SEO for Humans

What is the overall aim of SEO?

seo for humans

The overall aim of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to increase the visibility and ranking of a website on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The goal of SEO is to drive more organic (or non-paid for) traffic to a website. The higher a website appears in search engine results pages (SERPs), the more likely it is to be visited by users.

What does SEO entail?

SEO involves optimizing various elements of a website, including content, technical architecture, and backlinks (off-site SEO) in order to make it more appealing to search engines and users. By improving a website's visibility and ranking, SEO can help increase your website's credibility, establish it as a trusted source of information, and ultimately drive more business and revenue.

6 SEO Changes in the last 10 years

Sometimes SEO rules change every month

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has undergone significant changes over the past 10 years, as search engines have continued to evolve and improve their algorithms. Here are some of the key ways SEO has changed in the last decade:

1. Mobile optimization

With the increasing use of mobile devices for internet browsing, mobile optimization has become a critical aspect of SEO. Search engines now prioritize websites that are optimized for mobile devices and penalize those that are not.

2. Voice search

The rise of voice search and virtual assistants has forced SEO professionals to re-think their strategies and consider how their content will appear in voice search results.

3. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning

Search engines now use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to better understand and categorize content, which has led to more sophisticated ranking algorithms. As a result, high-quality content and user experience have become even more important for SEO success.

4. Local SEO

With the growing use of location-based searches, local SEO has become increasingly important for businesses that want to attract customers in their area. This has led to an emphasis on creating accurate business listings, generating positive reviews, and improving Google My Business listings.

5. Structured data

The use of structured data, such as schema markup, has become more widespread and is now used by search engines to understand the content of a website more accurately.

6. Backlinks

The importance of backlinks has remained consistent over the years, but the way they are viewed by search engines has changed. Now, the quality and relevance of backlinks is more important than the quantity, and links from low-quality or spammy websites can actually harm a website's ranking.

Overall, the focus of SEO has shifted from simple keyword optimization to a more holistic approach that emphasizes user experience, content quality, and relevance.

SEO no longer refers to the process of optimising each web page for search engines – it now means optimising your website to make it easier to read for people. It includes a bunch of ideas once listed under the banner of website usability. For example, if you have a clickable phone number on your website, you get a little bonus mark from Google.

On-site and Off-site SEO

I spend most of my time performing SEO magic on client websites. What exactly does that entail and why do people pay me to do that?

6 x On-site SEO tweaks

On-site SEO refers to the optimization of the content and HTML source code of a website with the goal of improving its visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). On-site SEO involves optimizing various elements of a website, including its:

1. Content

The quality, relevance, and organization of the website's content play a crucial role in its search engine ranking. On-site SEO involves creating high-quality, keyword-rich, and well-organized content that is both user-friendly and search engine friendly.

2. URL structure

The structure of a website's URLs can impact its visibility and ranking in search results. On-site SEO involves creating clear and concise URLs that accurately reflect the content of a page and make it easier for search engines to crawl and index the site.

3. Title tags and meta descriptions

Title tags and meta descriptions are HTML elements that provide information about a page's content to search engines and users. On-site SEO involves creating compelling and keyword-rich title tags and meta descriptions that accurately describe the content of a page and encourage clicks from the search engine results page.

4. Headings

Headings help organize the content on a page and make it easier for users and search engines to understand its structure and hierarchy. On-site SEO involves using appropriate heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to organize the content of a page and emphasize its most important elements.

5. Image optimization

Images can have a significant impact on a website's loading speed, which can affect its ranking in search results. On-site SEO involves optimizing images by reducing their file size, using descriptive file names, and including descriptive alt tags for accessibility.

6. Internal linking

Internal linking refers to the links within a website that connect one page to another. On-site SEO involves creating a clear and intuitive internal linking structure that helps search engines understand the hierarchy and relevance of a website's content and helps users navigate the site.

By optimizing these and other on-site elements, a website can improve its visibility and ranking in search results, attract more organic traffic, and ultimately drive more business and revenue.

5 x Off-site SEO tweaks

Off-site SEO refers to the optimization of a website's external factors that impact its visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). Unlike on-site SEO, which focuses on optimizing elements within a website, off-site SEO involves optimizing factors outside of the website that can still impact its search engine performance. Some key elements of off-site SEO include:

1. Backlinks

Backlinks, also known as "inbound links" or "incoming links," are links from other websites that point to your website. Backlinks are one of the most important factors in determining a website's search engine ranking, and off-site SEO involves acquiring high-quality, relevant backlinks from reputable websites.

2. Social media presence

Social media can play a role in increasing a website's visibility and reputation, and off-site SEO involves using social media platforms to build brand awareness and drive traffic to a website.

3. Local citations

Local citations are mentions of a business's name, address, and phone number on other websites, such as directories and review sites. Off-site SEO involves creating accurate and consistent local citations to improve a website's local search visibility.

4. Brand reputation

A website's brand reputation can impact its visibility and ranking in search results, and off-site SEO involves managing and monitoring a website's online reputation through brand mentions, reviews, and other forms of online presence.

5. Influencer outreach

Influencer outreach involves partnering with influential individuals or organizations in a related industry to promote a website and increase its visibility and credibility.

By optimizing these and other off-site factors, a website can improve its visibility and ranking in search results, attract more organic traffic, and ultimately drive more business and revenue. It is important to note that off-site SEO is a long-term strategy that requires patience and consistent effort, as it may take time to see the results of these efforts in search engine rankings.

6 x things search engines want

Search engines, such as Google, want to provide their users with the most relevant, high-quality, and useful information in response to their search queries. To achieve this goal, search engines use complex algorithms to evaluate the relevance and quality of websites and web pages and rank them in search engine results pages (SERPs).

In general, search engines want websites that:

1. Provide valuable and relevant content

Search engines want websites to offer high-quality, informative, and engaging content relevant to the search query.

2. Have a user-friendly experience

Search engines want websites that are easy to use and navigate, with a clean and intuitive design that provides a good user experience (UX).

3. Load quickly

Search engines want websites that load quickly and efficiently. Slow-loading websites negatively impact the user experience (UX).

4. Are mobile-friendly

With the increasing use of mobile devices for searching the web, search engines want websites that are optimized for mobile devices and provide a good user experience on small screens.

5. Are secure

Search engines want websites that are secure and protect users' personal information, and they may give preference to websites that use HTTPS encryption.

6. Follow best practices for on-site and off-site SEO

Search engines want websites to follow best practice for on-site and off-site SEO, such as using relevant keywords, having a clear and concise URL structure, and acquiring high-quality backlinks. Backlinks are seen as a vote for your site, although they have been manipulated by black hat SEO operators (more about that another time)

By providing these and other qualities, websites can improve their visibility and ranking in search results, attract more organic traffic, and ultimately, get customers.

What does Google want?

Google wants to know as much as possible about your business through your website. The more you tell Google about your business (text content) the more Google can determine your site “quality” (Google worthiness) and, theoretically, the higher you will appear in a search results.

A simple way of doing this is to update your Google Maps profile whenever you update your website (which should be weekly, people).

What do clients want?

There’s an obsession with being #1 on a Google search result page. Often that's a quick way to lose money - not make it.

Paying an SEO expert to work on each page of your site for 10 hours is a lazy way to get traffic. It's also highly expensive at $260/hr (that's what most agencies charge but often don't reveal).

I offer SEO services for clients, but more often than not, there are more important issues that need attending to first. In some cases, it’s a missing page title or meta-description. In another case, one client didn’t have a contact page, phone number or an email address. Yeah. Good luck contacting that guy. Poor HTML code, lots of competition in your industry and missing tags are the usual culprits (even the length of your meta-tags can be an issue). I once SEO'd a site for a client who had forgotten to add their navigation menu to the top of their wix website.

Google algorithm updates

Google’s Panda update (early 2012) turned SEO back to on-page factors rather than in-bound links. Many SEO companies were setting up fake websites linking to their clients. Well, finally the game is up on that. Google (in particular) wants the best page for your search to show up on page one. Not the page with the most in-bound links.

Being Number One

It’s great to be top dog in search - right?

If your web pages are; poorly constructed, unclear, unprofessional or are inefficiently worded, you really don't and with no strong on-page “call to action” (e.g. a buy button). Missing elements like these make it difficult to convert site visitors into buying customers even if you are #1. Getting on the first page in a competitive industry can be a long and complex journey. Geoffrey Multimedia can help you – even if we didn’t author your site.

Website traffic isn’t everything

I had a client who was making thousands from only 30 monthly visitors. I was actually embarrassed by her traffic (often web developers bear some of the blame for low traffic). It turned out that 5 or 6 of visitors were renewing contracts worth thousands via her website on a regular basis. Who wants to be number one if you can make a million with only 30 visitors per month?

I have another client who is number one for a search in her chosen industry, but the phone never rings. Sadly, there’s not much demand for her services. Sometimes a market is saturated (like website design) and people have bought all they are ever going to buy of that thing.

Spending thousands on SEO expert to be #1 in a Google search result page is, frankly, tunnel-visioned. If users don’t convert to loyal, returning customers (say, because you didn't put your phone number up there) - you are wasting money.

When I do a search, I’ll scan links on the first 2 or 3 search result pages. SEO has been “gamed” for many years and up until only very recently, the first page of a Google search was often full of rubbish sites. Your website has to be genuine. Put your “I’m Google Number One” ego on the back-burner for a moment and ask yourself the really hard question :

Why should anyone visit my site in the first place?

SEO anxiety

The answer to SEO anxiety is really plain and simple and it’s something I try to drum into clients’ on an almost daily basis. It’s also why I prefer to develop websites that take time to put together. To get right. I’d be a millionaire if I sold cheap, ineffective websites and charged crazy prices for SEO, but there are enough of those and I honestly want to go to my grave thinking I've made some difference in the world. It’s too easy to make a quick buck in this industry as most people don’t know what’s going on.

Most of what makes a great website has nothing to do with me. It’s more about what my clients do with their sites. You need a long term strategy.

So. You rank #1. How’s that working out for you?

Not many people can write good copy, but the ones who do are rewarded with high rankings. Google rewards people and businesses who add something to the industry conversation on a regular basis. Sites which aren’t regularly updated lose traffic over time.

Google wants to reward leaders in a field.

People linking to your site are important too. Google assumes that people link to sites which are best in their field. Naturally, setting up a million sites with in-bound links to yours is deemed “gaming the system” and it’s actually the reason why Google had the Panda update in the first place. Suffice it to say, many SEO “professionals” lost their jobs. People will link to you if you are constantly updating your blog with quality articles.

Plus, you are more likely to get a higher ranking if Google sees other “high quality” websites in your field linking back to yours.

Is SEO a waste of money?

No. But it has to be done properly - and ethically.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is misunderstood. In the web design industry, "SEO expert" is synonymous with "cowboy."

If an SEO firm says they can get you to the top of page 1 in a search, they’re more interested in taking your money than telling you the facts. It’s a promise that appeals to teh ego. It's also a promise that nobody can seriously make. Nobody knows how Google’s ever-changing algorithm works.

My Company Name; A Note to Narcissus

Nobody will search for your company name besides you. They might search for “comfortable slippers queensland” but they won’t tap in “Johnno Baloney’s slippers”. What you do is important - not your company name.

Further reading:

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Geoffrey is a business owned and run by Edwin James Lynch, who holds a degree in Communication and a diploma in Multimedia. In the past, Edwin has taught web design, development, and online marketing at universities in Western Australia. He sometimes collaborates with copywriters, programmers, and other specialists, but he often works independently.

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