Search engine optimisation is a major consideration these days when deciding to take your business, brand or organisation online. Why? Simply stated, optimising a website for search engines helps to ensure that when someone is searching for products and services like yours, that you will come up in the search results. Perhaps as important as building the website itself is making sure that people will see it.
It used to be easy for web designers to get a website ranked highly in a very short period of time by spamming the search engines with keywords built into pages. Google saw this as a problem. They felt that when someone searched for something, not only did they want results relevant to their queries, but they also wanted those results to be high quality results. This wasn’t the case if a designer could get a site to the top of a search engine’s results just by spamming keywords. So Google changed their algorithms.
Google now requires a combination of two elements for a website to rank highly on their search engine; they require relevance and reputation. Both speak to quality but in different ways.
Relevance can be thought of as what is on the site (ie. content), and how well it is built. How relevant is it to the topics and themes in the site and its individual pages? This is where the web designer, or SEO specialist steps in to optimise the content and structure of the page and ultimately the whole site, so that when the “Googlebots” come around to index the website, they can compare the content of the pages with their built-in keywords and titles, thus determining whether the site is really about what it says it’s about.
In our last post, we spoke about the importance of blogging. We came to this conclusion:
Always remember: all of the tricks and workarounds that ‘specialists’ use are eventually obsolesced as Google improves and tweaks its algorithms. A regular schedule of publishing fresh, relevant, quality content will never steer you wrong and in the long run, will save you a lot of headaches and possibly even a lot of money.
Google is not only looking for content relevant to the search terms, but they are also looking for that content to be fresh, and of high quality.
Relevance remains the purview of web designers who structure a website around the keywords that describe the website. Because it is built into each page, it is often referred to as on-page SEO.
Reputation is the part of the equation that web designers cannot build into a website. And this is one of the reasons why spamming keywords on a page doesn’t work any more. Google looks at the reputation of the website to determine the quality of it’s content. I’m pretty sure that they can’t actually read the content yet to judge its quality, but they do look at how many people are linking to your site to read the content (this is what a backlink is; people linking back to your website and its content) Google feels that your reputation can be determined by how many websites and individuals rely on you for information. If there are a lot of links pointing to your content, you must have a good reputation.
A reputation has to be earned. It can only be acquired over time by means of a focused web marketing plan. A sound web marketing plan will include social media, publishing a blog, and getting those all important backlinks. More often than not, this is the domain of an SEO specialist, or better yet, a marketing specialist.
So how does relevance and reputation work in combination? Well, think of the final Google ranking for your site being determined by a simple equation:
Relevance x Reputation = Search Engine Rankings
Because we are multiplying, you need significant scores in both relevance and reputation to score highly; 35,000 x 1 is still only 35,000!
Do I need a specialist?
I’m not going to lie, an SEO specialist can certainly make your climb through search engine rankings much easier and quicker (they do most of the work), but a specialist costs money- sometime a lot of money- and with some dedication, consistency, and patience, you can do it yourself.
Your site needs fresh, quality content published consistently; this can be accomplished through your blog. If your content is informational, useful, or entertaining, people will notice and return to read more. You can begin to build a following and that all-important reputation.
Slow and steady wins the race but by leveraging social media, you can get your message out to more people, more quickly. Again, social media requires quality content published consistently.
For all of you DIY marketing folk out there, Managing blog posts and several posts/week on different social media can get away from you very quickly. I would suggest a publishing calendar to help you stay organised, on schedule, and consistent. There are many different templates on the internet which you can download and modify to your purposes. Just Google editorial calendar and take your pick.
And remember, as Red Green reminds us: I’m pulling for you, we’re all in this together.