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’.
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.
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.
This topic has had a bit of press overseas recently. It’s finally been acknowledged that SEO and getting a website ranked well has business benefits. Yey! At present the business owner and designer just ‘hope’ Google is kind enough to send them traffic after some basic keyword work and maybe submitting the site to a search engine. But, in 99% of case, Google sends through a small fraction of the traffic the business owner expected. They’re then forced to invest hundreds or thousands per month in Adwords or offline marketing.
Out this week is the annual MOS study of how it believes Google ranks websites. The most obvious factor is the slow demise of keywords in ranking. Perhaps this is no surprise to those that follow Google, who made major changes to their algorithm last September with hummingbird. This change had much more focus upon the site content and intent and less on keywords alone. Yet most SEO specialists worldwide just ignored Googles changes, carrying on as before with an obsession on keywords, keyword density, meta keywords, backlinks etc….
I’m in the midst of a linkedin discussion on Pagerank being the original website quality score Google generates. Pagerank (PR) was something I followed closely several years back, but these days with all the changes at Google, I believe is now largely irrelevant. I don’t know what my own Pagerank is for my sites and now don’t really care. Yes, you can still get a Pagerank figure for your site, but a high figure doesn’t guarantee you’re be found in a search. Jim Stewart, my SEO mentor in Melbourne has shown this many times.
Google is moving the goal posts, again. For years there was a major focus upon keywords and backlinks in order to get ranked in a search page result. But from October 2013, both article/directory backlinks and even keywords are becoming less important.
For years website owners have been told by SEO geeks that getting lots of quality backlinks was the holy grail of getting ranked on Google. The more backlinks, the greater chance of getting search traffic. This was true in 2012, but simply isn’t the case any more – Which is really good news.
A number of my clients, spurred on from some articles we wrote a couple years back, are persisting in adding their company name and details to various local directories like Yellow, Gopher, Finda, localist etc. The hope is that it will help their rankings and hence get more search traffic. Although there were ranking benefits of doing this back in 2011, this isn’t the case today. What we recommended last year or earlier, often no longer works well. This modification of the rules is normal in the world of search. Rules that can change overnight.
Jim Stewart, my favourite SEO guru in Auzzie made some great comments on this topic. These attention-seeking articles arise on various websites and newspapers at regular intervals. Alongside other articles on the death of Facebook and email… As Jim said, many ‘experts’ forget that Google is the primary navigation system of the web and won’t be disappearing any time soon…