SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is one of those topics that remains an enigma to most people, even the experts who provide the services, although they’ll never admit this. Put simply, SEO is the art/science of making sure that your website has the rights keywords in it to attract relevant customers and your target market. When Google was still new and SEO first became a ‘thing’, most website owners thought that simply stuffing your website with as many keywords as often as possible was enough. And it was for a while. But the web has grown up since then and so has Google. Now it’s not so simple anymore. We take a look at the SEO industry and help you understand this simple but complex industry.
While we tend to credit Google with the advent of SEO, this would be unfair to the other search engines that came before it. While Google is by far the largest search engine on the web and one of the largest companies in the world these days, they were not the first. In fact, Yahoo, Alta Vista, Infoseek and Lycos all predated Google and were up and running by 1994 already. Yes, the internet was around before most millennials, although they find it hard to believe they didn’t invent the internet.
In 1996, a certain Larry Page and Sergey Brin began building their own search engine. First called, BackRub, even these internet legends had no idea what they had started. By 1997, google.com was registered and the rest, as they say, is history. Microsoft came late to the game, nothing new there, and launched Bing in June 2009. It is still around, but if it wasn’t packaged together with so many apps that Microsoft offers, no one would use it.
As search engines started to dominate the way everyone searched for information, so the advent of SEO was started. Sure, you could find plenty of information on almost any topic under the sun, but the quality of that information was the problem. So the keyword stuffers were attracting people in numbers but the quality of their information was often severely lacking. Google was quickly on to this and set out to try and ensure as much as they could that the results that appeared first on your search results pages, were as close to the best info you could find as possible. Not an easy task. But Google doesn’t do easy. They slowly but surely started changing their search algorithms, those complicated equations that determine which sites appear first in searches. The problem is that the SEO gurus were as quick onto the mark as Google was, finding quick fixes to the search engine behemoth’s attempts at making it difficult to ‘work the system’.
At this stage, Messrs Page and Brin started their PageRank technology that helped Google rank search results based on quality and not keywords alone. This was the start of SEO as we know it and has changed many times up to this day, but never all that dramatically, contrary to what the search gurus tell us every day.
Today, Google is still changing their algorithms on a regular basis, and naming them by cute names; from Panda to Penguin and everything in between. All geared to producing the best results for good quality content without annoying their bread-and-butter advertisers, those who pay for results as opposed to achieving organic success.
Today SEO is a multibillion-dollar industry with companies still willing to pay big money to ensure their websites appear on page one of Google's SERPS (Search Results Pages). Google, of course, is now a more sophisticated monster, with “Local SEO” becoming an increasingly popular mechanism for smaller companies, or branches of larger ones, to attract relevant searchers in their immediate area.
Mobile search is also starting to dominate the search criteria with Google regarding those ‘mobile friendly’ sites with better results than those sites that are not. Voice search is nowadays a category all on its own and digital companies are making use of new technologies like heat maps to determine how and where its best to place their content.
While all this might be complicated to the everyday user, what it essentially boils down to is making sure your site contains well-written content that is easy to read, makes sense and contains the necessary keywords. Lay it all out properly and test as often as you can and the results will follow. Of course, it also helps to invest in Google AdWords paid advertising to complement your organic ranking.
Remember, no one reads everything on your site but instead scan headlines and highlighted words to find what they're looking for. This means just bolding the right words and placing relevant links on your site can have a profound influence on the searchability of your site.
Outsourcing your entire SEO service is still the most effective way of achieving the best results. This white label seo service will work more effectively and cheaper in the long run than hiring an in-house team. If you use the right digital marketing company with a proven track record, they can ensure the success of your site's searchability, increasing traffic to your site and ultimately your bottom line.
These white label service providers will not only ensure that your site has quality content but will manage your links, and track the success of your content marketing, often providing you with an easy to use dashboard so you can easily track your site’s progress.
While we could carry on for pages explaining the benefits of SEO and the advantages of using digital experts, this would mean this blog is too long and you might have moved on already. Needless to say, SEO is still alive and well, and while you may find it difficult to keep up with Google's ever-changing algorithms.