Things have changed much since the late 1990’s, and modern SEO is much different. In fact, it has much more to do with web marketing.
SEO – For many businesses (and the departments they employ), it’s a three letter word of DOOM!! SEO or Search Engine Optimization has been a thorn in the side of both small and huge business owners, confounding all but the most “gifted” of programmers and webite DIYers. Originally, SEO was “going into code and fixing it up so that it was more search engine friendly”. “…You essentially had to add a whole bunch of attributes to make it readable by the search engines”, so that your website/business would be at the top of the search, traffic gets directed there and you make the sale, get the views/the ad revenue, etc…
Much has changed…
Without angering too many people, I think it’s safe to say that the search engine giant of today (and probably the last 15 years…) is Google. And part of what makes google’s search engine so thorough is it’s ability to effectively “read” sites. So code has taken a backseat to content (content is king, you’ll hear that here and in a lot of videos, both past and present). Also, marketing, social media and the ability to make these things work synergistically with each other further enhances the efficacy of the infamous SEO. Our video down below explains it best (and all while holding/gesturing/not spilling a hot coffee no less 😉 ).
In the last year or so, Google has basically turned the whole SEO industry on its’ head: once coveted ‘techniques’ and strategies that permeated the SEO industry, actually went from being a benefit to websites to sometimes being the cause of their doom.
… Many, many highly ‘optimized’ sites got taken to the woodshed (and then behind the woodshed!) because of SEO!
Why did the vast majority of SEO fail?
In a nutshell: most SEO techniques gamed the system.
Rather than structuring websites (and their web marketing efforts) in a way that the Web wants, most SEO firms went the route of trying to exploit weaknesses in the search engines.
… Any system based on loopholes, will eventually get wrecked as those holes are filled. Common SEO practices suffered the same fate.
Not all sites got killed – why?
Some people realized a long time ago, that SEO practices and strategies based on loopholes, was not the way to go. A very few forward thinking web masters, adopted a long term view of SEO and web marketing practices and as such, the avoided the trashing and thrashing the others got.
… If you want to properly promote your site, you need to understand how to be forward thinking. That what’s I’ve always practiced at KillerSites and that’s why all our sites still rank well in the engines …. for well over a decade now.
How to Value Domain Names A nerdâ€™s Guide to the Business of Domain Names
Domain name speculation is a game/business that started the 1990â€™s, where less than savvy investors got hosed and bought up domains for huge sums of money … sometimes in the millions.
Like any speculative bubble, once the public smells easy money, whole industries are created and the game goes on until there arenâ€™t any suckers left. See housing and the .com bubble days for examples.
Domain Name Speculators
There is now a class of web entrepreneur – people who buy domains and then they try to flip them for huge profit. People who buy to flip, are speculators. Speculator is a nice name for gambler.
Beware: the game of domain name flipping is pretty much the same as the game of house flipping … once people figure out that much of the perceived value is just a bunch of crap, the fake value crashes.
Every once in a while, something very big happens that affects the Web in general. Recently the iPad came out blowing away the market and effectively shutting down Flash by not allowing Flash to run on iPads.
… Yes, Flash is dying.
Unlimited Domain Names
The nerd powers that be, have just opened up the domain name market where any extension (suffix) is possible; no longer are we limited to .com, .net, .org etc … anything can go!!
That said, it ain’t cheap but it should still help put an end to the volture-like, blood sucking industry of after market domain names and cyber squatting losers, who can’t come up with anything more original than buying up a bunch of domain names, hoping to bilk someone in a resale.
From the article:
… people and companies will be able to set up a website with almost any address by the end of next year, if they have a legitimate claim to the domain name and can pay a hefty fee.
The Internet body that oversees domain names voted Monday to end restricting them to suffixes like .com or .gov and will receive applications for new names as of Jan. 12, with the first approvals likely by the end of 2012.
And they can be in any characters — Cyrillic, Kanji or Devanagari, for instance, for users of Russian, Japanese and Hindi.
This is a question that I get put to me every so often … it goes something like:
I noticed you get millions of pageviews a month and was wondering what SEO tricks or tips you may have .. how did you do it? How do you get Google to rank your websites so well?
I don’t have all the answers, and I doubt anyone does since Google keeps their algorithm secret. But over the years, having managed and built several high ranking websites, I can identify one key thing you can do: be honest with Google and your web site visitors.
Honest with Google .. in what way?
One of the first tips I got about websites back in the mid 1990’s was that Content is King. And all these years later, it still is.
The symbiotic relationship with Google
Google NEEDS good content to point to; their business depends on it. And we lowly web site owners need Google (all search engines) to point to us – our business probably depends on it. Keep that in mind as you build your websites and that will go a long way to successfully positioning your web site on Google.
Yes, there is a lot more you can do, but these two simple ideas form the foundation of any successful Google relationship.
After weeks of being good and not eating much junk food, I decided to treat myself to a steak submarine – 14 inchs no less! Anyway, within a few hours, I started to get those creepy-crawly’s in my legs and this morning, after having a tea, I started to feel like gagging.
Lesson learned: no more subs and junk food. OK, back to web design business …
In the following video, I go over why you should keep you website looking active and I provide five tips on how to do this. But, just in case you don’t have time to watch a video, here are the bullet points:
Keep the copyright notice up-to-date.
Add a last ‘updated note’ – for example: Last update February 21st 2010
Every now and then I post a blog entry based on emails that I get. This time, someone asked a bunch of questions about SEO and gaining organic position on the search engines.
Because I am a lazy guy, I am just writing the answers to the questions … I think you can figure out what the questions were.
My ‘killer’ SEO reality-check tips:
No one can guarantee #1 listings … not even Google! There is constant competition and thus positions will shift with time.
…. But, you can improve your positions on the search engines with proper SEO and web marketing efforts. In todays world, where there are a lot of websites to compete against … it takes work.
Are there ONLY three people in all of Australia who know how to position sites on Google properly? I doubt it … and I think there are probably more. On the other hand, there are a lot of people who CLAIM they know what they are doing yet they have nothing to show for it!
Would you need to rebuild your website completely – to be search engine friendly? Probably not, but you may have to restructure things if it is a really big mess SEO wise.
NOTE: SEO is the acronym for: â€™search engine optimizationâ€™. This is the process of making your web pages more search engine â€˜friendlyâ€™ by tweaking code and content.
Choosing a proper domain name can have a huge impact in terms of how it affects your positions in the search engines and your overall traffic.
THE 3 CRITICAL FACTORS
The domain name should contain key words.
The domain name should be as short as possible – easy to remember and easy to type in.
The domain name is slightly better off as a .com over say a .net, org etc …
1. KEY WORDS IN YOUR DOMAIN NAME
No one knows the exact algorithms that the search engines use to determine who ranks higher. But you can learn a lot when you have several websites that get a lot of traffic …
One thing I have discovered over the years, is that keywords in a domain name do have a serious impact as far as the search engines are concerned. That said, MSN seems to hold it as being more important than the other 2 major search engines: Google and Yahoo!
The point is that you should start your SEO (search engine optimization) work BEFORE you even register your domain name. Try to choose a domain that contains a good keyword.
2. SHORT DOMAIN NAMES ARE EASY TO REMEMBER
I think this one is obvious … if your domain name is:
… chances are people will have a hard time remembering it! Instead something like ‘www.fandogs.com’ would be much better.
3. WHY ARE .COM DOMAINS BETTER?
Less to do with search engines and everything to do with the fact that most people will type in ‘.com’ before .net or anything else.
For that reason alone, try to register a .com before anything else.
These days people are really interested in web traffic – big web traffic. But one thing that many web designers don’t consider, is the quality of traffic.
NOTE: SEO is the acronym for: ‘search engine optimization’. This is the process of making your web pages more search engine ‘friendly’ by tweaking code and content.
NOT ALL WEB TRAFFIC IS CREATED EQUAL
People love counting page-views and unique visits but from my perspective, if the traffic sucks, who cares if you get 100 000 visits a day!
HOW TO DETERMINE THE QUALITY OF WEB TRAFFIC
How long people stay your website
Your conversion rate – if you sell stuff.
How many bookmark/’add-to-favorite’ your website.
How many people visit your website by directly typing in your web address.
You know your traffic (probably*) sucks if are people leave right away, don’t buy anything, never bookmark your site etc ..
You can determine what the numbers are for the above points, with a good stats program.
* People could also be leaving because your website sucks – bad usability etc.
THE MORE SPECIFIC THE SEARCH TERM/PRASE – THE BETTER
Let’s say you sell Irish Setters and you have good rating for the key word: ‘dogs’. And since lots of people search using the ‘dogs’ key word, you get lots of ‘dog’ traffic.
I called it ‘dog’ traffic because what you find, is that the vast majority of your audience is NOT looking for Irish Setters, most are looking for information about (all the) other types of dogs in the world …. and that’s if your lucky!
Who knows, maybe they are looking for information on bad stocks (a la stock market,) or maybe on not so attractive women … it’s hard to say with such a loose/broad search term.
OK, LET’S GET BETTER TRAFFIC
With this understanding, you now decide to target ‘Irish Setters’, and with work and luck, you get good position in the search engines. But now, you’ve lost your top ‘dog’ position … dog dangit!
But is it really bad news? Well no, because you now find yourself getting people who are actually interested in what you are offering (Irish Setters) and as such, sales go up AND you get more return traffic.
WHY GOOGLE TRAFFIC IS BETTER FOR BUSINESS
To the point: people who reach you from other websites are typically ‘browsers’. These people are not ready to ‘pull the trigger’ on anything specific, they are simply snooping about not ready to commit … that’s why search engine traffic CAN BE much better.
HOW WEBSITE CAN DELIVER GREAT TRAFFIC
That said, some websites can deliver great traffic, if they are designed to filter/clean up traffic properly.
For example: if my website has a link to your Irish Setter selling website, and the link text reads:
‘Buy superb Irish Setters’
Chances are that people who click through from my website to yours, will be more likely to want to buy an Irish Setter from you. If on the other hand, my link text read: ‘free Irish Setter Information’, the quality of the traffic will decrease – you’ll be getting a bunch of free-loaders!
Don’t waste your time chasing sucky traffic … go for the ‘killer’ traffic.