08 Apr Myth-Busting SEO
Search Engine Optimisation is probably one of the most misunderstood terms in the digital sphere today.
A lot of this comes down to a basic lack of understanding, but it hasn’t helped that the goalposts have been in a constant state of motion since Google launched in 1997. Its algorithm and methodology for returning search rankings is perpetually changing, and the result is that search engine optimisation – SEO – means something very different to the way we might have understood it a decade ago.
[section_heading customclass=”” fx=””]How it worked[/section_heading]
It used to be that simply by loading your site full of META keywords and descriptions that you could essentially bully Google into believing that your site was hugely relevant to the corresponding search terms. The major downside of this approach was that, for the user looking at the website, the words didn’t read very well. They didn’t come across as organic and were difficult to read. You could also create numerous links across the internet to your site, in the hope that Google would interpret your site as being popular.
Slowly but surely, ever since, Google have been trying to rectify this. Over the last decade, the search engine giant has been on a mission to create the most relevant, informative and best-written search results possible, providing the best user experience for the searcher.
Along the way, this has seriously changed how search engine optimisation works.
You still hear a lot of people banging on about META keywords (the comma-separated list of keywords that would describe a page’s content) as if a lack of them will ruin a site’s performance. This is no longer true, and META keywords are now all but redundant.
META descriptions (a longer piece of text description about a page) remain important, but only if they’re unique and written specifically for the page they’re applied to.
[section_heading customclass=”” fx=””]How it works now[/section_heading]
Google now views a site as a collective entity, not just a bunch of pages grouped together. This has huge ramifications.
It means that integrating social media accounts can have boost your SEO performance site-wide.
It means that all your back-links add towards the collective ‘authority’ Google considers your domain to hold. The higher the authority of the domain linking to you, the more ‘weight’ that back link carries and the greater the impact it has on your own authority.
[section_heading customclass=”” fx=””]Conclusion[/section_heading]
The result of this is that Google can no longer be artificially manipulated as easily. The way it processes its results actively rewards organic growth – word of mouth through websites and social media, organic link building, and quality, original content.
Consequently, while many digital agencies promise you Page One on Google, the truth is that your digital presence must be treated like the rest of your business: it should grow through quality content and products, and positive word of mouth will do the rest through organic link-building, social reputation and good reviews and referrals. It isn’t hugely complicated, and while the algorithm is complicated and hidden, the art of Search Engine Optimisation is not a black art. It simply means that cheap tricks to get the top of Google don’t work any more.