How to Reduce your SEO Anxiety - in a few easy steps.
SEO or not to SEO?
Search Engine Optimization, SEO, is a major cause of anxiety from small business website owners. My clients and their friends and friends of friends all ask me this question. Should I concern myself with SEO? My typical response is. "Forget about search engine robots and Artificial Intelligence, (AI) just create quality, original content for humans then present it on a very fast mobile-friendly website in a pleasing, user-friendly format for mobile users. Google will find it and if it's really good authority websites may even link to it.
The Simple Answer is not Enough
About half the people receiving the simple answer aren't satisfied and want more so I advise them about the 200 ranking factors that Google uses to determine search engine results, SERP. This has the effect of increasing their anxiety as well as my own so we retreat back to basics.
Its all about the User, not Google or your website.
It is about search results that provide a positive user experience. In some cases it's a one-shot answer to their question without even suggesting a website. Sometimes it is a Youtube video link, or a group of videos and a list of webpages, some of which are paid ads. Google has 20 different search result formats, with the choice of format influenced by the search phrase, the user's device, the method of entry, voice or text, and the content in Google's database. In other words, you, as the website owner, have almost no influence in the selection. All SERPs have three gross factors in common.
- Quality content on a fast well presented website.
- The historical search behavior of the user.
- What other websites and social media posts think of your website by linking to it.
The Quality of your Website.
Original, well written, in-depth content about the subject posed in the user's search query. To put it simply, does your content match the search terms the user employed? The words don't have to present in your content, just semantically similar. Long content seems to work better than short content. Fresh, timely content is given more credence than the old stuff. Update your content often. Utilize Schema code, giving the robots an additional understanding of your content. Your site must be mobile friendly because over 60% of your visitors will be using smartphones so it must load quickly because mobile users have no patience. A Google study states that 53% of your users will leave if your page takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Historical Search Behavior of the User
Unfortunately, you have no control of this. For example, two users both searching on the term "Mustang," one user has a history of visiting equestrian websites (this is known to Google) the other user has a history of visiting automotive websites. Google will deliver a completely different set of search results to these users for the same search term "Mustang". You have probably guessed it. The Equestrian enthusiast will see results about wild horses while the automotive enthusiast will receive results about Ford Mustang automobiles.
Backlinks, what other websites think of your website.
If you have high quality, original website content that website managers and social media users want to share with others, they will link to your website. There is very little you can do to hurry this process along. Be very careful if you try. A bunch of links from low quality, link farm, websites will hurt your rankings. If you control other websites in the same subject area, you should link between.
- Create quality, original content.
- Use a format and style that is mobile friendly.
- Use Schema code
- Make sure your website loads fast, consider using AMP.
- Don't solicit links from poor quality websites.
If you want some help on any of this (my rates are reasonable), drop me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org