I was excited to see so many familiar faces and friends at the Raleigh SEO Meetup 2016 Conference. Also, the conference made me revisit the importance of SEO as a component of comprehensive digital media strategy.
As long as there are search engines, we will struggle with the purpose and significance of search engine optimization. So let’s dive right into the struggle.
Is Search Engine Optimization important?
Many moons ago I had the “good fortune” to realize that if I changed some things in my websites, they would have a better position in search engine rankings. This realization started me on a quest to find the most powerful things I could do to get the most impact. To do that sixteen years ago, I used keyword meta tags and calculated keyword density and prominence on a page. Tools like Damian Doyle’s Ranks.NL (http://www.ranks.nl), circa 2000, were my bread and butter.
But then, on-site techniques became less and less relevant in the whole mix.
SEO today is a complex combination of hundreds of signals, both internal and external, working together to present search engines (most importantly Google), with your content. The hope is to rank higher than your competitors, for the most sought-after keyword combinations.
In May of 2014, the Search Engine Journal interviewed Nathan Safran, former Forrester analyst and director of research for Conductor. Mr. Safran stated that they had studied more than 100 million visits over a 6 month period and segmented traffic by search engine. They found that 85% of traffic came from Google.1 Two years after that study we can assume that number is even higher. Also, most traffic to websites is originated by Google 2. That is the importance of Google rankings.
Internal and External Website Components
SEO is not the most important thing online, but it is important.
Search engine optimization today, as I see it, is a combination of 30% internal components and 70% external components.
The internal components include things like:
- Writing clean html code.
- Using the right markup for your content.
- Configuring your server’s responses to be appropriate and accurate.
- Having a clear and text-based navigation system to your pages.
- Serving an appropriate mobile version of your site to mobile users.
- And many others.
The external components include several things but can be summarized in one objective: link building.
What is Link Building?
Link building is the process of attracting online “votes” for your website. The assumption is that if your content is worthy, then people naturally link to it from their websites. However, in practice this doesn’t happen as naturally as you would expect. Lots of wonderful websites with great content go unnoticed while some websites with not-so-great content receive plenty of “votes”. The solution is Link Building.
Link Building is the most important thing you can do to increase your ranking on the web. According to Google, there are “good” and “bad” ways to link build, and you easily can get banned from their index if you engage in the “bad” kind.
What Should Your Business Do?
As a business owner what should you do? SEO is still important and relevant. SEO starts with a professional, search-engine-friendly website. That should be the foundation of your online strategy. That ensures the exposure of your content to search engines.
To find link building strategies, you can search the hundreds of articles online, but I’ll give you three general rules that should help:
- Link building is difficult. It is a delicate matter, and it takes time.
- Link building should be expensive. If someone offers link building services cheaply, run the other way.
- Link building is worth it. Start with the low hanging fruit: Find people in your vertical who will link to high quality content, and share your quality content with them.
SEO will be a battle of rankings for the foreseeable future, so make sure that you come out on top.
NOTE: AndiSites creates professional, search-engine-friendly websites and offers SEO consulting. If you need ongoing SEO services, including white hat link building, please contact us for a referral to one of our partners.
1. Search Engine Journal. https://www.searchenginejournal.com/new-research-conductor-concludes-google-85-traffic-67-comscore-reports/107343/
2. Conductor Research: 64% of Website Visitors Come from Organic Search (http://www.conductor.com/blog/2014/07/organic-search-actually-responsible-64-web-traffic/)