Many business owners here hear the phrase "search engine optimization" (or SEO) from friends in the business community or even from competitors and may view it as a way to increase sales, but that is SEO? On the other hand, a business owner may have tried "SEO services" in the past and discovered that it was not working as well as expected or working well, but was not as effective - this article explains what SEO is and why a new SEO. works better than ever.

I worked in search engine optimization and the ranking of the website market, even before it was called SEO. Here are the changes in SEO since the beginning of the new millennium and what you should look for in SEO services that your SEO agency offers or provides.

We take a look back on SEO over the years and explain what SEO is today and how to best use it for our website.

SEO in 2000

At the beginning of the millennium, the "big" search engines used by most users were Lycos and Excite. Of course, at the time, a very small percentage of the British population had access to the Internet and those who had one had a slow connection system.

Web sites were one or two pages long and contained basic information that allowed them to load quickly (within 20 seconds). At the time, SEO practices consisted of "hiding" as many keywords as possible on a page. The website was found for these searches without the page being like spam for visitors.

In 2002, Google launched a tool called "AdWords" that should result in the end of SEO, because Internet users could pay for its reputation on the website number 1 Internet search launch.

In 2003, Yahoo bought Inktomi, AltaVista and FAST, which was virtually the end of the "smaller" search engines. Google has begun to reduce spam practices and websites. At the same time, Google realized that "AdWords" were not going to kill SEO and in fact, "natural ads" were encouraging visitors to return to their search engine platform. Google has begun to recognize experts in "professional SEO" and promote good SEO rather than spaming.

In 2004, the first website was "banned" from the Internet because Google took action against the sites that spammed them. They also sued the head of the "SEO company".

To rank a website in 2006, you simply needed links to your website. Buying links / link exchanges was so fashionable and most websites had a web page where they listed companies and links to their website (I am always amazed at the number of websites. convenient).

Between 2004 and 2008, Google was now the only real "player" in the search engine world. He had begun to take action against poor corporate and linkage practices, and to tighten the number of spam and buy links. The "Noughties" ended with the elimination of all "naughty" SEO practices, with Google focusing on ranking websites based on their content and the relevance of their relevance to the search.

SEO in 2010

Between 2010 and 2015, we began to see search engines take notice of "social media" sites and the results were filled with Twitter tweets in the results. (I can always see the face of one of my clients when they search for their business on Google.) The first page of the search results is tweets from a Twitter conversation that two staff members had on Twitter. terrible business situation.!)

Videos and images have also been added to the search results with the Google Update 'Caffeine'.

Google has introduced "personal search results" with websites displayed in search results based on your previous searches and the websites you visited before. This caused some excitement in the SEO world, as customers claimed that their websites were "Google's best" for any research related to their industry, simply because they had visited their own site Web repeatedly, so Google of course. have brought them back to the site for all relevant research. This can still be a problem until you show them the new Google Incognito search.

The focus on ranking websites has been found for BIG keywords. A "plumber" in Bristol would like to rank for this research, and that was the goal.

The Google updates "Panda" and "Penguin" symbolically killed "link exchanges" with huge penalties for websites whose irrelevant links pointed to them. At the same time, Google has put in place "unrelated links" to allow websites to provide relevant links to other websites and information without penalizing any of the parties. It was the beginning of the "safe bond". Quality and relevant content was now the key to ranking in search engines.

A report from the Office of National Statistics published in 2014 stated:

In Britain, 38 million adults (76%) have access to the Internet every day, 21 million more than in 2006, when directly comparable records were created.
Internet access via mobile phone more than doubled between 2010 and 2014, from 24% to 58%.
74% of all adults bought goods or services online, up from 53% in 2008. Clothes (49%) were the most popular online purchases in 2014.
In Britain, 67% of adults are aware of Internet storage services, but the use of these services to store data is much lower at 35%.
In Great Britain, 22 million households (84%) had access to the Internet in 2014, compared to 57% in 2006.
Fixed broadband Internet connections were used by 91% of households.
The United Kingdom now (almost) knew the Internet and the use of mobile phones to visit websites was enormous.

SEO 2015 and beyond

The most significant change to search engines in 2015 was the "penalization" of non-mobile-friendly websites: a mobile-friendly website contains different information for a smaller screen to make it easier to read and understanding by the user. By ensuring that users get the best possible experience, Google has begun to prioritize more mobile-friendly or responsive websites (where the site automatically changes size and format to fit the screen).

The British population used their mobile phones to do local research and local businesses could finally gain an advantage over large companies or "national" companies on the Internet.

The introduction of "semantic search", in which Google returns websites in the results, not on the keywords, but on the content of a page, has again changed the way SEO agencies are considering to work on websites. The ranking of "Big" keywords, such as "Plumber Bristol", has become less important as Internet users have become more savvy in their searches. The long tail keywords, and as much as possible, have begun to attract more and more visitors to the website and, more importantly, conversions.

What is the SEO process today?

It is probably correct to say that the processes or practices associated with search engine optimization have now gone beyond the term "SEO".

In the past, the content and structure of a website was sufficient. Now, much more needs to be done not only to rank a website in search engines, but also to engage customers. A better description of the service would be "digital marketing".

Earlier practices, as mentioned earlier, meant that "big" keywords were the key to ranking. Focusing on a single keyword per page or even for a whole website would help classify the business. At the time, everything was a matter of "ranking".

Old way to do SEO

There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to SEO. Semantic search is the main engine and the conversion, the main objective, not the rankings.

Semantic search is the place where Google returns information on the page, not the description introduced by the creator of the website, to the researcher. An example of this would be to take the example of "Bristol plumber". A few years ago, you focused on ranking companies for "Bristol plumber", "Bristol plumber" and perhaps "Bristol plumber emergency" - although this remains true for companies that offer a solution for "Distress shopping" (where and one solution outweighs the need for information and advice) The best practice of a website is to add content that offers tips and advice and includes "endless keywords" "(searches with 3 or 4 words), such as" Emergency plumber with free call in Bristol ". or "Comments for an emergency plumber near me". Google wants the user to have the best experience possible and quickly find relevant information. Semantic search succeeds. This is also good for a business owner. Would you like your website to have been found by a researcher looking for "Bristol plumber" where he might be after some information, looking for a job, looking for a plumbing service that you could not not offer or a specific and targeted search such as "Best plumber emergency near BS7"? "The Bristol plumber" will serve you as site visitor, it will find "Best BS7 emergency plumber" will allow you to to get a customer.

In terms of keywords, this is the most important change brought by Google and it's here to stay. Digital referencing or digital marketing is no longer a question of your rank, but of the number of search terms you can search for and convert them into paying customers.

Website content

A few years ago (and only two or three years ago), Google suggested to professional SEO agencies that 300 words on one page were sufficient content. Last year, they said the MINIMUM should be at least 500 words.

Every day, a potential customer asks me to visit a website. Most of them contain between 150 and 250 words on one page. This is a common practice. There are two ways to look at this. Either Google must change its expectations because most websites are not up to their expectations or another way of looking at things is a simple way to beat the competition by simply adding content to your website. Do you think Google will lower expectations or websites improve? Google has released the update "mobile friendly", knowing that nearly 80% of websites need to be upgraded - which they have done anyway, because more than 50% of users have benefited. Quality content affects 100% of their users.

I recommend to our client about 800 words per page. This content is sufficient to be suitable for semantic search, provide relevant content and not contain too many words.

A good practice is to have:

Title of the page - explains the content of the page (keyword 'Big' if you have to)
Title - ask a question
The first paragraph briefly explains the content / solution
Image / or video
Longer description of the solution
Take our emergency plumber in Bristol, for example:

Page Title: Emergency Plumber Bristol

Title: Are you looking for the best emergency plumber near you in Bristol?

First paragraph: Smith Plumbing offers a 24-hour emergency plumbing service in Bristol. We do not charge a call fee and can accompany you within 20 minutes. That's why our customer reviews indicate that we are the best emergency plumbing service in your area. Call now the ...

Image of the van or plumber looking for a professional

Longer description: what they can solve, common problems they solve, some quotes from their customers, etc.
This has many advantages.

First, people who only want a plumber will read the first paragraph, will see the image of the van (strengthen authority and professionalism) and call the plumber. Other people will want more information that they can find further down the page. Is it cheating on SEO? Absolutely not. You provide relevant information to the user and Google will be grateful. How content is structured and written on a page is the "new" SEO.

The second benefit is that your website will start to be found for a combination of page words - semantic search - in the example above, the Plumber could be found by existing or potential customers looking for "Smith Plumbing" "," Emergency plumber near me "," emergency plumber in Bristol "," best 24hr emergency plumbing service in Bristol "," emergency plumber in Bristol reviews "and dozens of additional search terms. If you were a plumber, would you prefer to be found for one big keyword or several relevant keywords for converting customers? I thought so, and Google too.

The old practices were to create website content for search engines. You must now create content to bring value to customers. It's a process easier than you think.

What were the last 5 customer requests to your company? What was the problem they were trying to solve? Write about the problem and your solution.

Link building

The historical method of "building links" was to get as many links from as many places as possible. This year, a very large company contacted us about their SEO and they were horrified when we suggested they remove their $ 1.4 million links from their website because they had spent a fortune over the years. years to buy them. The irrelevant links, and the more you have, the more they are harmful, underline for Google the relevance of your website, whatever its relevance.

Today, some relevant links are worth more than a million links to your website. Today, links must be built through engaging relationships. Take back our plumber, a return link from the "Gas Safe Register", a local plumbing center or showroom, as well as a few local websites that like his information would be sufficient.

Social media

Even though we still have companies like this now, a few years ago, when we suggested that companies be on Facebook, I was usually told "Facebook - it's for teenagers, is not it? This is not our market. If done right, Facebook can generate more traffic and paying customers than your website. Facebook's largest user group is the 25 to 34 age group, the second largest group aged 35 to 44. 45 to 54 year olds use Facebook more than teenagers, and almost as many as 18 to 24 year olds.

Age of Facebook users in the UK - courtesy of statista

Facebook allows a company to create a brand, engage customers, get instant feedback and feedback from customers. Unlike reviews on your website that a potential customer can see if he visits your site, a review on Facebook is immediately posted by all the user's friends and if his friend "likes" the comment - all his friends, friends. More and more of our customers are getting Facebook leads. People ask their friends for suggestions on which businesses to use and get dozens of suggestions. If you are on Facebook, you will be more likely to get a direct link to your contact information.

What is the next step for "social media"? Live streaming! Twitter bought a company called "Periscope" that allows you to stream live video from your phone. "So what?" I hear our "emergency plumber" asking. If I was a plumber, I live my work in streaming and I correct a problem. The video is broadcast live to all my subscribers and their friends - my own free worldwide TV channel. The next time your company organizes a "brainstorming session" - a periscope - your client will explain the solutions.

Video Marketing

There are no "old" SEO practices for videos because they did not exist and when YouTube started, it was to show fun videos of cats and others.

Today, everything has changed. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and belongs to Google. YouTube has more than one billion users around the world and every minute 300 hours of video is downloaded. It would take you about 2 years to watch all the videos that will be uploaded in the next hour. You would need the rest of your life to watch all the videos uploaded today. Google's own statistics indicate that by 2018, 73% of searches in a search engine will allow the person to watch a video. Think of it another way: in a few years, when 10 people search for your product or service on the Internet, 7 of them watch a video, 2 visit a website. That's why I create videos for our customers as part of our "Digital Marketing Service".

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