Did you ever want to find out the truth about SEO? If you want to gain an insight into anything including SEO, it is worth looking at what the world’s top minds think.
If you put together everything useful that has ever been said about SEO in one place and follow their advice then you can at least give yourself a fighting chance of beating your competitors in search.
Simply following every new trick will not make you successful at SEO. It’s about the long game and doing the simple things well.
Because it’s a black art, it’s really hard to tell who’s good and who’s not. Andrew Goodman is good, there are people who are less reputable… no matter what, it’s hard to guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth. Seth Godin
This quote from way back in 2004 is still true today. It’s easy to set up business as an expert in something 99% of the population don’t understand fully. The only way to tell if your SEO is good is to run a check on how their own websites rank in the local area and nationally. If their website isn’t among the top 20 for either, then it’s a giant red flag. What SEO business owner wouldn’t want their website to rank near the top?
“The objective is not to ‘make your links appear natural’; the objective is that your links are natural.” Matt Cutts
SEO should be seen as a long term project precisely because genuine links are hard to find without great marketing and equally great content. You will know a bad link if it is easy to get and too many of them can get result in a penalty.
“You can chase whatever keywords and phrases you like, but at the end of the day it’s all about those conversions.” Matt Webb
A keyword or phrase might sound right but will it bring the right kinds of visitors and conversions? You can easily check by setting up Google Webmaster and equivalents from other search engines. These are free tools that will enable you to accurately track what people are searching for when they arrive at your website.
“My rule of thumb is build a site for a user not a spider.” Dave Naylor
Website owners often burden themselves with second guessing what the search engines will do. This kind of thinking is wrong. If you build a website that is easy to navigate and easy to understand, then people are naturally more likely to use it and search engine spiders will also find it easier to crawl the pages.
“The three essential elements of an effective SEO are effective communication, useful information and high quality backlinks.” SEO Refugee
If there are three things to learn about SEO it is the way your website communicates, the quality and usefulness of the information you add to it and links from websites that are doing the same thing.
“If I spent my time reporting every competitor of mine breaking a rule, that’s all I’d EVER do and my own sites would suck because they’d be getting no attention.” Rae Hoffman
Negative SEO is almost certainly on the rise. Spending too much time on trying to get your competitor or someone who upset you de-indexed or wiped off the search results is wasted energy. Focus on what you are doing to win.
“Good SEO work only gets better over time. It’s only search engine tricks that need to keep changing when the ranking algorithms change.” Jill Whalen
There is a myth trotted out regularly by SEO amateurs that Google is changing the way it ranks websites and that this is what causes penalties and loss or rankings. This is rubbish. What helps a website rank high on search is what has always helped a website rank high, Reputation, quality content, usability and lots of high quality links.
“On a broad scale, I see SEO becoming a normalized marketing tactic, the same way TV, radio, and print are traditionally thought of as marketing tactics.” Duane Forrester, Senior Product Manager, Bing
He got this one right. SEO is already a huge industry and while there is search there will be more and more people employed to serve the need to occupy the higher positions on search engine results pages (SERPS).
“It’s much easier to double your business by doubling your conversion rate than by doubling your traffic.” Jeff Eisenberg
Traffic is meaningless if you don’t have conversions. You can build a successful business even on low levels of traffic as long as your customers find exactly what they are looking for.
“The future of SEO is here: understanding and marketing to specific and defined audiences through search engines.” Adam Audette, Chief Knowledge Officer, RKG
SEO hasn’t changed but the level of competition has and the way people are searching. To be successful now you need to plug in to exactly what it is your audience is searching for and you can’t do that without understanding who they are and where to find them.
“Social is the way our work gets discovered. Content that is truly exceptional, unique, and useful can earn tremendous awareness through social media, and that social amplification often leads to great links, which leads to great rankings.” Rand Fishkin, CEO/Co-Founder, Moz
Social media can be a powerful driver of links to your website if it is used correctly. The more genuine links you have the better your website will perform but you also need to serve your audience with content they will be interested in or social media won’t be the magic bullet you are searching for.
“What continues to plague search marketers is the adherence to old-think issues: ‘Content is too hard to create.’ ‘Links are too hard to build organically.’ This type of focus blinds you to more important things.” Duane Forrester, Senior Product Manager, Bing
It’s easy to sit there moaning about not having time to write good content or build links. This is why so many business owners are trying to look for quick fixes and end up getting burned by SEO companies using the wrong tactics. If you really care about your website and your business, it should be easy to express that in content and the hours you put into helping your customers. Websites that don’t do this don’t deserve a high ranking.
“The days of SEO being a game outsmarting algorithms are over. Today content strategy and valuable, sustainable strategies are essential, not just tricks and links.” Adam Audette, Chief Knowledge Officer, RKG
Why spend time trying to outsmart a sophisticated search engine which harnesses the intelligence of billions of people every day. Even if things work temporarily people who try to trick their way to the top will usually suffer the consequences in the end.
“We should be thinking about social and search as channels that need a unified approach, because the best content should appeal to both channels and the cross-over benefits/economies of scale are potentially huge.” Will Critchlow, Founder, Distilled, Inc.
Social media and SEO are now more unified than ever. It is difficult to do SEO without having some kind of social media presence these days. Social media offers a huge opportunity to let people know about your business and what you have to say and share about it. There is no reason not to use what other companies are using every day and refusing to only leaves a website owner stuck in the past while competitors get all the customers.
“Social networks are a terrific window into human behaviour; you can judge what a niche responds to and market to it more effectively by watching for trends and interacting with influential people in the network. Debra Mastaler, President, Alliance-Link
To do SEO well, you need to know your customer and the easiest way to do this is find them. Most of them are likely to be using at least one social media channel and it is there that you will find what interests them and how you should target your content.
“Companies are rushing headlong into content today, and rightly so. It’s a battle to get noticed online amidst the noise and crowds.” Adam Audette, Chief Knowledge Officer, RKG
If you are developing content it has got to be better than the output of your competition or you won’t stand out. Doing the same as others will only see you join the ranks rather than standing out.
“A company that builds a loyal social following has a built-in army to promote their content, day in and day out. That content will get shared, get links, send social signals…all of which can’t be a bad thing.” Wil Reynolds, Founder, Seer Interactive
Building a large social following should be a priority with any website particularly those engaged in content marketing. The more followers there are the more they will share the content and the bigger the audience for your message and what you have to sell.
“Since people tend to share links (content) that affect them emotionally, it’s more important than ever to understand the demographic you’re selling to.” Debra Mastaler, President, Alliance-Link
People are more likely to share content if the headline appeals to their emotions. Next time you produce a piece of content, ask yourself, how will this make the person reading it feel? Will they be worried? Happy? Curious? If your headline doesn’t make them feel something, the content won’t get read or shared.
“Organizations who can’t match up in content creation and promotion may find themselves losing out to content marketers who learn the basics of SEO.” Rand Fishkin, CEO/Co-Founder, Moz
SEO is now as much about content as it is about the technical side of website development and this has been the case for some time. SEO has become much more dynamic than it used to be and search engines are becoming increasingly sophisticated when it comes to giving people the best answers to their queries.
“The key is to present the right content to the users at the time they need it in an engaging manner, across all channels they visit.” Jim Yu, CEO, BrightEdge
Sometimes content is better as an image, sometimes it might be better as a video or infographic. The key is to make it engaging whatever medium you choose and this will likely pay off in helping to rank your website.
“Running with the herd is not always a great idea; be unique, and the links will come.” Debra Mastaler, President, Alliance-Link
If you are going to succeed at content marketing you have got to stand out. Too many websites simply copy each other’s content and ideas because they think it will get them the same results. Why aim for the same when with some thought you have it within you to do better?
“Content marketing needs to be at the heart of your SEO efforts. It has always been that way, but is even more so now because Google is so much more effective at understanding the context of content and how it is shared, etc.” Chris Bennett, Founder/CEO, 97th Floor
Google’s search engine is getting more and more sophisticated. It understands user intent and this mean content has to be giving out the right signals and must be focusing on relevancy.
“Here’s the thing: the term ‘content marketing’ is just a rebranding of what good digital marketers already know and have been acting on for years.” Marshall Simmonds, Founder, Define Media Group
Content marketing is nothing new. Many of the successful businesses have been doing it for years. It took a while to hit the mainstream but the vast majority of website business owners are only now waking up to the fact that without good website content being produced consistently, their website won’t rank.
“SEO is a marketing function for sure, but it needs to be baked into a product, not slapped on like icing after the cake is baked.” Duane Forrester
Too many website owners think of SEO after they have developed a website. SEO should be considered right from the beginning rather than later after the business has failed to gain a high position on SERPS and not gained any online custom.
“Stay focused on creating engaging content experiences and impress visitors with thoughtful usability, making their job (answering their question) easier.” Duane Forrester, Senior Product Manager, Bing
People often search with a question. Web content needs to answer those questions and help guide the user to a deeper understanding where necessary.
“Even the best SEOs are not magicians. They can’t simply place a site at the top of the engines when there are hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of others that offer basically the same thing, and provide basically the same information. If they could, you’d see a whole lot more millionaire SEOs.” Jill Whalen highrankings.com
SEO should be seen as a necessary process rather than a way to cheat the search engines or some magic formula to rank websites. There is no magic formula other than following a process for the length of time necessary to see results. Any SEO that says differently or has some tool they are promoting to achieve a number one ranking on Google is lying.
“There’s been so much fear pushed around the web about reciprocal link exchanges and link trading programs that the message has been muddled up into the completely nonsensical “never link to someone who links to you.” To my mind, that’s a touch of lunacy.” Rand Fishkin seomoz.com
Linking to other websites can actually be beneficial for SEO if the sources are relevant. Not all links should be one-way traffic. The Internet works better when knowledge is shared and expanded and references are made to other useful opinions and ideas. This is why search engine rank websites that do this higher.
“The success of a page should be measured by one criteria: Does the visitor do what you want them to do?” Aaron Wall SEObook.com
It doesn’t matter how nice your web page is or how much better it looks compared to your competitor, the most successful web pages will make up a customer’s mind to hit that contact or purchase button or make that call.
…and here’s a bonus one for anyone who thinks they don’t need to do SEO and website rankings will take care of themselves.
“Man who stand on hill with mouth open will wait long time for roast duck to drop in.” Confucius
Confucius came a long time before the Internet but this quote applies to all website owners who think that not doing SEO is an option.