15 Jun What is SEO in 2018
You’ve probably received dozens of unsolicited emails and phone calls from so called SEO experts promising to get you the first position in Google. But just what is good and bad SEO in 2018?
What is SEO?
SEO is Search Engine Optimisation. It’s the practice of improving your chances of ranking well in the search engines and because Google is the most used search engine in Australia, that’s the one I’ll be talking about today.
We put a lot of thought into it, but it only takes Google machines a nano-second to decide which website to put at the top.
Google want relevance because they want you to be happy with the results they serve up to you. If you’re not happy, you’ll eventually switch to a different search engine.
Google don’t really comment much on SEO or on how to rank well, as they don’t really like people to “manipulate” the search results.
In the past they’ve made huge changes to their algorithms to stop people doing just that. This is good and bad.
It’s good if you’re doing everything right (read on to find out what that means), but it can be bad if in the past you’ve implemented what Google (now) say to be “bad”.
The biggest change happened early in 2011 with Google’s Panda update. This update affected many low-quality websites, including directory websites.
Google realised people were leaving in droves because the search results were full of sales page websites and directories. Annoying right?
People come to Google with a problem to solve and they want it solved with a few clicks.
Bad SEO can cause big problems for your ranking in Google and for your business.
Poor Google ranking equals little to no leads coming from your website. We have a joke about this – Where’s the best place to hide a body? On the second page of Google, because no one ever goes there (boom-tish).
But it’s no joke if you’ve invested good money on a website and you don’t get a return on it. It can end up being, at best, just a digital brochure that only gets seen by your mum and people you send the link to.
Worst scenario – your website is just nowhere to be found on Google. Or it’s on page 33…if you have the patience to click through that far.
This is often referred to as a “Google Penalty”.
The best way to know if Google has penalised your website is to see what happens when you type your website name into the Google search bar, with spaces and without .com.au and you may need to type your suburb in too if you’re in a competitive business.
If there’s another business higher up than yours, there’s a good chance your website has been penalised by Google.
How did you get bad SEO?
If you have ever used an SEO company that was cheap and cheerful and offered lots of backlinks, then that’s probably how you ended up with bad SEO. A backlink, by the way, is just what it says it is, a link from one website back to your website.
Mostly these SEO companies do low quality backlinking from “link farms” or sites setup just to house backlinks. Usually there’s little to no content, and what little content there is never relates to your business or industry.
These link farms are generally not in Australia and are very often not English. Other low-quality links are to comments added to blogs. Usually, it’s not at all related to your business or industry and the comment is either broken English or just garbled words that make no sense at all.
But, of course, a low Google ranking doesn’t always mean your site has been penalised. It could just be you’ve never put the time or money into making sure your website ranks well.
Or, conversely, you might be one of the lucky ones – in a sought-after niche that’s not very competitive. Sadly, that’s rarely the case. Most of us need to actively nurture and improve our websites so we stay front and centre for our ideal client and make the most of the ever-changing online world.
What Google wants (Good SEO)
SEO in 2018 has to be quality because Google machine learning and AI is getting better and better. You can read more about AI & Machine Learning in my blog post here.
The Google AI machine knows a quality link from a bad link, it knows where the website (or blog) is, what language it is in and what the subject or purpose of it is.
And, most importantly, it’s making a judgement of YOUR website too based on the quality of the sites linking back to you AND it’s making this judgment in a split second each and every time someone searches for a service or product like yours.
Different types of SEO.
SEO falls into two main categories;
- On Page SEO
- Off Page SEO
On Page SEO.
As the name suggests, it’s the SEO on your website (or page/s). The most important things to get right are;
- structure (this is a big one)
- meta data
- grammar and spelling
- word count
- speed (another big one)
- internal and external linking
- User Experience (UX)
- your address (this is critical if you are a local business), and
- much more besides.
Off Page SEO.
This is the stuff that happens off your website, backlinks are an important component of off page SEO. Good quality backlinks will have a positive impact on your website (just like bad links have a negative impact).
There are many things that can be done off page to help Google understand (and like) your offering and, in turn, help potential clients find your website.
- Strategic content marketing and blogging (this is a big one).
- Guest posts on high quality blogs or news sites (think Flying Solo, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post). Start small and build up.
- Have influencers in your niche mention you and link back to your website – but you have to build the relationship first.
- Get positive media.
- Contribute to quality forums on subjects related to your niche.
- List your business on relevant, quality directories – free and paid.
- Optimise your Google My Business (GMB) listing with more text, images, video etc…
- Strategic social media linking back to your website.
- Rinse and repeat – over and over.
How do you know if an SEO “expert” is legit or not?
- Do they have a real email address – ending with an actual domain name, or is it @gmail, @hotmail or @someotherfreeemailservice? This is a real giveaway – if they don’t have a real email address, then send it straight to spam.
- If they do have a real email address from a real domain – Google search it, DO NOT click on any links (just to be sure).
- What happens when you do Google search their name? Does it appear at the top? Does it appear at all?
- Are they based in Australia? Do they have an actual business presence in Australia?
- Do they offer a strategy session so they can learn about your needs and your business?
- Are they even interested in what you do and how you do it?
- Are they cheap and cheerful? Good SEO is not cheap. If you are not sure, then divide their monthly fee by 30 and ask yourself if you can buy any other service, with that amount of money per day.
Online Influence can help you with “good” SEO. We can also help fix your “bad” SEO. Take advantage of our free strategy session by filling in the form above, or give us a call today and we’ll have a chat about how we can help you.