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It’s easy for the high and mighty to dictate to businesses that one should focus on delivering good quality content and a better user experience instead of trying to fudge the system using manipulative techniques to boost SEO traffic. When you have numbers to hit you do what you have to do right? Within reason of course!
This post is not about preaching white hat SEO techniques and how you should invest in the long term instead of chasing your tail and trying to win at SEO today! It’s more an effort to highlight where we try to steer the SEO priorities of our clients and how to strike a balance with the inevitable challenges of every client and boss we have ever worked with wanting and needing results “quickly”.
Please read How Long-term SEO Works and Why Long-term SEO Succeeds by Michael Martinez
Understanding how the search engines maintain and update their algorithms holds the key to successful SEO, but you needn’t study this to make progress because the main objective of these search engine algorithms is to deliver a great user experience.
What defines a good search engine user experience?
Getting the most relevant and up to date piece of information for your query within as few searches as possible.
What contributes to this user experience?
The speed at which the page loads, the structure of the information which dictates the ease at which it can be digested.
If the user gets to the information they are looking for quickly and it is beautifully presented they are more likely to share it and link to it which comes full circle back to the search engine; “telling” them that that piece of content is worthy of being presented to users in the SERPs.
How do Google change their algorithms?
Considering they make around 500 changes a year, it goes without saying that that is rather an open question, but…
You may have seen a “leaked” document doing the rounds last week which was Google’s training manual for human URL quality raters. With Google adding ‘search engine optimization” to the Google Analytics interface and linking up Webmaster Tools accounts, the sceptic in me can’t help wondering whether this was indeed deliberate on Google’s part now that they have accepted us SEO’s can be of use to them in their battle against spam. Don’t get me started on their decision to start encrypting search terms for signed in Google users… a topic for another day, perhaps when we get a better understanding for where they are going with that one.
Credit to Pot Pie Girl for unearthing this little gem, a must read for anyone trying to grasp SEO and of particular use when trying to convince SEO skeptics (designers and user experience folks, I’m looking at you!) that we do in fact place the user first and are not just going to stuff your site full of horrible content with set “keyword densities”. For the record, we care NOT about “keyword density”!
Further reading on this topic:
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