Good SEO is not a destination, but a long journey. And the journey can alter to suit the conditions and what we’ve encountered along the way. I was reminded of this concept after watching a recent video by esteemed SEO colleague Jim Stewart. A long time fan, his talk was superb as usual, but the last few minutes of his talk, extracted below, we found the most interesting. He was answering a question from a client asking ‘what are you doing for us next month?’ The answer was a simple ‘it depends’.
We spend any spare time repairing websites for others and see a lot of common problems. Hear a lot of concerns site owners have. Inevitably there are various technical issues around site speed and/or security. Traffic or the lack of it is the other, or how ‘Google-friendly’ the site structure is technically, speed and how relevant the content is – If it is a good match for what people are searching for online.
I was reminded by an article in the yoast blog on homepage SEO, that it’s pages that rank, not sites themselves. A clear focus upon content and individual pages is really one of the first steps to get any website ranked. It’s not what you see visually or read about on the home page. In an age of CMS websites like WordPress, a good home page is normally just a snippet of the inside pages or posts anyway. There’s seldom a single website home page, as in brochure websites of old.
The dramatic rise of mobile smartphone search makes it critical website owners localise organic SEO and Adwords search campaigns. According to Google, around 20 percent of normal search carries a local intent but that number rises to 40 or 50 percent in mobile.
There’s a lot of misconceptions around the use and value of the keywords meta tag and meta descriptions when it comes to getting a website ranked in Google. I commonly hear of web designers and SEO people spending time on both the meta descriptions and meta keywords, adding this into the site or page headers.
New technology has seen the rise and fall of many trades and professions. Marketing as we know it could be going the same way as mechanics who tuned carburetors, common in all cars back in the 70s and earlier – Before fuel injection for petrol engines really took off in those Japanese imports, giving us improved fuel economy and reliability.
A recent article in Forbes magazine discussed why marketing executives performance is substandard and why they are seldom trusted by their bosses. The key issue raised in the article being that most senior marketing executives appear to work on their ‘gut instinct’ instead of utilsing data or reasoning, common with other executive roles. The problem with intuition, as powerful as it sometimes is, rarely produces the best result. Hence cynical CEOs just see marketing as a nasty expense, not having an ROI. Everything is done for ‘branding’.
For most of us it starts with subscribe forms, tied into a good email marketing system like mailchimp, aweber or similar. This is where we must all start, by building a mailing list. There are loads of new tools like optinmonster that helps boost subscribe signup rates too. With additional effort, you can start segmenting lists and personalising campaigns.
This is a long rant, so if you’re a designer or marketer, have patience, don’t be offended, because there is a point.
To most businesses, their website is just an online version of their printed sales brochure. And when the site isn’t performing in terms of traffic or inquiries, the fix is inevitably a re-design project – Update the appearance, re-word various pages, company message or offer. The modern pitch being “Let’s refresh the site branding and copy, include the latest mobile-responsive technologies, a CMS upgrade, plus social media work for additional exposure and to raise your online profile” or similar…