We “do” SEO – it’s a bit like saying “we do anything and everything”, these days. Everyone knows how to “do SEO”, or at least everyone is trying to sell it. Web designers talk about “in-built SEO”, marketing “professionals” talk about “keywords”, but what exactly should you be doing and how do you separate the wheat from the chaff?
1. Keywords and On-Page:
Keyword Research is VITALLY important, keyword insertion in your copy is not – in fact, it’s barely even an after-thought. There are millions of examples of websites ranking for prominent search terms without their “target keyword” inserted in either their page title, content or anywhere else for that matter. The page title helps, so too will keyword insertion, but it’s far from being the be all and end all.
2. PageRank: We NEED it, Go GET It!
PageRank – it’s a marketing gimmick; this isn’t 1998, and SEO isn’t about finding “the edge”. PageRank is a ranking factor, but it’s one of many, it’s not going to be the sole determining factor behind superior rankings in search. Similarly, your homepage PageRank IS NOT your website PageRank: PageRank is assigned at the page level. Google can be stupid, but it’s not THAT stupid.
3. We Will Build Thousands of Links for £xx:
Uh. Why do people still buy into this? Link building is now and will always be – as long as it remains a ranking factor – about quality. Search Engines aren’t looking for the biggest link profiles, they are looking for the best link profiles. Next time you hire a link building agency, don’t settle for 1,500 duplicated article submissions, go for 10 unique submissions.
4. We Guarantee x position in search:
Do you want to rank on the first page for “Appliance Repair Chelmsford”? If so, then there are probably thousands of link building companies out there who can “guarantee” you that position.
The main problem with guarantees in relation to Search Engine Optimisation is that there are no guarantees; well not unless the particular company you are working with is, well, Google. The vast majority of guaranteed rankings are for on-competitive terms, terms which are incredibly easy to rank for.
5. Endless Documentation Or Anything Else Which Under-Emphasises Link Building:
SEO Agencies love documents: copywriting guidelines, Google Places Optimisation, page title optimisation, Google News Optimisation and so on – it’s almost job justification. However, you are also, typically, paying for consultation you will never use, or need.
When it comes to Search Engine Optimisation, the main point of focus should always be on acquiring links from authoritative sources, backed up by both content development and keyword research. Sure, there are other things you can possibly focus on, but link building is where the biggest gains are to be made.
When it comes to ranking in search, you need to be focussed on what actually works (stating the absolute obvious). Even if you plan to take more of a hands-off approach and outsource SEO to a link building service, it’s important to know what you’re buying into (or in other words, it’s important to be an informed buyer).