The funny thing about the article was how indepth it was about how the search engines mine data, and less about how people search. No doubt, Latent semantic indexing and machine learning are things you should look into. However, isn’t it more important to know how PEOPLE search? After all, the secret to SEO is to understand what Google and the other search engines want. They want that when users came to their site and searched for something, that the first thing they clicked on was what they wanted. Isn’t that how they keep people coming back? If you went to Google and were searching for “Rubber Dog Toys”, and when Google displayed the results the first thing was a recipe for chicken kiev, would you keep coming back? I think not. Well if you don’t search there, then how is Google going to make their money (Ad words/ PPC)? So Google, Yahoo (dare I say Ya who?), and Bing all want to tighten further and further their algorithm of things they look for to rank your site.
Now heres the fun part. You and 8,000 of your competitors are going for keywords. That being said, we know that some people just want to “Game” the system. This means that the search engines are going to keep changing things to eliminate ways you can spam or game them. The first areas that they have tightened have been on-page optimization. Meta data, and lots of areas have been so abused that their weight has dropped. There are some sites that will put in hundreds of keywords into the meta keywords, and now it means almost nothing. I know right now some of you are saying but “Hey, you’ve said we need changes to our sites for that”. Thats correct. I said it means almost nothing. While its not heavily weighted, it still carries some weight. I look at it as another opportunity to advertise to Google the keywords I want to target, but don’t over do it.
Now, get ready for some super secret stuff. In on-page optimization, the number one thing you should look at is your content. What are you telling Google? Are you using the keywords inside the article (Don’t use too much or you’ll get “Dinged” for spamming)? Are you adding fresh content constantly?™ Most sites can improve their rank by simply adding a blog… and blogging. Thats a funny thing to me I know so many companies who are feverishly trying to get to page one, yet they won’t spend the time to actually blog about their business or news related to their industry.
The biggest factor in SEO is authority. Some people call this “link building” or linking, etc.
Having sites that point back to your site with a high level of authority to pass back to you is number one. You can build links in many ways, just make sure you don’t do too many too fast, or on unrelated sites. A lot of people buy links and then say “Hey, I bought all these links. Why isn’t my site on page one?!?!?”. Let’s analyze this, you bought a bunch of links for your Air Conditioning repair services and the links showed up on a site about hair care. Duh. Of course your site isn’t going to be on page one because of that. The purpose of link building is to get links from people, sites and pages RELEVANT to the keywords/ Subject your targeting.
One of my other favorite issues I have seen has been over optimization. A friend of mine had a BIG Client who’s customer kept taking and building links at the same time they were. What a mess, the site wouldn’t move and infact DROPPED in SERP rank because it looked like spamming to the search engines. This was of course after explaining to them that they should not be attempting link building on the same sites they were, and shouldn’t be link building at all for those sites. If your going to try a new method of doing anything, you shouldn’t do things to hinder that or do multiple new methods at a time other wise how will you know if something worked.
So, will reading this article (or any article for that matter) make you an SEO Rockstar? No. What will make you an SEO Rockstar is good fresh content, making sure your site looks appealing to Google and the other search engines, and testing things for yourself. There is no magic pill. There is not just one thing you can do right and get 1st page results. However, there is many things you can do right and get 1st page results.
-Zach “The Uber Geek” Morton
P.S. Before people say “Hey, he only made fun of yahoo!”. Anyone out there know what Bing stands for? But It’s Not Google.