How to Recognize Search Engine Optimization Expertise
Seven years ago, the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) game was just that: a game. If you wanted to get your website onto the coveted first page of Google for your desired keywords, it was a simple matter of stuffing those keywords into your website while still creating semi-coherent sentences. Thankfully, search engine algorithms evolved over time so we no longer suffer through Halloween costume sites telling us they can help us “find everything from Halloween history, Halloween greeting cards, Halloween screensavers, Halloween jokes…” and so on. (We wish we were kidding!)
Today, optimizing your website for search engines requires a delicate balance between content production, website technology and internet marketing best practices. The main concern is helping search engines recognize that your site has “quality content” and “a good user experience.” The following can help you determine whether your preferred SEO provider is up-to-date on industry trends or still using unsightly practices from years past.
Meta tags are nice to have, but not “game changers”
Due to abuse from Internet marketers in the early days of SEO, Meta tags are no longer the ranking influencers they once were. The most common ones you might hear about are the Meta Title, Meta Description, and Meta Keyword tags. Meta Keywords, thanks to years of keyword-stuffing abuse from Internet marketers, are no longer valuable to search engines; however, Meta Keywords can still be useful for your internal website search function.
The Title and Description are still valuable since search engine results pages (SERPs) take their cues from these tags. In other words, what you enter as your Meta Title and Meta Description is what displays on SERPs. (Note: there are character limits for Titles and Descriptions, though.)
Focus your time on creating valuable content, and the links will come
Once upon a time, “link farming” (paying for others to link to your website) and “link exchanging” (“I’ll link to your site if you link to mine”) would have gotten you results. Now, search engines have extremely complex methodologies for determining what sites are and are not trusted sources of information. Focus your time, energy and resources on creating quality content that your audience will deem valuable and worthy of linking to or sharing.
And remember: you can always transform your older content into other formats! The more valuable content you have for search engines to find, the happier they’ll be. The more relevant and engaging content you create for your audience, the happier they’ll be (and they might even share it with their friends).
More traffic is nice, but conversions are better
No one will ever say that getting more visitors to your website is a bad thing. But what if new visitors are leaving your website without doing anything? Is it easy for a website visitor to find whatever content/information they’re looking for within a few seconds or mouse clicks or finger taps?
“Success” will always be dependent on your specific business goals, not how your website ranks on Google or how many site visitors you have. If you need to see more email newsletter sign-ups on your website, what are you doing to highlight your sign-up form? If you want more contact form submissions, how often are you linking to that contact form from other pages on your website? Always keep your business goals and their related metrics in mind, and funnel users into performing those actions you want them to take.
The technological side of SEO is more important than ever
While search engines continue to adjust their algorithms and their views on what is/is not acceptable practice, the technological side of SEO remains largely the same. There is a long list of technical items/information search engines generally want to see on your website, such as an up-to-date sitemap of all your pages, how well your URLs match your page titles, a list of pages you do not want search engines to index, and more.
Depending on how your website was built, editing or creating these items may require assistance or be as easy as adjusting some settings within an existing plugin. For a more in-depth look at the technological requirements of SEO and how Tripepi Smith handles these items with clients, please check out our Insights article, “9-Item Checklist for a Search Engine-Friendly Website.”
Let us help
At Tripepi Smith, we specialize in the combination of Technology, Marketing and Public Affairs. Our business analysts can help you determine how well your website conforms to search engine requirements, as well as how to further optimize your desired conversions. Contact us today to learn how we can help make your website the best it can be.