Unsolved Mystery: SEO
Remember the show Unsolved Mysteries? It explored things like UFOs, Big Foot, crop circles, and the Bermuda Triangle. If they decided to remake it today, SEO might be one of the things they try to explain. Back when websites first came into being, SEO was pretty easy. But as technology became more sophisticated and web developers learned to manipulate search engine results, SEO became more complex. I continually update my skills on SEO because the rules of the game keep changing. When I first joined the Chamber of Commerce, a business person contacted me to see if I could help him with his website. He said he'd paid a fortune for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) but had not had positive results. He didn't want me to fix his SEO, he wanted me to create a better website.
Like many people, he didn't understand how SEO works. Unfortunately, whomever he hired didn't either because his website was most likely being ignored by search engines because the written copy broke a few SEO 'rules' and didn't take advantage of some SEO indexing behaviors.
So, what went wrong?
1. The name of his company wasn't his domain name, which does contribute to SEO. In fact, it also didn't match the name on the company's Facebook page. That didn't affect SEO, but it raised questions of credibility and trustworthiness. It also was a lost branding opportunity. In fact the name of the company was misleading and gave the impression the company provided services for a different industry.
2. The words used on the website were not the words that their customer would most likely use to search for their services. This included the page titles, the headings and the body text.
3. Finally, at the bottom of each page was a listing of services, but it was repetitive; the same service was listed with every town in the county right after it.And then the next service listed over and over again with the same cities following it. Each line was linked to the same online form. An indexing bot would recognize the repetitiveness and not count it multiple times, rather it would read it as bad SEO and not count it.
SEO is hard, it takes time, thought and analysis. And unfortunately, since Google and Bing keep changing how their bots analyze website content, it must be continually reviewed.
How's your SEO? When you put in relevant search words that a prospective client might use, do you come up in the top 5 organic listings (organic are results that are not the paid listings that appear at the top of the page). If you don't appear on the first page at all, look at the sites that do. Find the meta tags and description in the page source. How do yours compare? How can you optimize your website to rank higher?