SEO in the Time of Google
Not too long ago I Googled “fall fashion trends” and within milliseconds more than 18 million results were found. Of course, I only looked at the first page, which included major coverage by Style, Glamour, Elle, and Oprah.
However, my favorite fashion blog, What I Wore, was nowhere to be seen (probably because it was on the 55th results page- a place that might as well not exist). For Jessica, the writer of that blog, Google is not likely to send users to her blog, certainly not with those broad search terms.
Thanks to the power of Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines, a simple web search has quickly become a word war. Websites are doing all they can to increase traffic, and views to their sites by utilizing search engine optimization (SEO).
According to Brian Solis in his book Engage!, SEO increases the visibility of content, site, and destinations within traditional search. In other words, SEO is a set of methodologies that ultimately makes it easier for search engines to find, include, categorize, and rank your web content.
If you ask Brandi Koskie, managing editor of DietsInReview.com, she’ll tell you SEO is a daily part of her job. Diets in Review (DIR) is a great website that includes original articles and reviews about healthy living. Because DIR does not use traditional advertising mediums, 85% of their traffic is organic meaning they rely on search results to direct traffic to their site. To get traffic to the site, DIR knows they need to be in the top results for searches involving certain diets, recipes, etc. In other words, search engine optimization is crucial to their site.
Brandi briefly discussed how a search engine, specifically Google, has an algorithm that displays results based on content from a site. In order to get be one of the first results that Google displays, there are certain things a site administrator can do to increase their chances.
Lou Heldman put it best when he described search engines as gatekeepers to web users. Your website must do certain things to appease the search engines in order to gain access to web users as top results.
Brandi, being the social media guru that she is, and lets face it she really is. This is the woman who started her family online with a blog when blogs were relatively new.
Here are some of her SEO tips:
- Make sure your URL is clear and easy to remember
- Content is king – without it, you’re just spinning wheels
- Create original and new content or designs frequently
- Link to other credible sources and sites (Google really likes this)
- Cut out some of the ads to your site, it makes your site less spam-y
- Increase in-bound links, which are links to your site, within your content and from other credible sites
- Balance user experience with SEO
- Avoid duplicating content from other sites
- Front-load titles with the most valuable keywords
- Anchor text needs to be strong, and link to somewhere relevant
- Meta tags, image name, etc. should be clean and descriptive
One of the key take-aways that I wanted to discuss is about content. While adding new content to your site may seem obvious, not enough companies are doing it. Adding new content frequently tells Google that the site is new and relevant, not outdated, especially original content.
Also, the more articles or content you post; it increases the sites chances of being seen. While creating new content frequently is a bit troublesome, its relevance is extremely important not just for SEO, but for your company as well. Who wants to visit a site with dated information?
Brandi mentioned how she had very little knowledge of SEO before she started her position with DIR. Of course, with search engines growing, SEO is certainly going to become a necessary part of any marketer’s job.
While you can buy ads on Google, search results are much more likely to be seen and clicked, which make them more profitable in the long run. A company who designates a budget for online advertisements should also designate a budget for SEO, whether that’s training or paying someone to improve it. Search engine optimization is all about marketing your company to the public in our web-heavy culture. It just happens to take place online. I think SEO will eventually become a ubiquitous way to market online content.
So for me, it’s not if I can see myself doing what Brandi does, it’s when.