‘Tis the Season for SEO Experts
December 26, 2013
I don't know if it is a seasonal thing, or that I'm just not a good person, but I seem to be inundated with emails and phone calls from so called SEO experts … many of which don't seem to be very expert.
Here is what a recent email told me.
1. Your website is not ranking top in Google organic search for many competitive keywords.
2. Your website profile needs to have regular update in major Social Media sites.
3. Your site has less number of Google & Yahoo back links, this can be improved further.
Well let's be clear being listed for the right things on Google and the other search engines is important. And that ideally means getting on Page One .. and in the top three slots.
Why the top three slots? Simple.
We all know that few people search on page two or three, but did you know that few people even bother to scroll down the page and that if you are "below the fold" you are much less likely to be found. The reality is that if the first site listed gives us what we want we go no further. That means that the second position gets far few clicks than the first. And the third gets even fewer clicks .. and so it goes on. The site at the bottom of page one gets very few clicks.
Having said that, it is still worth getting on page one or even page two as it tells you that with a bit of work you can achieve the top slots.
But if you believe what is written in the email I was sent .. see 1 above .. I don't rank for many competitive keywords.
There are a few things you need to know if you get an email that says this. Firstly they don't know what keywords you want to rank for. Second, they probably haven't even looked at your site, and third ,you don't need to rank for huge numbers of keywords and certainly not the most competitive ones.
Yes it would be great if you did rank for loads of keywords, especially if you dominate the most competitive ones. But you can build a good business by selecting a handful of keyword phrases that really work for you.
One SEO expert phoned me the other day and when I asked him what keyword he thought I should rank for answered "marketing consultant". What he didn't seem to realise is that to get on page one for this extremely competitive keyword phrase I needed to beat 90 million other webpages.
Whereas to get on page one for the keyword phrase in the image at the top of the page I only had to beat 3 million other web pages .. and that is hard enough.
Generic or Specific Keywords? Buying or Research Phrases
The thing is, I think it is bettter to rank for something specific rather than something generic .. and much easier. Not only that but the phrase I selected to rank for is a "buying" phrase rather than a "research phrase". Ask yourself, is it better to be found when someone is doing general research or when they are ready to buy? Both would be good but, for me, with limited resources, I'll settle for buying rather than stretch myself too thinly and fail on both.
One interesting tactic I've seen SEO experts do is to search for a keyword on their PC or laptop and demonstrate how it is in postion one because of their work. This is black magic and doesn't need you to do any SEO at all. If you appear anywhere in the search results, (and you will almost certainly appear somewhere .. even if page 897) and you and click on the link .. and do this several times… you can train Google to put this page at the top of the search results every time.
The results above weren't found like this. I used a proxy server so that Google couldn't recognise me and hence gave an unbiased result. Interestingly I didn't get just one of my sites on page one in the second example .. we have both position one and two for two different sites that I own.
Is Social Media Essential for SEO Rankings?
And that shatters the second claim the email claimed. You have to regularly get your site on social media sites. The second site in image two (click on the image to enlarge it) is a site on it's last legs. It is very old, hasn't had an update in more than a year and doesn't regularly feature on social media .. I don't ever recall posting a link from it to social media.
In fact I had been thinking about pulling this site down as I'm quite ashamed of it .. but it is still pulling in a good bit of valuable traffic each month.
Are Backlinks Essential for SEO Rankings?
And this site sort of breaks the third myth stated above. The one that says you need lots of backlinks. This site has few backlinks but is still on page one of Google.
The thing is that the content on this site is ideal for my niche market. It is exactly what they are looking for and, despite there being no new content and few links, it is still working. Backlinks help a lot but aren't always essential.
Over the next few months I'll probably establish a new site, using better technology, to target these keywords. I'll do all the other things I need to improve the SEO and in time might knock myself off the top spot I currently enjoy. The only reason for this is because my present site uses old website technology and is falling over. It isn't because a smart SEO saleman thinks he knows my business better than I do.
Having said all that I do not dismiss the idea of keywords, backlinks and updates via social media. They are importantt; but in 99% of cases you can achieve what is needed as well as any so called expert.
Content, Content, Content …. plus some fairy dust.
The thing that is really important is that you have good content that can be promoted through social media and that other people want to link to. Once you have good content you can add the backlinks, social media and other fairy dust. But without good content not even fairy dust wil help.
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