Too often you hear about horror stories of people trusting the wrong SEO companies only to fall flat in the search engine result pages. To avoid this, there are a few fundamental characteristics of a good SEO campaign that each of you should be aware of.
Like any platform, there are advantages and disadvantages, Google, Yahoo, Ask or MSN are not just mindless computers. They are intelligent systems built on layers and layers of algorithms that are designed to scan, identify and assess various metrics that pass authority and relevance. As a result, the more robust your website is, the more opportunity it has to convey multiple facets to users. Make Sure Your Website Has Substance
Search engines have the ability to parse various platforms to assess if your website is essentially “natural” in regard to popularity when considering off page factors as well as how organized and structured the “on page” items are (such as meta data, internal links, content coherence and term frequency, etc.). In the past, before search engineers had the time, experience or resources to dedicate to reducing spam, clutter or noise in their index, it was possible to trick search engines by inflating certain aspects of the on page or off page metrics.
Use Layers of Topical Content to Establish Relevance
Search engines possessing an array of specialists and engineers from diverse backgrounds “to eliminate the noise” of spam and clutter. If an SEO company is still using dated methods such as like link farms (low quality stand alone links from off topic sites) these practices will surely leave a digital imprint which is easy to discern from search engines who will remove them from their index.
This means that the only sanctuary for those trying to “trick the system” is to focus on quality content seasoned over time and not rely on methods of automation or replication that leave a flawed trail. Realize that, the prime directive for search engines is to (a) produce the most relevant result and (b) keep visitors coming back (so they can monetize traffic). So, any site not conforming to quality (as deemed by the collective) is a threat to their business model.
Since they essentially are dependent on feedback from users, other websites using metrics such as the link graph, shingle analysis, co-occurrence and other vector based metrics; any site creating an unnatural patterns is bound to pique the interest of algorithms and be queued to receive an editorial review.
Then, it is only a matter of time before a correction is issued to the algorithm to nullify the anomaly from reaching critical mass. Any exploited loophole could represent a few thousand to a few million of dollars of lost revenue from the amount of traffic that search engines refer to the top ranking positions.
So, to say that keeping the search index free of malicious intent or overt personal gain from questionable websites backed by questionable morals is a responsibility that falls on the noblest minds such as Matt Cutts, Google’s chief engineer and head of the web spam team, to ensure that each and every one of us finds exactly what we are searching for.
Think Long Term, Focus on Quality Content
Although the risks are great, many often attempt to combine various metrics to fool the algorithms to inflate relevance, popularity through automation and further pollute search results. SEO with good intentions, meaning that the prime directive aside from commerce as is for educational or entertainment purposes has the ability to double as editorial content.
Editorial content has the unique distinction of attracting its own links, getting shared in social media and being engaged by a broader audience than just the traditional landing page with calls to action screaming “click me” from every pixel.
Granted both have their place, it is those who can harness this delicate balance and (a) provide information that aids consumers in making informed decisions (b) realize contents editorial value and (c) also leverage a solution or product they can use for benefit is insulated by a broader array of metrics; can enjoy multiple top 10 rankings.
SEO only works if people engage your offer, so getting traffic, or just building links without understanding the value of content is a moot point if it does not produce results. Results in this instance meaning, they find what they are looking for and take action.
It is important to look beyond the short-term effects of partial SEO strategies, and quite honestly, the companies on top of search results are usually the ones who offer the most robust benefit to the end user (Wikipedia is a prime example). This alone should indicate that the more authoritative your website can become in your niche, the less resistance it has to reach any number of outlets for consumers.
This could represent being aggregated through video, social media (like Twitter), news, or commerce based feeds. Creating a robust synergy of relevance is the highest form of SEO and those who are still stuck in the days of just building links, just thinking that meta tags are the be all end all of SEO or that submitting your website to search engines is going to make an impact have got to go back to the drawing board in order to compete with real authority and authoritative sites.
Understanding this, it is important that you view SEO as a holistic process and realize that since each page in your website is unique, they all can contribute to a plethora of metrics (such as ranking for multiple keywords per page, serving as a dual landing page for social media and commerce, etc.).
By combining these metrics to match the expectations of your preferred audience, you can create a successful, robust website capable of withstanding the whims of search engine algorithms. Search engines assess these metrics and determine the highest relevance based on a conventional agreed upon synopsis of criteria exhibited by the sites with the highest traffic and engagement.
If your website is a thought leader, on the vanguard of your industry or niche, then you can set the stage and tone for that engagement; which leads to a very interesting point. You must create a synergistic convergence of informative content and value that engages both search engines and users alike.
For example, if the keyword is competitive you are targeting, write topical articles or blog posts using relevant naming conventions, then link to the landing page that best represents that keyword. This type of internal linking is ethical and helps search engines identify the hierarchy within your website.
For example, if your SEO is only focused on one aspect of the equation, such as just adding content, or just working on the site architecture or just building links without integrating all three aspects in a coherent fashion, your results will be limited and not compare to those who are focusing on all metrics simultaneously.
So, before you spend too much time investing in dated models that only focus on the tip of the iceberg, add quality content based on a theme then use SEO to promote each pages unique contribution through multiple mediums. As a result, the amount of potential visitors that could use your product or service will have a positive impression (your brand statement) to associate whenever the need arises for the type of product or service you promote.
Remember, SEO only works if its done right, but before you send the wrong signals or rank just for rankings sake, make sure you have thought through what is it you really have to offer to both humans and search engines alike.