If you run a website or are on an email list that includes people who do, you’ve probably received email messages from Search Engine Optimization specialists promising better ranking for your sites on Google, Yahoo, and Bing if you use their service. Good SEO is an essential part of an online business marketing plan and you should be diligent about which partners you chose to work with when developing your strategy.
Be wary of specialists that make extravagant claims with quick returns. While SEO is a legitimate business, there are many specialists that look for and exploit loopholes in how search engines work to bring in large amounts of traffic in a very short period of time. While you might see a huge influx in traffic in the short run, the search engine algorithms end up getting programmed to penalize or ignore sites that seize exploits when the search engine gets updated. Success via exploit and dishonest content can come back to haunt your site and turn a short-term gain into a long-term loss. Legitimately designing content that plays to how search engines work can help boost your site’s search result rankings; however, search engines are constantly being updated to value content quality over search engine viability. Playing to search engine trends is a type of marketing strategy that’s aiming at a moving target and constantly requires updating content.
Aside from the technical aspects of making your site easy for web crawlers to interpret, the trick is to winning the long haul in SEO is provide compelling, original content on your site. If you’re running a business you probably want to be in for the long-haul. Google says providing high-quality content the single most important thing you can do for better site SEO. This is the one SEO trend you should follow since it will always work no matter how search engines change prioritization decisions. The quality content rule especially applies to your home page. Poorly written and inadequately researched blogs will not perform well in search result rankings. However, hiring professional writers to generate well-composed original content for your site will return dividends in SEO traffic. It’s also important to keep in mind that the content needs to appeal to your target audience and be something they want to read. For example, an excellent written and researched article about watching paint dry as a leisure activity doesn’t appeal to a large audience and no amount of SEO work is going to bring in traffic.
Another essential part to doing well in SEO over time is to create original content and avoid duplicating or copying content from other sites. According to SEO specialist MOZ, duplicate content creates a swarm of problems for search engines because they can’t tell which versions to include and exclude from the indexes. So if your site is trying to gain ground and is duplicating content from other sites with a better reputation, the search engines are likely going to ignore your content outright.
Dan S is a former news journalist turned web developer and freelance writer. He has a penchant for all things tech and believes the person using the machine is the most important element.