SEO is Dead - Long Live SEO!
You may have heard people say SEO is dead. But what does that mean, and is it true?
A Brief History of SEO
The way google calculates its search listings is all based on a big bad algorithm (a computer calculation to me and you). Back in the day this was quite simple, and was largely based around backlinks.
What is a Backlink?
A backlink is a link from another site to yours. This can be anchored, which means as a word:
Or just a normal web address:
The theory went, the greater the number of links to a site, the more ‘recommendations’ the site had. Ergo, the more it should rank.
Google was actually the first search engine to do this. Before that competitors used big handmade indexes!
To rank, it was a straight race. For any keyword phrase, let's take ‘online news’ as an example, the website with the most ‘online news’ anchor backlinks would come first.
It really was that simple.
As you might imagine, this was wide open to abuse. Many people created sites all over the internet with hundreds of anchored links pointed to their assets. Now, google is in the business of pointing people to relevant content. Not a totally unrelated page, chosen by the most ruthless SEO expert!
Irrelevant searches mean unhappy users, and unhappy users may use another search engine.
So, update by update, google altered the algorithm to fight back.
Cat & Mouse
For many years it became a game of cat and mouse. Google would update it’s algorithm. SEO's would watch their rankings tank, deal with distraught clients, panic, and then set to outwitting the algorithm again .
Here are some of the type of areas the algorithm changes targeted:
- Assessed quality of content on linking pages.
- Assessed relevance of content surrounding backlinks.
- Assessed naturalness of linking patterns and anchor word variation.
- Took account of factors besides backlinks.
Every time this happened, people proclaimed SEO dead. The truth is now google takes consideration of a large range of different factors to rank sites. SEO is alive of ever, it has just changed it's make up.
White Hat – Black Hat
There are two opposite sides of SEO - Black Hat and White Hat.
Black Hat SEO's aim to abuse the algorithm against design intentions.
White Hat SEO's aim to work within these intentions - make a good site, with sound knowledgable of google cues, and get rewarded. White Hat was always a lot harder and more expensive, but with lasting results.
So, as google's algorithm has got more complex, and shut off exploits, it is actualy more accurate to say that BLACKHAT SEO is dead.
Long Live SEO
At Geeksy, I believe this is an opportunity! I have always focused on whitehat strategies.
As unscrupulous black hat SEO’s fall by the wayside, it clears the way for great sites to take their rightful ranking places. Sites that work fantastically for users.
Here are some of the things I do to make my sites rank:
High Quality Content
Content is king, and this chimes with everything I stand for. On my sites, I make sure high quality written and visual content stands first and foremost. Blog posts, articles and information relevant to the industry, all help google know that my sites are on topic and of high importance.
Google wants its users to have a good experience on sites it pushes people to, so performance is critical. Thankfully, because my framework is really tiny and lean, and I host my sites on Amazon web services, my websites have load times faster than the rest of the industry!
Less than a second is common, when over 5 seconds can be usual on other sites. Google recognises this.
Minimal, Useable, Designs
All my designs are engineered to be clean, minimal and very easy to use. Great designs mean happy users.
I make sites that do stuff. That means a high degree of user engagement, sign up, and retention. Users staying on pages for long periods of time, and dive deep in to content. Again, google recognises this positive user experience.
Good Quality Backlinks
While it’s to a much smaller degree, backlinks still matter. I build good quality links, from reputable sources. Of course, one of the best way to get people to link you, is to make your site so easy to use, and such a great resource, that people link it naturally.
There are also certain sites google uses for cues, and I make sure you are covered here.
How My Sites Rank
This allows my sites to rank, without any funny business. For example, my high engagement partners - Redbrick Properties and Freeway Recruitment, both rank well on page one for 'Letting Agents Leeds' and 'Driving Agency Leeds' respectively - amongst many other similar terms.
Get in Touch for a Chat
Have you got a site you'd like to rank, or maybe need a website that works for your users? If so just let me know in the form below!