I was on Quora the other day and saw this question, "What is the single best piece of SEO advice?" I have to confess, I was sucked into the conversation because literally every single day of my life someone asks me a question related to SEO.
- Is SEO dead?
- Does SEO matter?
- Is there a "trick" to SEO?
- What are the must haves in SEO?
- Does my company know how to get the "Google Juice?" (You'd be surprised how often I get this question!)
and on, and on the questions go.
SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, helps to make sure your site is accessible to search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), improving the chance that the site will not only be found by search engines but also ranked high in the search engine results page. (SERP)
Translated into plain English, SEO is a way of using words and phrases to be sure your website comes up on the first page of search results of a search engine, when a user is searching for something related to what you do.
So what WAS the single best piece of SEO advice on Quora? There wasn't one. (I could have told them that). The answers ranged from very scientific, all about algorithms and formulas and case studies and best practices, to just downright uselessness ("just start writing and see what happens" was actually advice given).
I'd love to tell you there is a Single Best Piece of SEO Advice, but there isn't. Instead, I'll tell you what I tell my clients.
YES, SEO MATTERS AND WILL MATTER AS LONG AS SEARCH ENGINES EXIST.
Whether we like it or not, SEO is here to stay. It's not dead, it's not dying, it's changing. And with the change in the way Search Engines decide their page ranks (SERPS) comes the need for those of us in the industry to change as well.
What is the one thing you've noticed about Google and the way they determine who gets ranked highest on a SERP? It is always changing. If you spend all your time figuring out how to manipulate algorithms and keywords and longtails, as soon as you have it all figured out, they are going to change the way it all works.
There is a better approach.
YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW TO GET NOTICED BY SEARCH ENGINES?
BE CONSISTENTLY AWESOME
There is definitely a science to great SEO, but it's not rocket science. Want to get consistently noticed by search engines? Then create consistently great content. The more people like what you produce, the more they will come back, the longer they will spend on your site, the more you'll get noticed by search engines, and the cycle continues.
I want you to think about the products and services you personally use.
Why do you love them? Because you trust them. And you trust them because they have consistently shown you they do what they say they will do.
What do you do about the ones you love? You tell people, and they use them too.
And the same is true of your business. People will tell others about your products and services because they trust you. The more they trust you, the more they will tell others about your products and services. And the more they tell others, the more others will use you as well. The same is true online.
Yes, links matter; backlinks, inbound links, outbound links, networked links, they all matter. Link to people who are producing great content. It's part of trust-building (you want your readers to trust your direction) and it's also great for your business and your traffic. You link to others, they link to you. It's the law of reciprocity in action.
Likewise, if you produce consistently great content, more and more people are going to be linking to your work, because they want their customers to trust them.
COVER THE BASICS
As I said, SEO is not rocket science, but there are some basic steps you should remember.
- Register the website with search engines.
- Use inbound links (it bears repeating).
- Use a content management system that will allow you to manage the On-Page SEO components including Meta Title, Meta Description, H1, and several H2s per page, as well as Link anchor text and Link titles.
- Make sure your pages are 400 words or more with one or more images with image metadata (alt and title tags).
- Have a URL structure that has keywords (we use Beefy Marketing because our business is marketing)
- Get a domain name with target keywords in it
- Use an RSS feed and syndicate content (and links) to a Twitter account and Facebook page. Search Engines care about the user and where the user is coming from.
- More content, regular content on the site, either in pages or posts (blog posts/news), but better for both
- Videos embedded and Video Sitemap submission to Google
There is no one single best piece of SEO advice. When it comes to SEO, your very best strategy is to think about the user and consistently give them what they need. Now that I think about it, that's the very best business advice I can give you.