Optimizing your website for search engines requires a mix of content and credibility on the front end and technical upkeep on the back end. The goal of each search engine is to serve up the most relevant results to a user query, and they can only do that if they can easily crawl websites.
We are the first to admit that search engine optimization (SEO) can be time consuming when you are following best practices, which is why companies tend to outsource this work. The problem is, there are many SEO companies out there charging high fees, guaranteeing results that are out of their control, and providing limited reporting back to their clients.
Avoid getting scammed by using this quick SEO guide to help you assess your current situation and set the right course for future improvements. A true money saver!
How Google Works
A quick refresher for those just starting to dig into SEO on how Google works.
- Crawls Websites – Google Bots scan through as many web pages as they can. Text is easier to read for them than images.
- Indexes Content – Google Bots read what they can to understand what each webpage is about, and then indexes pages.
- Shows and Ranks Pages – For each search, Google selects the best answer from its index and ranks it on a search page.
All search engines work in a similar manner, but we recommend following Google best practices because they set the standard for the industry. See all of Google’s search engine advice for businesses, developers, and SEO professionals at www.google.com/webmaster.
White Hat Vs Black Hat SEO Strategies
The internet has no shortage of people trying to get a higher search engine ranking by bending the rules or scamming the system. Google algorithms are constantly developing ways to find and stop this because they threaten Google’s reputation as the No. 1 search engine worldwide.
|White Hat SEO Strategies (Best Practice)
· Fresh content relevant to your business and target audience
· Natural keyword density
· Relevant links and references
· Optimized images and videos
|Black Hat SEO Strategies (Worst Practice)
· Duplicate content
· Keyword stuffing (unnatural overuse)
· Links from or to non-relevant websites
· Invisible content (seen by a Bot but not by a user)
If you hire a company who’s only skillset is SEO, proceed with caution. Ask them to educate you about all the changes they want to make to your website to improve your ranking. If Google flags your site or questions its credibility, your company will be negatively impacted, not the company you hired. See a complete list of penalties in this Search Engine Journal article.
Gravity Marketing’s Approach
One of Gravity’s philosophies is that every company has inherent value. You need to give it away in bits and pieces for free to attract prospects online and build community around your brand. With this in mind, we can sum up our SEO approach in three core components:
- Content – Your website should answer the questions your customers are asking – both before they are aware of your solution and after. Be specific about the content you provide – focus pages and articles on different audiences, build variations of content to appeal to different industries or buyer personas, and constantly refresh the conversation. Each website should have a healthy balance of text, images, and video to appeal to the different ways people like to consume content.
- Credibility – The more credible Google considers your website, the higher it ranks in the search engine results. Google Bots are looking for volume and depth of content and links to your site from other credible websites, including review sites, listing sites, media, and social media.
- Technical – Google Bots also look for how your site functions. They want a fast load speed, mobile-friendly design (responsive), a searchable sitemap, and clean code structure. Gravity does additional technical work through website Content Management Systems (CMSs) to add information that helps Google more easily recognize and index website pages, such as adding meta descriptions, alt text on images, designated keywords or keyword phrases, and social media images and excerpts.
Off Your Plate, Not Off Your Mind
A good business practice is to outsource skillsets you do not have readily available in-house. It saves time, improves effectiveness, and helps you concentrate your business on what you do best. But just because you hire an expert doesn’t mean you should lose control of the strategy or execution.
We recommend hiring SEO specialists by using common sense and cautious optimism. Beware of companies offering crazy promises, over-emphasizing the technical aspects of SEO, touting strategies that are not based on content, and stressing quantity over quality. The company you choose to hire should be a communicative partner, not a distant supplier that checks in every once in a while. You should know what they are doing and be at the table actively providing input.
If you are interested in talking to Gravity Marketing about SEO, digital marketing, or our Virtual Marketing Officer service, reach out today to set up a call.