Monday, 27 June 2016

How SEO has Attained Adulthood

Social networking
Hats off to Google!

Whilst I still believe the search-engine giants to be manipulative and to favour businesses who can afford to pay for advertising and high profile professional promotional services, I accept that this is just the way that business has always been done. Throughout history, money generates money, most of the time.

However, Google has taken a moral stand against some kinds of 'cheating' and has patiently trained website owners to work with them, rather than against them. To be fair on website owners, most of them are not bad, just naiive, and Google was a bit heavy-booted at first.

Still, we're on fairly stable ground now and SEO practices are, to some extent, standardised. In the world of small businesses (SMEs), this has been assisted in some part by the standardisation of website and e-commerce developer packages and their recommended themes and popular add-ons. For example, the use of WordPress to create a website with Yoast or similar plug-ins as basic SEO guides.
  • It is easier for website developers to create good quality, standardised - but unique - website for clients
  • It is easier for website owners/managers to maintain current data on their websites
  • it is easier to integrate Social Networking - the primary source of links to SME websites
With equal availability of low-cost tools and general knowledge, it is less easy to get an edge over competitors who have more muscle, even if you have a 'better' product or service.

SEO on a Budget

If you can't afford to get ahead, at least try to stay in the game. Whether you do it yourself or farm it out, there are certain practices you should follow.
  • Website page content should be full of interesting information for your potential clients/customers. For clarity (and SEO) use the product name rather than 'it' (but don't over-do it!) and try to write at least 300 words per page/topic. Include images (with alt-tags) where appropriate - it helps to make text more readable. Use keywords or phrases that your clients might use in their searches and, when there is more information available on another page, link to it with meaningful text.
  • Linking to your website from other websites is best when the pages that are linked from and to contain similar keywords. Remember that quality generally overrides quantity (although there are plenty of examples where this seems not to be the case). Forum sites with genuine links to your website are doubly useful as they are valued by users and produce good quality human traffic.
  • Social Media is underrated by many website owners. Primarily, for business, the top three are considered to be Twitter, Linked-In and Facebook. However, depending on your business, you may have good results from Pinterest, YouTube and Google+. If you don't have time or inclination to run your social media accounts properly, there are several inexpensive third parties who will manage them for you for a reasonable monthly fee.

Once the foregoing is in place, your next consideration is to include a blog.
  • Typically, off-site (Google blogger or Wordpress) or integrated into your WordPress website;
  • May be used for news, case-studies, discussion topics, guest posts, "thought leadership" etc.

Link to Blog-related posts.


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