Rumors to the contrary, SEO is very much alive. If there is one thing that is for sure, as long as there is value in ranking on the first page of search results, then businesses will want their sites there. It is, after all, the most valuable real estate. And, as the saying goes, location, location, location.
Now in a perfect, utopian world, the best sites would rank first. That requires an indisputable definition of “best” that can be quantified in an algorithm. As of now, that does not exist. So the algorithms rely on “signals” that indicate a site might be best such as inbound links, use of keywords, headlines, social mentions and the like. Because these metrics can be massaged, SEOs are needed to massage them just right. The best sites don’t rank first unfortunately, the best optimized sites do. And that’s why SEO practices are needed.
One alternative is to get everyone that wants to rank in your niche to agree not to SEO their sites. And if you believe that is possible, then there are some bridges in Brooklyn you should buy. As long as your competition has the time,money and desire to rank for the most profitable terms, they will be hiring the best SEOs that they can afford. Which means you will be left in their dust if you don’t at least put up a fight.
There are a few companies who are doing so well that they feel they don’t need to rank first online. I’m sure you know a few of these companies. Internet traffic is growing at a whopping 25% per year, do you know anything else that is growing that fast? Where is this growth coming from? It might be coming from yellow pages users who no longer feel it is necessary to pick up the 5 lb books to find a vendor. It might be coming from newspaper readers who can get their news instantaneously instead of waiting for the paper to be delivered the next morning. It might be coming from homeowners who are tired of wading through stacks of mail to find a carpenter for their bookcases and just grab their iPad and look up local carpenters. If you are still using the yellow pages, newspaper advertising or direct mail, you may want to consider organic search. And you might want to get a really good SEO to make up for lost time.
In case you are wondering who Matt Cutts is, check this out.
User experience is the buzzword among web designers and content strategists when it comes to evaluating a new or updated website. The example we will use for this article is found on this page about insurance software companies. It is this experience that determines how long a visitor stays on your page, whether the user interacts and engages with the subject matter enough to allow preselling. Without a visitor’s attention, a sale is difficult to achieve at best.
Customers have a very limited set of words that they use that describe what they care about. When a visitor arrives on your page, they must see those words to know immediately if this page has the answers they seek. If not, then they will click back to the search engine and find another site that answers their questions. The example shown in the image below aptly illustrates this point.
Your page must deliver new information and solve the viewer’s problem or meet their need. It must offer something that they weren’t aware of before. After reading, your viewer needs to be more likely to act as a result of the new information they have just read.
When reading, people focus in on the top of a page and then follow on to the first half of the first sentence. Will you grab their attention with the pages you’ve designed? When writing, think about these points that will impact how your page will be received: Who Cares? Is it a Compelling page? Is what you are explaining Clear? Is the information Complete? Is the information presented in a Concise manner? Is the information Correct? Focus in on these core principles and your pages, like the example shown, will result in traffic that sticks to your pages and produces happy visitors that engage and become prospects.
For more information on the insurance industry, check out this article.
Just yesterday, Chicagoseopros.org informed us that Google had another update to its algorithm. Many sites lost their page rank. Was yours one of these sites? If so, then you need to check a few things to make sure that your site is not violating any of the Google webmaster guidelines. If your site follows these guidelines to the letter, you need never worry about the next algorithm update.
One way to find out if your site is in penalty mode is to check your Google Analytics and the Webmaster tools for your site. You can find out about errors and cautions for your site there. If it was a Panda update that got your site, then your on page items are probably to blame. These include duplicate content, low quality content, not enough words on a page and the like. Your site’s pages might also be missing H1 tags (headline type tags that have the keyword in them) as well as tags for your photos. There is not much good that a picture tag “picture1″ can do for your site. You want to make sure that your picture tag is descriptive of the page content and uses the top keywords that you are trying to target in their alt tag. For example, a picture with an alt tag of “seo experts in Chicago” will help the experts at ChicagoSeoPros get more business than a picture that has a alt tag of “seopicture1″. Who searches for “seopicture1″ when they are doing a search? Absolutely no one. It does not answer a need-answering question whatsoever.
Similarly with videos or any other items that you might want to put onto your site. “Each page of your site should be about one subject,” remarks one of the experts at ChicagoSEOPros. People don’t expect all their questions answered in one sentence. Similarly, you should just answer one of their questions with one of your pages. If all your on page elements follow Google’s guidelines, then you should be well on your way to rank for those keywords.
For information on alt tags, see this information: