Every SEO ‘expert’ seems to have his own opinion about how SEO works. As a new site owner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the information that can be found online, especially as a lot of the ‘tips’ and ‘theories’ that people share are in direct conflict with what someone else is swearing by on another page.
I can say with confidence that this article is ‘junk-free’. Think if it as a distillation of what simply works when it comes to SEO.
This is not a ‘Step-by-Step’ kind of article. It’s meant to be a guide to new site owners and a reminder to “old” ones about what SEO is really about.
Stick to It
SEO is not a strategy that you can use to generate instant traffic to your web pages. No matter how many tweaks you make (on-page or off-page), you need to keep in mind that SEO takes time.
It’s not an investment that you can make to reap the benefits in a month. Sometimes the returns come after a year or two. That may be too much for some of you, and if it is, you may want to try something other than SEO.
However, keep in mind that organic search traffic is one of the highest quality traffic you can get, so if you are a serious business that’s here to stay, SEO is very likely something you would want to invest in. It definitely requires patience and consistency though.
Forget About the Search Engines
To stay in business, a search engine has to give their users the results they want to see. If it starts displaying low quality results, people will stop using it and move to another search engine. Consequently, people will stop using their paid ads as their audience will be smaller. It’s a lose-lose situation.
The search engines are here to give their users a quality experience.
Sure, there are some loopholes that can be exploited to get unworthy pages to rank, but they are getting patched after each and every update (some of the big updates are public, but most of them aren’t).
This is when issues arise: When site owners and SEO ‘specialists’ try to game the system; when they try to exploit the loopholes. It works for a while, and then “suddenly”, they lose their rankings. If you hang out on popular Internet marketing forums, you must have come across people complaining about this.
However, if you create a website for the people, each update will just push your webpages up the SERPs.
Here are a few things that you can do to provide a quality user experience to your visitors:
- Provide quality content (useful or entertaining)
- Strengthen your internal linking structure
- Have an easy-to-navigate layout
- Make your pages ‘eye-friendly’ (pick a black font on a white background over a yellow font on an orange background any day!)
It’s Not a Workout Program
You cannot say, “Hey, I’ll build links 4 times a week for 12 weeks…I should be good to go after that!”
No one knows how many links you need, or for how long you need to build those links to achieve your desired rankings. NO ONE.
SEO is an ongoing process. Let’s say you do get page 1 rankings for a keyword; chances are you won’t stay there if you stop the link building. Why? Because there are probably hundreds (or thousands?) of competitors SEOing their pages in the quest to get to the top. Some of them will land up at #1; others at #3 and #5. If you are currently hovering at #10, this means that you will be pushed to page 2.
Think of taking up SEO as a ‘mini-wedding’ or a long-term commitment. If you are not ready for that, don’t even step in it, as you’ll end up with a negative ROI.
Don’t Fall for the Hype
Do not listen to anyone who claims to be able to bring you rankings for any term. Do you really believe that someone can displace Wikipedia from #1 for the keyword ‘Wikipedia’? Only a fraud would promise that, right?
There is no “secret”. It all lies in making sure you have a fast page load time, good content, simple navigation, and good links pointing to you mixed with some social signals. Of course, it’s up to you to decide if you want to do all of that yourself, or if you want to hire a real expert to take care of that for you, but don’t hire that guy who promises the impossible!