For too many people the word SEO strikes a cold chill down the spine – an association to with the dark arts.
The majority do not understand exactly what SEO – or Search Engine Optimisation – really is and tip toe their way around the subject with a degree of fear or trepidation.
Far too many succumb to this lack of knowledge and simply hand over vast sums of money to SEO specialists and leave them to ‘do the dirty work’ on a monthly basis adopting a need to know basis attitude.
Much of the cloud that surrounds SEO ‘specialists’ or the subject as a whole is the fact that it used to be possible for businesses or individuals to ‘cheat’ their way up the Google rankings.
By flooding pages with keywords or long key tail words that often couldn’t been seen because they were hidden in code or simply written into the background or by purchasing links to thousands of other unrelated websites it was possible to effectively ‘buy’ your place up the search engine rankings.
Larger businesses would buy multiple ‘landing pages’ which when clicked upon would simply divert the visitors to the main business page, therefore acting as an enormous internet net if you like.
Well, not anymore. The great and the good at Google and other search engines decided this is simply not fair and over the rules have been radically re-written to ensure a level playing field for all.
‘Content is King’ is a phrase many of us will be familiar with though the majority have probably not considered the meaning behind it – and will not realise the phrase is actually first uttered back in 1996 by computer visionary and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
Gates suggested that the longer term winners when it comes to the internet would be those that deliver information and entertainment,
“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.
The television revolution that began half a century ago spawned a number of industries, including the manufacturing of TV sets, but the long-term winners were those who used the medium to deliver information and entertainment.
When it comes to an interactive network such as the Internet, the definition of “content” becomes very wide. For example, computer software is a form of content-an extremely important one, and the one that for Microsoft will remain by far the most important.
But the broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment. No company is too small to participate.
One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create. In a sense, the Internet is the multimedia equivalent of the photocopier. It allows material to be duplicated at low cost, no matter the size of the audience.” – Bill Gates, (01/03/96)
It has taken a while for the world to catch up but now more than ever Gate’s sentiment are more important than ever. Those that take the time and trouble to create content that is both unique and engaging will absolutely reap the rewards.
By interspersing key words and long key tail words within content it is now possible for even the smallest of businesses or bloggers to find themselves climbing up through the Google rankings.
So what is a key word and long key tail word?
A baker based in the Greater Manchester area for example might use ‘bread’ ‘cake’ ‘bakery’ as a key word but there will be millions of bakers using the same key word and the prospect of drowning in all that bread is slightly disturbing.
A long key tail word however is far more specific, for example, ‘bread maker in Manchester’ or ‘Manchester based bakers.’ The long key tail word is designed to make life easier for the person using Google to search for the thing they are looking for. The more specific the tail word, so for example ‘Denton based bakers’ will narrow ensure you rise further up the rankings.
It is complicated but actually can be simplified with a bit of thought.
Keeping things simple is most definitely the way forward. Google changes the algorhythms, or way it checks and validates websites, on a regular basis and that seems to be to ensure those businesses practising the ‘dark arts’ remain on the back foot.
Google and the other search engines want to encourage users to engage in genuine, unique content, rather than developing short cuts.
That means keeping coding clean and tidy so Googlebots can crawl and index your website, adding ‘alt’ tags to images with keywords or long key tail words and ensure the site is updated regular with blogs, links to other relevant sites and engaged with social media.
Onside PR can help clients through the minefield of SEO offering a full review service of websites, blogs, social media training and advice.
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