What's the Value of SEO?

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Key the phrase 'SEO' into Google and it comes back with 514million results, Topsy tells me there are 814k tweets containing the phrase in the last 30 days (1.3k in the last hour)… So it’s a huge subject. It’s self-sustaining and self-perpetuating. It’s a beast that’s going to roll and roll.

Search Engine Optimisation is Big! 


SEO Experts with the right techniques?

There is an industry that works with it and there are the search engines that keep everyone who thinks they know SEO on the proverbial hop. Companies pay fortunes to get onto page 1 of Google and Bing/Yahoo and we all know that the searcher rarely ventures onto page 2 even though there is that nagging feeling that the hidden gem lurking on page 7 might be just what they are looking for…

There are pages and pages written by experts about how to get on page 1, all comparing the techniques you need to employ to stand out and get to the top... The purveyors of SEO in London amount to 16.2million results in Google… These are the companies and individuals who claim to be the ‘experts’, all clamouring to get you onto page 1. The irony of it makes me smile. (By the way – we’re part of that ;-))

And it’s still a mystery… sort of.


I’ll return to keying ‘SEO’ into Google. The page lists 13 results of which the first three are paid adverts and there are eight adverts on the right hand side of the screen – ok they’ve been paid for too, Google have to make money after all. That leaves ten organic hits – they've got there naturally. WOW! But I’m puzzled... The forth organic entry is an article from a UK national newspaper about 'SEO being dead – long live Social Media optimisation'. The fifth result was a site highlighting SEO practitioners close to where I live. How are they there, what’s the pattern? Is it SEO or is more going on I wonder? There is obviously more too it.. Google rank news items higher I am led to believe and will also know where I am from my IP address and push local links accordingly. These are all part of the mix.

What is SEO? There are differing definitions for 'Search Engine Optimisation'..


The consensus appears to be that SEO is: The process of getting traffic from the "free," "organic", "editorial" or "natural" listings on search engines.

Wiki says “As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimising a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.” This sums up the subject but it is now a little bit long in the tooth.

 

SEO history...


It all started with searches by humans – now it’s done by automated spiders which looks at images, video, social media etc.. The change is continual, "A study of search engine results pages (sample size: 10k) revealed only 15% had no news, no local, no video, no image, no knowledge graph, no paid inclusion, no authorship."(Source: @dr_pete:Beyond 10 Blue Links). If you have none of these the implication is a low ranking.

 

SEO – a new way forward


It's all changed and Michael Mothner thinks most of us are three or four years behind the times. He contends that now the following are myths… that metatag descriptions help your rankings, the more inbound links the better, that pagerank still matters, that Google prefers keyword-rich domains, that websites must be 'submitted' to Search Engines and that good SEO is basically about trickery. Plenty say the opposite.

Is SEO worth it? Yes!


If you want to be found you have to be good at SEO – without a shadow of a doubt, and you have to bear in mind the changes that take place continually which means you have to keep your finger on the pulse. Some call it an art form but Michael Mothner says “Good SEO is about creating a relevant, informative website, with unique content and great user experience, and encouraging the sharing and distribution of great content to drive organic publicity and links back to your site. In the end, this is exactly what Google explicitly wants to reward with high rankings--so it is not about "tricking" the search engines.”

You can find out about how your SEO is.. Try SEOQuake or SEO Diagnostic. They differ in their results because their underlying principles differ.

Finally, SEO complements PPC.. PPC is where advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market. So what’s best? See SEO vs PPC next week.

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