In the old days publishers created great content and sold the books and magazines or subscriptions to the books and magazines. When things went online people still created good content and got found from search engines for it by putting keywords in their content. But the “Internet Marketers” came to town and started gaming the system. They bought Keyword URLs for many niche markets, threw up basic websites and found many ways to get a lot of content on those sites, none of them good. Three of the ways they created content for these sites were writing lots of basically bad content, scraping good content from other people’s sites, and using RSS feeds from other sites to feed their sites. Then they found ways to attract the search engines using lots of keywords on each page and getting links in less than legitimate ways, in order to monetize these sites by selling ads or affiliate products.
The first round of people doing this made multi-millions and then these marketers put on seminars teaching others how the game is played. These people also made money and this methodology caught on. When this happened, these sites started springing up everywhere. It got to the point where a search for something brought up pages of these smarmy websites. Since search engines compete with each other for people to use their sites, if a particular search engine routinely pulled this kind of result, then they may lose users to the competition. over the past few years, search engines like Google started making changes to their algorithms to see how this could be thwarted in favor of “real”content.
You may have heard of Panda and Penguin. These were two of the big changes in search and have begun a huge shift in the criteria of how specific results come up in a search. Overnight, these Internet Marketing sites were shot down. Others who were using a lot of the techniques to get their “real” sites to come up in searches also got caught in the changes and lost rank overnight.
The good news for most of us is that the New SEO favors people publishing quality content that is highly engaging to their specific niche. Google now rewards us for creating this content for our readers and getting them to come and read it rather than making it specifically to attract the bots. We must now create content that gets read and prove to Google that this traffic to our sites is legitimate. Google can tell by the fact that people with high quality websites are linking to our posts and pages. And most recently they have also been taking into account social proof, by factoring in the amount of sharing of our content through social media channels.
This is huge. No more stuffing Keywords, no more link exchanges. We have to have real sites with real visitors and connect with others on social media channels to let them know we have particular content which will then attract them back to our sites. Google and the other search engines then reward this with our content given preferential treatment in search engines. Could you attract people back to your site in other ways such as networking and speaking? Sure, but think about the reach you have running all over in person, versus the reach you can have online. In fact, some people get the majority of their site traffic from Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Today’s SEO consultants will have to help people create great content and develop social media strategies for getting it shared online.
So what can you do to get found online?
- Use WordPress for your ability to easily add content to it. Make sure it is well designed and that it has what it needs to convert your readers into clients.
- Make sure you site is performing well. If the site is slow to load, people will not stay. Optimize the size of your photos and check your plugins since they can slow you site down.
- Get accounts set up on the major Social Media Channels. Set up your profile with photo and all the bio and date filled out. Be sure you set up Google+.
- Write blog posts and articles that your readers are interested in, share them with your social media followers who you also engage with and you will begin to build traffic and links back to your site.
- Keyword research with Google Ad Words Keyword tool. Be smart about choosing your keywords for your site. You will never come up for extremely competitive terms like, for example, “Shoes” (1,800,000,000 search results). But you could work on coming up for “Handmade Tango Shoes Buenos Aires” ( 23,200 search results). These are called long-tail terms and are much easier to rank for. I recommend that you go to Jenny Munn’s website. Sign up for her SEO newsletter and she has an excellent SEO guide for sale on her site.
- Install the WP SEO plugin by Yoast and learn to use it to make the titles and descriptions of your website pages and posts more search engine friendly so that your titles and first 160 characters of your posts can be more reader friendly and your posts and page content does not have to sound spammy to your readers. Don’t just copy your title and first part of your post into the plugin. That defeats the purpose. WPBeginner has a good post on how to configure this meaty plugin.
- Use one main keyword or keyword phrase per 300-500 word post. Google can slap you down for having too many keywords and for using all the same keywords on each page and post. Make sure that your keyword or phrase is in your site title and description and appears several in your text several times (don’t make it sound spammy). One time have you’re your keyword appear in an h2 heading. Include an external link to somewhere in your copy and some internal links to your other content.
- Verify authorship on your website: Get a Google+ account for yourself with photo and full profile. Add Links to your website and then add links back to your Google + from your website. You may then have your image show up in a Google search.
- Build in internal links from a new post you write to another one of your posts on the same topic. This post, Become More Relevant With Internal Links, goes into more detail about how and why to do this.
- When you add new content, post a link to it on Twitter and Google + and it will be indexed by the search engines much faster.
- Use the WPSEO Plugin to create an xml site map for your WordPress website. This plugin works in the background of your site, giving search engines a map to index your site by. It refreshes itself with the addition of new content and automatically sends the map to Google Yahoo and Bing.