworthy. The design of your website should highlight your content, have reasonable loading speeds and be built with mobile viewing in mind.
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