When I first entered the digital marketing arena almost a decade ago, SEO was the buzzword of the time.
It was a relatively simple concept to grasp and quite simple [yet labour intensive] tactic to deploy. Best of all, there was no need to invest in monthly digital advertising!
Businesses could create a website in a day and use what are known as ‘blackhat’ marketers to dominate the front page of Google’s search results to generate customers on autopilot.
The tactic these blackhat marketers used was rather simple – build as many links as you could back to the website you were trying to rank.
At the time Google’s algorithm treated these backlinks as votes and the more votes you had, the more credible you were and Google would reward you with higher rankings in its results.
I’ve known several people who have turned over millions of pounds and dollars simply playing the blackhat SEO game.
Several fraudsters selling magic potions and pills [you can imagine the sorts] had used Google’s platform to con hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people into buying unregulated crap.
Come 2011, when Google thought enough is enough, it’s time to de-list all of these low-quality websites, it introduced the Panda update.
Thousands of online businesses that had been cash cows for years, suffered a collapse in revenue, literally over-night.
The good ol’ days of gaming Google for a quick buck was over.
Google wanted to improve the user experience it was providing its search engine users, which meant that it had to fix its algorithm to display the most relevant results on its first page.
This was a time when Facebook, which was by now the largest social media website in the world, was looking into entering the search engine market.
Over the next few years, Google has tweaked its algorithm even further with the Penguin, Hummingbird and Pigeon updates.
The ‘Masters’ of SEO decried that SEO was dead! We had to either start investing in good quality content or venture into paid advertising.
Search engine spamming was surely dead, but could business owners on a tight budget, still use SEO to drive a steady stream of visitors to their websites?
The resounding answer is YES!
However, there is a caveat and that is the process is now a lot slower and SEO is a longer game.
Rarely will you find that you’ve published a new page on your website and it gets ranked into Google’s database over night.
Instead of counting how many backlinks your website has pointing to it, it is measuring the quality of the links.
It is better that you have 10 links from credible websites, than 1,000 links from one-page blogs.
So how can you win the SEO game? Simply invest your time in creating a better user experience for your target audience.
This means fixing up issues on your website, such as the loading time, navigation, page titles – the so-called ‘on page’ elements.
You also need to invest some time in creating quality content both on your website and off your website i.e. on other blogging platforms, videos, etc.
Here’s a couple of things that you should incorporate in your SEO strategy for 2017:
- Identify websites where you can publish a guest blog
- Create a content plan for producing more videos for
publishing on YouTube
- Get more social – create fan pages on all relevant sites and link back to the mothership [your website]
- Contribute to industry/market specific podcasts
- Put out press releases for any major announcements
All of these tactics will help you to gain good quality backlinks to your website.
The name of the SEO game is still building backlinks, but focus on the quality over the quantity.
On that note – SEO is dead! Long Live SEO!