Did you think you could learn everything you need to know about search engine optimisation in just a few simple steps?
If you’re one of the many reading blog posts about how SEO can be easy or simple, then you are being mislead. Not exactly on purpose, but simply because SEO is complex and when bloggers and “gurus” try to present it to you, they have to dull it down and leave important parts out.
Think about it.
Thousands of highly similar and competitive businesses fight daily for the top ranking spots. Ranking higher is not a quick fix or simple task – it is hard work and a lot goes into a website being moved up on the search results list.
The Truth About Blogging
You’ve probably heard that blogging can improve your SEO results and drive new traffic, but what you probably didn’t realize is that it’s not a quick fix. Just like anything worth doing, blogging takes a lot of time and effort to pay off.
In fact, Hubspot’s chief marketing officer Mike Volpe warns companies not to even try and measure results until after they’ve blogged consistently for 6 months. He also notes:
- 70% of leads generated by Hubspot’s blog were viewing posts from a past month
- Effort and budget should equal 80:20 inbound marketing to traditional marketing
- Once established, your blog should be measured on a daily, monthly and quarterly basis
Just like starting a brand new workout regimen, the results will depend entirely on the process. If you start focused only on the outcome, you might be disappointed in the lack of immediate results. Are you even working out frequently enough for the results you want? Long enough? Are you using the correct methods to produce the results you are looking for?
While the long-term goal should certainly be considered, someone starting a new task (like blogging or working out) should focus most of their attention on the correct process to get to their desired results.
While it’s certainly true that blogging allows your website to have more indexed pages that can pop up as search results, focusing on increasing your indexed page count will likely result in unnecessary blog posts that aren’t focused on the needs of your audience.
The Myth: Blogging is easy and gets fast results.
Watch out for the myriad of companies who want to help you pollute the internet with the “more is better” mindset. This does not improve your SEO results as you might expect it to, and it certainly doesn’t present your company in a good light to the customer.
The Truth: Blogging is time consuming, demanding both practice and consistency.
Blogging truly is an effective marketing method that can attract many new leads and retain customers. It does, however, take patience and a lot of careful consideration, planning and determination to get the inspiring results that will really move your audience and improve your traffic.
The Science of Domain Age
Another thing most marketing experts won’t tell you – domain age does have an effect on how quickly your website will rank.
A new website, even with an impressive approach to SEO, will take time to gain traction with search engines.
Experts say the age of a domain won’t affect ranking “that much,” but they fail to pinpoint exactly how much it does affect the ranking. When Matt Cutts of Google addressed the topic, he compared domains of six months to one that was a year old and pointed out there wasn’t a lot of difference. Sure, but what about comparing a new domain to one that has existed for five years? Or ten?
See, older websites have had time to build up quality links and published content. Clearly, they will have the upper hand in ranking and newer websites will simply have to be patient enough to begin the catch-up process.
The Myth: Website age doesn’t matter.
It’s a hard sell and most companies avoid talking specifics when it comes to the importance of age (or size) for SEO. Telling a startup that they need to spend hours and hours for months on end before they can even begin to really affect their ranking is not the kind of news anyone wants to be first in line to blurt out, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
The Truth: SEO takes time and quality matters most.
Time isn’t the answer anyone wants to hear because it doesn’t have a quick fix (and we are all about those “3 Steps” or “Simple Tip,” but time is the reality of it.
It takes time to build up a reputation with viewers, increase traffic and build the kind of page indexes that search engines love to crawl through. It also takes time to come up with quality content that generates inbound links as readers share it with their friends and family.
The faster companies can understand the value and real effort of inbound marketing, the faster they can get on board and understand how to accurately measure their results.
The Outdated (Ab)use of Keywords
Some companies still fail to see the way keyword use has shifted. Keywords are the words or phrases that an audience is likely to use when searching for a subject. Companies tend to use keywords with their products, location or specific subject matter phrases in their content to try to push their articles up when a search is done for on those keywords.
The mistake is in failing to recognize the un-useful and obnoxious content this creates.
In fact, Google is fighting to keep articles like this out of the top results. See, Google knows that its users don’t want crappy content loaded with keywords, they are looking for real answers to their questions. So, Panda 4.0 caused many companies using the wrong (keyword stuffing) methods to take a major traffic hit.
Companies in the past tried to work the search engine system by loading up their pages with keywords and, thus, qualifying for high rankings in numerous search results.
Now, companies have to focus on quality pages that honestly seek to answer the question asked. The more topics your website has indexed, the better your chances for coming up in a number of different queries.
The Myth: Keywords should be added to your articles.
Experts spend their time talking about how to insert keywords, but keywords disrupt the organic nature of an honest article and the page begins to feel contrived. Keyword phrases are often awkward and keywords used throughout an article are redundant.
The Truth: Plan your content for keywords.
If you know what your audience might be searching for, then really answer the question that will be asked. If your customer, for example, is going to be searching for the cost of your product or service, spend one (or more) article(s) writing on the topic – even if your pricing depends on a number of factors.
By answering the FAQs and writing articles designed to naturally meet keywords and search queries, you will begin to build a strategy to target keywords without ever focusing on the keywords themselves.