There are two kinds of b2b marketers in the world: ones that know something about SEO and ones that think they know something about SEO.
As someone that is attempting to move from the second group to the first, I’d like to give you some insights into what it is, give you some guidance on how to do it and explain why it actually makes the world a better place.
What is it?
According to internetlivestats.com, Google alone processes an average of 40,000 queries a second, 3.5 billion a day, and 1.2 trillion searches a year. Search engines are the gateway to the internet.
Search engine optimization is the process of helping people find a website on search engines. It’s a must for any company website.
SEO is full of long and detailed tasks that don’t make a difference until months down the road, but it is also a discipline that is always changing.Head on over to Moz’s History of Google algorithm changes for yourself and you will see that the rules for getting found in search engines can change overnight.
Search engines are constantly changing how they rank content on their results pages. For the most part they are getting better at giving searchers what they are looking for. It’s becoming harder and harder to succeed by scamming the system.
Because search engines are always becoming more nuanced and comprehensive in how they decide to present search results, SEO has become an incredibly multifaceted thing. It has slowly grown until now pretty much every aspect of digital marketing effects SEO in some way.
How to do it?
As I just said, today’s SEO entails a lot of different things. Check out this article from an SEO company that addresses all the different skills necessary for modern SEO.
Here’s a chart taken from a session at HubSpot’s Inbound 2015 called “The Changing Face of SEO in 2015” showing what’s becoming more important:
Even with all the changes that plague today’s search engine optimizer, there are a few main tenets that don’t change very much.
The more authoritative, relevant, original and fresh content you have on your website the better.
Authoritative – if it’s not helpful and informative, and sound like it’s written by an expert, it won’t do very well in search results.
Relevant – this is where keywords come in. You have to make sure your content is focused on keywords, and more than that topics that your target buyer personas are typing into search engines. Don’t stuff keywords, more keywords isn’t necessarily better.
Original – duplicate conent isn’t looked favorably on by search engines. Make sure your content is original and has something to add to the conversation. Don’t just summerize other articles.
Fresh – if you’re not adding new content to your website then it’s not going to rank very highly in Google.
Making sure you have content that meets the following guidelines will help you earn links.
Internal – make it easy for visitors and search engines alike to navigate your site with appropriate and relevant links.
External – external links give search engines and visitors a sense of your site’s authority. don’t link to irrelevant, unauthoritative or spammy sites. Link to authoritative, relevant
Backlinks – Make sure that your backlink profile is clean. Try and remove or disavow low quality backlinks and try and earn high quality backlinks.
Making sure you have links that meet the following criteria will help your site structure.
Code – Are you using H1 tags correctly? Do you have good meta tags? Do you have good alt tags on your images?
Design – How’s your user experience? Is your site accesible and easy to navigate? Do you have a high bounce rate? (this is bad). Have you optimized your site to be viewed on mobile devices?
To stay on top of the latest best practices for SEO, you have to make sure you are getting the latest information from the most reliable sources. One of the most authoritative sources of information on SEO is Search Engine Land. Check out their “Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors” and resources for learning about SEO.
Why we can’t live without (good) SEO
While almost everyone agrees that SEO is necessary, it sometimes gets a bad wrap. This negative perception of SEO seems to me to be based on a dated understanding of SEO. As I said before, search engines are always getting better at showing people what they want to see.
At the dawn of the search engine, SEO was a pretty nasty and spamy endeavor. Many webmasters took part in practices that are now quickly penalized by search engines. Practices that were aimed at outsmarting search engines to get bad content to the top of the results page.
These days, it’s almost impossible to scam the system and it will only get harder. SEO and good content are becoming almost indistinguishable, thus SEO has turned from something that made the internet spammy to something that is helping to organize the internet and get internet users what they want and need more efficiently.
SEO isn’t about webmasters tricking people to your website, it’s about giving people what they want in the quickest and most efficient way possible.
SEO makes the internet a better place for everyone.