A word of caution about SEO
Let's start off with a cautionary word about SEO. Anyone who has ever registered a Domain Name has also probably had the inevitable joy of
being harassed by offshore companies spamming your inbox and mobile phone about cheap website development and guaranteed
first position ranking on Google. Sounds great doesn't it, pay someone $100 or $200 USD and have your website at the top of the first page.
could be further from the truth. The truth is, SEO and ranking at the top of the first page takes time, sustained effort creating content that
actually solves searcher questions, and sometimes money depending on your field and the competition in that field.
So what is the proper process to rank on search engines?
This is a hotly debated topic as no one really knows (apart from a handful of people) what exactly the algorithm Google and other search
engines use to rank websites. However, over time the SEO community has used a scientific approach of experimentation and examining the
results of the experiments to gauge what the standout factors are for ranking. The following is not a complete list but just a start
as to what goes into ranking a site.
Technical - Web:
In order to rank on a search engine, the website has to be technically sound. This means that the site should be secure, i.e, use HTTPS, the
site navigation should be intuitive and not have links to broken pages and the site should load in a reasonable time - less that 2 seconds,
ideally under 1.5 - the faster the better. This means that you have to be very considerate with using media now days and just chucking a heap
of huge images on your site and not using compression and proper image sizes is a huge no no. Furthermore, Google is now ranking for mobile
sites before desktop sites, which means because of the limited bandwidth of mobile devices, you now have to be as miserly as possible with
Technical - SEO:
The technical components of SEO ensure that your site can be crawled and understood by search engine robots. I am amazed at how many
sites I have audited that have robots 'disallowed', thus, cannot be crawled (or shouldn't be crawled by robots). People also often forget about
writing proper page titles and descriptions of what the page has on it. This makes it hard for Google to decide what the focus of the content
is and can effectively hamstring your site from ranking well. Another often overlooked element when people are completing a website is they
fail to make provision for people with disabilities - blind people use screen readers to read what the content is, and what the images depict.
This really is the bread and butter of SEO. When you get the technical SEO structure of the site correct, you are a long way towards
ranking well on search engines.
Like any business, you need to know who your direct competitors are, what they offer, what they offer that is better or worse than you, and
most importantly, learning how you can exploit areas where they may be weaker than you to gain a competitive advantage. SEO is no different.
We need to understand who your competitors are, and how well they are doing with their SEO efforts themselves. This is where some research
comes in to identify gaps that your competitors have not, or cannot exploit.
Let me explain what a backlink is and why it is important. Backlinks are links from other sites to your website. This is often in the form
of another site linking to an article or other content on your website. This is a ranking factor for Google and in general terms, having
quality backlinks from other quality websites will help you rank higher. It is a kind of wisdom of the crowds - the more people that endorse you
with links, the more Google will take notice and reward your content with a higher rank.
This is where SEO gets black, white and grey. As mentioned at the top of this page, there are companies / individuals out there that offer
guaranteed first page ranking. This is generally done by black hat means. What black hat generally means is getting a whole
heap of links to your page from as many sources as possible. This strategy used to work in the early days of SEO; however, the trick is up,
and Google and Bing are all over this kind of inflated backlinking and what is more, they will actively penalise your site for participating in
this kind of backlinking. You do hear stories of people who trusted said person who promised first page ranking, paid their money and got what
they paid for, top-ranking. Unfortunately, this lasts all of about two days before the Google algorithm realises what is going on and
de-index your page (this is kinda like website death). These penalties can range in severity and can take quite some time, effort and money
to overcome - but rest assured, if you get involved in this kind of activity, your site will spend some time in the penalty box. Not really
worth the short term gain, for the long term pain.
So you are much better off doing backlinking the hard way. Writing great content, sharing the content via social media and even approaching
reputable websites to link to your site. This approach takes time, effort and sometimes money but it is by far the best way for long term
success. Remember, one quality link from a quality site is better that 10 links from spammy sites.
Keyword research is the art of finding keywords that you can use in your website that people and hopefully your target readers / customers
will be looking for. Think of keywords as search terms. For example, Bill wants a red bike, so he types 'Red Bike' into his favorite
search engine. As SEO is a very competitive field, quite often the most desired keywords are so competitive from established competitors who
have written loads of content around that topic and have many backlinks to that topic that it is very hard to rank for that keyword. This is
where the hard work of diligently writing good content around that keyword comes in. Over time, you might be able to start competing for that
keyword. However, the beauty of Keyword Research is that you may discover that the search term Red Children's Bike is much less competitive
and something you can exploit. There is also the option of paying for Google Adwords too. This strategy will depend on first, your budget,
and second, how quick you want to rank for a particular keyword.
What do we offer at ADD+?
At ADD+ we can setup a strategy designed for your business, budget and goals. We can manage parts of the process such as technical audit and
setup, or the whole process from technical
research, backlinking and even writing site content. We also keep you informed by sending you a monthly report on how your SEO efforts are
going. To start the process, click the button below and tell us a bit about your project and your goals.