Arrrggghhhh SEO Again ?
Let's face it.. the term SEO can make you go bonkers. Everywhere you turn, that "word" gets tossed around like a piece of loose leaf paper tumbling around on a windy day. Going left, going right, it's up and it's down and you never know where it's gonna land next. So if SEO makes you sick, who can blame you. It's akin to a moving target that's very hard to get a hold of. In spite of the challenge that is SEO, what can't be ignored is the obvious payoff.. traffic and revenue to follow. Oh happy days, happy days !
No matter where you turn, there's a new agency or company sprouting up to jump on the optimization bandwagon claiming that they can help you with their services. However, who knows what bill of goods they are selling you. Are they still selling services that are pre Penguin or Hummingbird ? What kind of link building strategies are they utilizing ? Are their methods safe for your website and your goals online ? Heck.. are they even optimized themselves ? Do they know what SEO is today ? Do you... ?
Does It Really Matter ?
As ridiculous as this is.. there are people who write about such topics online that speak to the notion that search engine optimization is dead and others that make high claims that it doesn't matter anymore. Hmmmm.. well you can believe what you want, but from my perspective it couldn't be further from the truth.
The reality is that it's better to have a percentage of 3 billion searches performed per day then no percentage of it at all. Regardless of what your feelings are on the subject of SEO, this is the game that we all must play if we want a piece of the proverbial traffic pie. Even if the way you play the game has changed, I assure you that search engine optimization still matters.
Just think about your own searching habits. Do you really care about the results on page 2, page 3 and seriously.. does anyway even know what's on page 4 or beyond for any given keyword. The answer is "no". In fact, chances are if you're searching for something online, you're likely not going to look past the first 3 to 5 results on the "first" page anyway. So here's where you're probably taking a moment to ponder.. is that really what I do ? Chances are.. it really is what you do.
Ingredients That Matter
When I say, ignore the naysayers.. the people that spew such nonsense such as stop wasting your time on SEO, I'm in turn leading you in a direction that will lead to the rainbow.. not the lifeless rock. With that said, lets turn our focus to some things that matter.
(1) Relevance and optimization are seamlessly connected at the hip. Without relevancy, optimizing is a waste of time. If you haven't made this a priority for your blog or your website, then you need to start now.
I realize it should go without saying, but lets just assume that there are those that didn't know and may be able to benefit from reading this section of the post. Besides, I think Google is a search engine that focuses on relevancy and if it's a priority to them, it probably should be one for you too.
(2) The META debate.. If you've been involved in search engine optimization for literally any amount of time, you've probably been scratching your head with respect to meta tags, titles and descriptions. Instead of rehashing every other living word online about the subject, here's my answer.. DO IT ANYWAY. Don't do anything unwise like stuffing your meta's with keywords, but use them strategically to improve your click through rate.
(3) To be Relative or Not To Be.. If you're not familiar with "rel" tags.. get familiar with them. While there are more, here are a few to highlight:
rel=author (provides author credit and tags to your posts)
rel=canonical (used when you're trying to avoid duplicate content issues)
rel=alternative (pertains to websites with multiple languages).. useful for those engaged in international SEO
Each website has Pagerank (PR) associated with them. Rel tags have different functions and can help you manage the flow of PR across your website and more. Sometimes you want to give link credit back to a website and other times you don't. If you have a new website without any PR, paying attention to this may not matter as much as compared to a website that has a lot more pagerank to work with.
(4) Better learn keyword research.. this is one area that can sink you pretty quickly if you get it wrong out of the gate. Writing content that targets an empty field is a waste of your time and effort so just don't do it. I've blogged on the importance of doing this correctly so don't adopt the mindset that it's not really a big deal because truth be told, you will find out sooner than later just how important it really is.
(5) Links, links, links.. need I say more. You need them.. there's no way around it. However, I always build with this thought in mind that trumps everything.. Quality matters more than quantity.
I will hands down go after one or two links from trusted sources that are related to my niche than to consider hundreds of links from sources that are not niche related or aren't trusted no matter how easy it is to get those links.
My reputation and my brand is a big deal and it's very important to me. Your brand and your name should be just as important to you too. I know that it's a slow method of doing things, but here's the second thought in mind that drives what I do.. Sometimes you have to go slow to go fast.
Certainly there are more ingredients to the ocean that is SEO, but these are some of the most important ones to consider. Incorporate some of these things as you build your blog and your brand. Whether you're a new website or an established one, playing the game that is search engine optimization may change but the reason behind why it's here isn't going to.
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