The SEO Myth
There was a time when you could hire an “SEO” (search engine optimization) consultant who would promise you a first page ranking by using choice keywords and techniques that attract Google’s crawlers. An entire industry cropped up, all claiming to know the secret formula to gettng our site noticed.
Those days are long, long gone.
The idea that SEO as a practice can improve search rankings is a myth. While it may have made a difference in the internet’s infancy, search engines have progressed in their ability to counteract sketchy SEO practices. Now all that matters is high-level content rich with relevant keywords.
Yet the SEO “experts” remain in business because of the outdated belief that their efforts will actually make a difference. In some cases, SEO strategy is a flat out lie used by scammers to get paid.
I don’t want you to get scammed. So here’s everything you need to know about what SEO means in the year 2021. Keep in mind that SEO is the bare minimum you do to set yourself up for success, so don’t assume that following these steps will automatically boost your search rankings.
SEO consists of two, and only two, components:
- In-page optimization: Proper code structure, use of meta data to relay information to search crawlers (notably titles and descriptions), utilizing the words that would come up in a natural search for your site, and having a fast-loading and responsive website.
We leverage tools that crawl your site and help identify potential problems including both search and site performance. Many of these optimizations also benefit end users because search engines reward sites that provide good user experiences.
- Keyword research: Using research tools to review the search volume of specific keywords to help inform and focus your efforts. Your target keyword list should come at the intersection of solid search volume and the realistic chance to compete for the term. From that target list, you can also create content pieces centered around various keywords relevant to your business.
This is typically part of a long-tail keyword strategy, which targets numerous lower-volume keywords where you have a better chance at getting first page rankings over more high-volume keywords. We use this research to help develop a content strategy.
And that’s it.
Once you’ve completed those two steps, you’ve officially “optimized” your search ranking efforts. There’s nothing more you can do. No tricks, no hacks, no secrets. It’s simple.
Google has the smartest engineers on the planet developing and evolving their search algorithm with the help of natural language analysis and machine learning. That SEO guy from Connecticut who talks a big game has no chance of succeeding against that. And even the “black hat” players who run massive link rings to boost sites have been rendered ineffective in recent years. Again, this is Google. You aren’t going to beat Google. Or Bing. Or anyone.
Only good, relevant and timely content succeeds. Thus, an SEO expert is a content strategist. You can’t divorce the roles, because they are one in the same.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.