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What is SEO?

SEO is a buzz word that seems to grow in its popularity daily, and rightfully so. First, what is SEO? SEO is an acronym for ‘Search Engine Optimization.’ In short, it’s a process that includes ‘optimizing’ various signals that search engines like Google look at to determine where a website should rank in its free results.

For me, it all started in 2001. I had just developed my first successful website. I couldn’t afford traditional marketing like print. I decided to reach out to one of the first known SEO firms and was quoted about $5K/mo. Back then, that was like a million bucks to me. That’s when I decided to check out this new thing called ‘SEO.’

From 2001 to about 2005 you could really rank well simply by stuffing keywords into an HTML tag on your website known as the meta keyword tag. Additionally, you could do things like repeat the same word in your content, or even have the same colored text and background image to hide your words. It worked great, that was – until Google stepped up their game and their focus on giving search engine users, the best and most relevant results.

Fast forward a few years. In 2009 Google got rid of the Keyword Meta Tag as a ranking signal. Additionally, Google can (and will) penalize you for deploying deceptive practices that were once deemed ethical. Today, Google wants to know you have a website free of errors, one that loads quickly, and one that is relevant to what you do. Google wants to be able to easily crawl pages, and be able to easily determine what the content is about.  Second, Google wants to know your website is reputable. To do this, they rank your website based on how other reputable websites link to yours. For an example; let’s say your local newspaper links to your website. That’s an ‘endorsement’ or vote from a reputable website, to yours.

Today links are still a MAJOR factor that determines how a website should rank. Search Engine Optimization firms are supposed to fix the on-page signals and create virtual ‘handshakes’ through link development. Link development is an extremely time-consuming task, therefore, a lot of search engine optimization companies cut corners by deploying links through a network of owned blogs which are referred to as a PBN or ‘Private Blog Network.’ Additional sneaky tactics include embedding footer links across various websites, leaving comments on forums, or even participating in paid or automated link building.  Google calls these ‘link schemes‘ and can penalize your website, even if you had nothing to do with it.

If you’re currently participating in a search engine optimisation strategy and are uncertain about what your SEO provider is doing, it might be worth taking a second look under the hood. Additionally, I always recommend hiring an SEO Consultant who essentially acts as your ‘Digital Marketing Director’ to ensure your vendors are deploying tactics in your best interest.

Need help? Give me a call at 303-731-6588. Together we can make your business more fruitful, and the digital marketing space a more pleasant place.

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