SEO is a tricky beast, and it’s only getting trickier. It’s a very strange business – in essence, what you are trying to do is influence a completely autonomous third party. To further complicate things, that third party gets all prickly about being influenced (take a look at what Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, has to say about guest blogging). But when the end game can mean many thousands (and even millions) of dollars in business, it’s an inevitable eventuality.
In a previous article (You Don’t Need an SEO Guy), we pointed out that much of what we do during SEO campaigns simply replicates what should happen to a website over time, but we do it in a accelerated, very focused way (sidenote – the “SEO Guy” article was written way back in 2010, so please use the advice carefully). How does Google feel about SEO companies? Well, for the most part, they understand it’s an inevitable practice. As such, they actually endorse several techniques that make their lives easier when indexing websites. So as long as your SEO expert plays by the ever-changing rules, you should experience good search engine love.
So What Does Google Like?
Google has always preached that the most important thing to have on your site is high quality, relevant fresh content. If the search engines had it their way, sites would be nothing but text a la 1988 (ah, the glory days).
There’s quite a number of ways to add content to a site; one of the most common is exactly what you are reading – a blog article. In fact, as some of you may have already guessed, this article serves a dual purpose:
- Teach interested folks a little about SEO and current practices
- A blatant tactic to increase our website’s search placement for phrases like SEO Columbus Ohio.
Yep, you see what we did there. We added an anchor text link to our SEO page, and used the search phrase we are targeting as the link. Nifty, eh? Now we should also support the Columbus Ohio part, since we really don’t reference our location anywhere else in this article, and that could be a red flag to Google. Did we mention our headquarters is in Dublin, a suburb of Columbus?
Phrase support – done.
Is That All There Is To It?
Oh how I wish. The reality is there are several things going on here:
- ResearchWe didn’t just target that key phrase by accident. It’s one we already rank for (but would like to rank higher) and has a decent amount of traffic.
- Supporting infoWe linked to an article by Matt Cutts and also an article within our site. Both are intended to add credibility to our subject matter.
- Careful with the optimizingWe only mentioned our key phrase once – and even now I’m being careful not to write it out again. In the old days people would aim for a mathematically calculated “keyword density”, and you’d wind up with annoying articles with the target phrase repeated over and over again. The search engines see that for what it is now, and will actually penalize sites for this.
- Optimized imagesWe added an image (the 1988 website screenshot) and added code to “describe” it to the search engines. Depending on your browser, you can see the description when you hover over the image.
Now keep in mind, that’s just a handful of things just to get the article written. The real funnery beings with where we place it. In a perfect world, hundreds of people will read this article, see value in it and decide to share it via Twitter, Google+, Facebook or other social media outlets (you HAVE shared this article, correct? * stare *). Some may even choose to repost this article on their own website (please do so, and thank you).
How does that help? Think of it this way. How does the nightly news select the topics they present every night? They troll various media outlets to see what everyone is talking about. They then select the items they feel will appeal most to their audience and report on them. The search engines work in much the same way – the more people that are talking/sharing an item, the more they take notice. Want to help out a company or person that you like? Share their article and/or comment on it and spread the love.
So Is THAT All There Is To It?
Well, if this article goes viral, it would probably give us one heck of a boost (take a look at what viral content did for Dollar Shave Club). Unfortunately, I doubt that will happen with this particular article. Here’s what we hope to get from this:
- Adds content to our website
- Placement on all ForeFront social media outlets – those result in backlinks to our site
- Hopefully, others will see the value in the article and share it – more backlinks
- We will also submit the article to various websites (mostly webgeek news outlets) – yet still more backlinks
Once we do all that, we start writing another article (or creating an infographic, or a video, or any of a bajillion other things), and rinse-repeat several times a month. Every month. Over and over and over and over.
At least until Google changes the rules again.