A simplified presentation by Google of how their searches work and how they determine how high on the results page to list your site.
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Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.
If you watch this very short video from Google and believe what they’re saying, you will catapult yourself into an elite group of people who actually understand the “secret” of SEO.
I emphasize the word believe because I’ve learned from years of Web development that many people persist with a misconception that SEO success is determined primarily by how that site is coded, even when they’ve been enlightened with the truth. Many, if not most, people think that there is some method by which a developer can arrange the code on their site to make a big impact on their SEO. We get inquiries all the time from people who are looking for someone to take their existing site and have it recoded so the same content is listed higher in Google.
That’s simply not how it works.
As stated in this video from Google, “First and foremost we [Google] care about content.” Not to go down another wrong path, this does not mean Google is looking for some special arrangement of content and keyword stuffed pages. What they are ultimately looking for is content that is unique and truly valuable to your target visitors. By no coincidence, that’s what real people are looking for too.
To be clear, there is still a place for proper coding (on-site SEO) . . . but it is not the driving force behind the overall success or failure of your Website’s SEO.
I get a kick out of all the spam I receive from those claiming to be SEO experts saying they have the secret to make your site jump to the top of Google and generate untold thousands of new customers.
The question that begs asking is if these jokers are really so good at SEO, why then are they then spamming you? Shouldn’t they be overwhelmed with all the search engine traffic they’ve generated form themselves?
The truth is, there is no “secret” to SEO, there are no special or secret tactics you’ll want to employ on your site (in fact, such tactics can actually get you in trouble with Google).
While there is no secret knowledge or esoteric coding skills required to achieve success, long-term SEO takes a lot of thoughtful work and dedication to achieve.
Here are the basics of how to do that:
- Focus on developing a site that offers consistent valuable content that is relevant for your target audience.
- Make pages for users, not for search engines.
- Use Google’s keyword tool to carefully research the keywords you should optimize your site for and make sure they’re included naturally within the content. Don’t forget to include “long tail” SEO terms in the appropriate information level of your site. For example instead of saying you sell “widgets” include more information about the specific widget you sell, such as “blue X100 Widgets”.
- Implement on-site search engine optimization by ensuring your chosen keywords are included in the appropriate densities within your site, within certain code tags, and that your site code is valid and fully indexable by Google.
- Develop a blog and social media publishing routing and offer practical “how to” content related to those keywords that appeals to your target audience. People (and search engines) aren’t interested in your sales pitches.
- Understand and initiate a plan for developing your off-site search engine optimization. In essence, this is establishing hyperlinks back to your site from other sites that are as high of quality as possible and related to your keywords. This is ultimately the most important part of your SEO process and not coincidentally, also the hardest.
For a more in depth version of this list, see our main Search Engine Optimization page.