Do you ever feel like search engine optimization is less of a business and marketing tactic and more of a dark art like alchemy? If so, you certainly aren't alone. In my experience, businesspeople of all stripes know they need to attract a small sliver of Google's 2 billion daily hits but aren’t sure how to go about moving up in the search rankings. They’ve read contradictory tips, heard all the old and outdated advice, and have even paid consultants who didn't deliver on their promises.
In other words, they've tried to take steps to succeed on Google but haven't gotten the results they hoped for. And in each case they were left to wonder: why is good SEO advice so hard to find? Today, I want to take a quick look at the biggest answers to that question, and to see what they mean for business owners who want to get things right...
Google Doesn't Give Direct Guidelines for SEO
It would be nice if Google would simply tell you how to optimize your site to rank well in searches, but that's never going to happen in a direct way. It can't. For one thing, if Google were to suddenly publicize the details of its top-secret search formula, we would be overrun with unethical marketers who would discover new ways to game the system overnight. Google has become the world's most valuable company because it has something its competitors don’t. You can bet they aren’t going to give up that advantage anytime soon.
Search Algorithms are Always Changing
Even supposing that Google would tell you exactly how its search algorithm operates, that information would go out of date pretty quickly. In addition to the major updates to the formula — think Penguins and Pandas — there are dozens of small adjustments that are implemented each and every week. Add to that the fact that big tweaks concerning mobile compatibility and link strength keep coming, along with a competitive landscape that is always moving, and it’s easy to see why there couldn't ever be an unchanging formula to follow.
Individual Searchers See Different Results
Marketers tend to think Google search results are what they are, but the reality is that each user gets a personalized result based on whatever they enter into the engine. These may be nearly identical in some circumstances, but wildly different in others. For instance, geography, past search history, and even device or browser type can all affect the search results someone will get from a given Google query. For that reason, SEO isn't necessarily about getting a 'top ranking', but being visible to the customers who are most likely to buy from you.
How do You Succeed at SEO With Inconsistent Information?
When you put all of these factors together, you realize that what you need isn't a search engine optimization formula or cheat sheet — it's a comprehensive online marketing plan that adjusts for a changing landscape and moves you closer to your bottom-line goals. You want a strategy that will incorporate the latest organic search visibility tactics, along with best practices in social media, pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, and even online reputation management. You want to use every tool that can help you grow your business, but not be dependent on any of them. What you certainly shouldn't do is tie the success of your business to a gimmick that might stop working in a matter of time.
Good search engine optimization advice is hard to find because business owners look for easy answers that aren't there. Being visible to your customers is about many different pieces and habits working together, rather than emphasizing some obscure algorithmic loophole that might be closed in a few weeks.
At One Hat Web Design, we know a lot about what it takes to rank well on Google. Even more importantly, however, we know what it takes to apply that information to a client's specific circumstances and challenges to get the right results. If you're ready to stop chasing random tips and outdated tactics — and start using your website to make your business more profitable — than we want to hear from you. Call our office today to set up a free consultation.