All business owners and entrepreneurs have the same goal: That is to be found on page #1 of Google Search Engine. That single objective requires most conventional businesses to travel along the same path. As a Creative Director based in the Chicago area, I have worked with countless clients over the years, these clients span countless industries. We work for old companies and start-ups, many of these clients even within the same industry, many of who are often even competitors.
In any case, to become relevant in any industry or niche, the path these business owners must travel today, is not like the days of old. They are not buying advertisements in the yellow pages or in newspapers (do either of those even still exist). Client's seeking success in today's modern world of business are all looking to conquer search engines.
Therefore, you can imagine the "ground day" conversations that web design and SEO specialists and firms have over and over again when talking to clients who all have the same goal. They all want to be found on page 1 of search engines like Google, Yahoo & Bing! Though this article often refers to Google Search more than Yahoo or Bing, is because (as of the date of this article 12/30/20) Alexa's top website list holds Google as the number #1 site on the planet. Yahoo (owned by Amazon) is listed at the 12th top site, with Bing (owned by Microsoft) being listed 36th top website on the world wide web. Therefore, I view Google as the premiere search engine. This does not mean that I discount Yahoo Search or Alexa Analytics. I just strive to conquer the greater market.
The Path to Conquering SEO
With all of your competitors seeking the same objective. What will you do to set your business or product apart from the rest of the crowd? Along the path to achieve your desires, you will come across SEO gurus and firms who will sell you pipe dreams. Stay away from those guys. The fact is, nobody can promise you page one status on search engine result pages (SERP's). Google even states in their guidelines that nobody can guarantee page one results on SERP's. This is because they know their own algorithms and rules are constantly changing, or better to say "evolving". Their rules change because their users behaviors change. Their rules evolve because Google and other search engines have goals themselves. Aside from Google Search being the planet's largest ad agency, their "search engine" is tool or frame to deliver "advertisements" and then ...quality "organic" search engine results. The "ads" they control, and for the "Organic" results, their goal is to provide quality search engine results to their consumers, who are "the searchers". Click here to read: "How Google delivers reliable information in Search" by Google.
With the rules constantly changing, how do you hit a moving target?
The answer is tricky, that is if you ask a trickster.
Some business owners fall victim to hiring SEO clowns that may actually hurt their standings by implementing black hat techniques. This can lead to having your website BLACKLISTED by Google. Google themselves will even warn you against hiring the wrong people. Bad SEO tactics are known as "BLACK HAT SEO". Good SEO tactics that are inline with Google Guidelines are known as "WHITE HAT SEO". When I think of "BLACK HAT SEO" I think of the character Barnaby from Disney's Babe's in Toy Land.
(You are) The answer to conquering SEO
As an SEO Coach I must tell you the answer to SEO is in you! It is time to roll up your sleeves and learn the nuts and bolts of what it takes to conquer SEO in todays modern world of Search Engines. I know this may sound scary to a busy business owner or entrepreneur, but if you wish to become, or remain a success in your industry or niche, then you must realize that tools are there for you to learn about SEO. I am not saying that you must become your own SEO slave. I am saying become an informed "website owner". Once you fully understand and embrace a the nuts and bolts of a "Total SEO Strategy". You can then delegate certain duties (like content creation and social media activity) to a staff member or subcontractor. You may find you can manage the workload internally, or you may realize the true cost of hiring a knowledgable SEO professional.
A Great SEO Coach Shows You the Ropes!
I could never sum up a "Total SEO Strategy" in one article. Nor will I pretend to be the all knowing SEO genius on some soap box preaching the gospel of Google. What I will do, is share the same resources that I use to research to become a better student of Google and I will also share some of my strategies that I implement to become a better player in the game. Here is one simple secret: don't take it from me, listen to what Google has to stay about operating within their Guidelines. Did you know that Google publishes guidelines on how to best satisfy their own criteria for being indexed in their search engine database? For example check out this webpage published by Google titled "Do I need SEO". As a good SEO Coach and Web Designer, I do not pretend to be the great and powerful OZ behind the curtain. We teach our clients to become GREAT content managers and informed website owners, so that they can hold the keys to their own success. In that regard, I implore to you to view this video published by Google which is relative to the subject of this article. In fact, watching this video actually inspired me to author this article.
**VIDEO BY GOOGLE**
I will now bombard you with a few checklists and resources of my own, so that you may realize how to become a better student on the path to conquering SEO.
The Nuts & Bolts of Conquering SEO
1. Your website is home base: What is a man without a home? The answer is Nothing. Your own website is the number one, most important denominator when it comes to the success of your business or product. Your websites content, it's health, it's traffic are all number one before any social media profile or account. Below is a quick website check list to make sure your home base is in order.
- Review of your website content and overall structure: Is it mobile device friendly? Is it easy to navigate.
- Implement a Content Development Plan: Google values depth of content. If you do not have fresh and intelligently titled articles being released on a somewhat regular basis. Google will find your website less relevant than a website that is brimming with new content that is visited frequently by unique visitors.
2. A "Total SEO Strategy": There is no silver bullet to conquering search engines. Even Google recommends "Management of (multiple) online business development campaigns". This requires keyword research and proper SEO training. Just like the days of old, like the old "Mad Men" advertisers.... you must gain expertise in your specific market and geography and by being everywhere at the same time!
That being said, (follow me through this long sentence please) since the devaluation of back-linking by Google (which is a good example of Google evolving when they realized back-linking was being abused by directories charging for visibility) in my experience I have observed a direct correlation with what I describe as positive social signals, resulting in better placement on SERP's. This means the more that people find your content by way of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked-In) the more valuable Google finds you. This is because you can check all the boxes, you can achieve unique visitors, you can achieve traffic that is geographically nearby, you can achieve social referrals as tracked in Google Analytics.
To satisfy that hungry social media beast, this requires being active on various social media platforms and targeted groups or lists relevant to your specific markets and geographies. Again you should do this personally so that when the time comes to hire someone or delegate these duties, you know how to train them and you will be wise enough to enough the tasks are completed.
In closing, think of your website as a living breathing thing, let us call it your pet. SEO is like a "food" for pet. You don't feed your pet once and for all, you must feed it everyday (or at least every week or month).
I realize this article was long. Though I hope you found it useful. If you are an owner of a website, I am hoping you noted some actions to take, think of it as SEO homework. I also realize that readers of this article possess varying degrees of technical abilities. If you must hire a professional Search Engine Optimizer I suggest that you first review Google's recommendations on selecting an SEO.
I myself, and my staff here at AdverGroup Web Design can also assist you with learning how to optimize your website for search engine success. We offer a free SEO audit of your website and search engine visibility. This audit will help us take inventory of your digital assets (content) and website software. After reviewing your website. we will provide a report documenting our findings and a peak into some recommendations. You can then decide if you wish to hire us to assist with optimizing your website and business for success.
Contact us today to discuss the specifics regarding your company services, products and website objectives.