Building a Proper SEO House
First, Happy 4th of July to all my US readers.
There are many people talking about the death of SEO. Yeah, I know, you are contemplating closing this post. Stay with me. Well, if you are a seasoned search marketing veteran, you are free to go. There is nothing here that is going to be earth shattering. But I have seen too much recently to not say something.
SEO is not going anywhere but it has changed. Long gone are the days of “tricks” and “secrets.” SEO is moving towards (and about time IMHO) being a staple of every company’s IT and Marketing schedule. But we are not there yet. I can’t research a local company or do a competitive analysis without coming across a handful of sites that are missing the basics. The larger companies are getting there, but again, not there yet. This is what should happen though, SEO is a part of marketing and web development and should take its rightful place.
But there are no secrets. Can you still pick up some good ideas from the minds at conferences and get togethers? Yes! But know that you might be one of those minds. How? It’s the experiences that make good ideas. Conference organizers constantly try to blend new speakers/new perspectives with seasoned veterans. But what is said there is not hard and fast truth. Any of them will tell you that your site is unique. It’s about the idea they are presenting that spurs the idea for your site.
The questions I’ve seen arise recently have been just like those from 2005. Site developers and first time website owners want to know how to get their site to #1 right now. They want to know why other “less desirable” or “less worthy” sites are outranking their beautiful creation. The answer is always the same.
- Build your site well. It needs to be clean, understandable, and navigable. Page load times and text based content are things to notice.
- Content needs to be focused to the user. Don’t stuff. Don’t over optimize. Build pages for different users and make it something they want to read. Users via email are different than those from PPC ads. And the users from organic SERPs are different too. All users are not created equal.
- Content needs to engage and entice. Not only to convert (which is the first focus) but also to share. In this world of linking, the best way to go about links isn’t easy. The best links are from real people. You will get them by marketing and customer service. PR is a good road too, remember that one? Journalists are your friend.
- If you are building links by paying someone in India, stop.
- Be patient. Yes, the engines will pick up content almost instantaneously in some cases but not all. If you spotted a problem recently and changed it, give the bots time to find, fix and propagate.
Build your foundation (good clean code), set your framework (navigation and structure), insulate (link build), pick the right colors (content), and then market. The most beautiful well built house will never be found if no one talks about it.