You know what I hate? Sugarcoating and BS. Don’t sugarcoat. Give it to me straight. Don’t bullshit me – ever – because I’ll take my business elsewhere. In the race to stake a claim to one of the coveted top spots on Google search, though, you have to wade through a figurative flood of junk SEO, better known as SEO BS.
5 Things You Need to Know About SEO
Let’s cut the crap. Search engine optimization is by no means an exact science. If it were, it wouldn’t be changing on a daily basis.
The entire industry of SEO is policed by a single, almighty entity known as Google. In order for any website to rank well and land a spot on the first page of the search engine results (SERPs), it must please the Google Gods and play nice with all of the Google-verse algorithms.
Google’s search algorithms, which play a huge role in determining where a website or page places for a given search, have been in a constant state of flux since at least 2000. The staff at Moz.com actually put together a running history of Google’s updates, dating all the way back to 2000.
The almighty SEO determiner updates its search algorithms around 500 to 600 times each year. Yes, you read that right; five hundred to six hundred times EACH year. And it’s for this very reason – the continual relativity of SEO – that you need first to understand five things about SEO:
1. You Can’t Buy SEO
So-called search engine optimization services are one of the frontrunners in Internet spam. It’s like opening your mailbox at home to find it stuffed with sales papers and flyers from a dozen businesses you’ve never heard of – it’s annoying. Chances are you’ll chuck it all in the trash without giving it more than a glance because you don’t know these companies and have no reason to trust them.
In much the same manner, anyone with a website knows what I’m talking about when I say SEO service spam. It hits your inbox. It floods your comment forms and chances are it’s spewing from your reviews and other business forms. These sneaky little buggers manage to find URLs you don’t even advertise or have open to search engine crawlers. It’s freaky! And it’s basically harassment. It’s also tempting if your website exposure isn’t where you want it to be.
So listen up. You can’t buy SEO.
The so-called service providers offering an influx of traffic and higher positioning on search are scams for one simple reason: They don’t operate organically. In other words, they highjack ranking and traffic, sending a flood of not-so-relevant boost your way. The rising numbers might make you feel good, but the money you fork out puts you at risk of a Google smack down because these companies use black hat SEO tactics. Think of it like insider trading on Wall Street. When you get caught, it’s over.
2. SEO Writing Isn’t Real
As a content agency specializing in the creation of excellence in content, all of these companies advertising “SEO writing” and “SEO writers” insult what greatness in content stands for in every way. Google’s search for the crème de la crème of websites to rank in the top 10 spots on search starts as mechanical algorithms searching for content meeting certain parameters, but it then evolves to an almost artificial intelligence selecting the websites best matching a given query with relevancy and quality. It’s all thanks to Google’s Hummingbird breakthrough, which has steadily transformed search engine optimization into the search for epic content – the kind real writers, not SEO writers, create.
The next time a service tries to draw you in with “SEO writing” and “SEO writers,” beware. It’s a scam because the focus of SEO in content is now composed of talented, search savvy writers who research and create relevant content, which is then properly optimized to today’s standards.
3. Today’s SEO Changed Today
Social Media Today recently ran an article entitled, SEO: How to Avoid All the BS. It’s a nifty little guide you need to take a moment to read because it clarifies just how to avoid the BS of SEO, something everyone with a website needs to know.
Barry Feldman, the brain behind the article, points out one of the most crucial things everyone needs to understand about SEO. “SEO probably changed today,” he says. “You simply need to accept this.” And he’s spot on.
Remember what we proved at the outset? Google updates their algorithms 500 to 600 times per year. A year only has 365 days in it, which means search engine optimization determiners are in a constant state of flux. What applied to SEO today is out of date tomorrow, which effectively puts the nail in the coffin for buying SEO, be it in the form of quick trip writing or traffic influx.
4. SEO Is Organic
How many times have you read, “SEO needs to be organic,” and wondered what in the hell it meant? I’m going to be painfully honest with you; at the start of my full-time copywriting career, I was writing the content for a sizeable content agency, and it was all about organic search at times. And I had no freaking idea what it meant. But I made it sound good, and it worked. It worked so well, in fact, that I was one of their top writers until the day I resigned. That’s SEO writing, folks. Fake it until you make it, and hope for the best.
Why would you invest your hard earned money in that? I wouldn’t, and that’s why I’m running my own agency with an entirely different approach to content. We focus on exceptional, relevant, engaging content over tracking every little algorithm change like a bloodhound. And while some will disagree with this approach, it’s what makes our SEO organic.
Organic SEO is natural, meaning it isn’t forced, and it isn’t mechanical. It’s not bought and paid for search ranking; it’s hard earned, fought for placement based on merit. It takes time to build, but the end result is a solid foundation meeting Google’s approval. When a website has organic SEO, it weathers those yearly hundreds of algorithm changes effortlessly because its heart and soul beat for the relevant, engaging, informative content audiences crave.
5. The Best SEO Evolves
So, if these “I can raise your ranking on Google within hours” and “I can get you triple traffic for this price” aren’t worth it, and SEO writing and writers are just a hard sell akin to a car salesman, what is the solution when it comes to SEO? How do you get the audience, the notice, and the search ranking your hard work so justly deserves?
Listen to Barry Feldman, who says simply, “All you can do is listen, learn and experiment.” Search optimization is in a constant state of flux, and in many ways it is relative. Therefore, instead of focusing your efforts on pleasing search, focus on pleasing your target audience. Google and other search engines are on a mission to supply the end user with the best experience. It just makes sense that catering to your audience will build your ranking, organically.
Since early 2012, there have been whispers in the world of content and content marketing. It was said the emerging face of SEO was content. The whispers were prophetic because now, three years later, Google has placed major algorithm updates all geared toward finding and praising websites dedicated to excellence in content. No longer is SEO based on keyword stuffing and a stiff metric of data and reports. It’s fluidic, organic, and 100 percent geared to the needs and desires of the audience. No longer is SEO mechanical:
If you’re a patron to our blog, then you’re familiar with our saying we’re all drowning in a monsoon of mediocre material. The Internet is churning with low-quality content, and rising above it, peaking out of the monsoon’s reach, is tough. But it’s not impossible.
Train yourself on how to recognize junk SEO. Avoid the content agencies and mills who exist for quick trips and sales. Ally yourself with real experts and real talent. If you build a team dedicated to evolving with your brand, your content will organically grow right alongside your search ranking.
At the end of the day, ranking isn’t everything. More and more people are becoming knowledgeable of the truth of marketing, and they know the websites occupying the top spots on search aren’t always to be trusted. They just happen to play the game better than the websites currently on page two and three.
Focus wholeheartedly on your audience and their needs. Offer them solutions. Give them meaty material. Educate them. Connect with them on social media. The bottom line in SEO is experimentation. Go with what works. Evolve as your brand and audience grow and stay away from junk SEO.