SEO is not ADWORDS but the two are not mutually exclusive. The intention of this post is to show one important feature of SEO. Consequently, I think this is the MOST IMPORTANT SEO TIP because it affects search engines, adwords and humans. If you haven’t guessed what the SEO tip is yet, it is to
write web pages with RELEVANT text and context
Firstly, I’m not afraid to say that I have been using the internet, instructing or advising users and creating web pages since before SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and even before Google existed. I have seen some very interesting tactics to get pages noticed that have worked well, and also those which can bring a business down – blacklisted in the Search Engine Hall of Shame for eternity (or until a significant amount of money and time have been passed). I frequently chat with clients (and anyone who asks) about how to make a website search engine friendly and also human friendly. Most people just want to be number 1 and because they don’t understand the process, unfortunately, can spend far too much money and receive little reward.
Humans are your real audience
In ‘design school’ (not a real place) we are taught that humans are lazy. Humans will not scroll, they will not read paragraphs. More than 2 clicks to find something and humans are bored. Simplify everything. Use bullet points. Don’t write in long sentences or use big words. I think you get the idea. If you think about it, and think about how you yourself scan webpages when you are looking for something, with deep regret you may realise that ‘design school’ was right.
EXCEPT every now and then, when you really want to know more, or have to make a decision, or can’t be bothered calling and speaking to another human, or it is 3 am, that extra information is the one thing that sets one webpage above the others. The human reader finds out more, they develop a trust and over the course of the article they make a decision. I want this or I don’t want this, I like this or I don’t like this, I care or I don’t care, I trust this information or I don’t. Human readers need your information condensed but they also need to see that your website is the one they should trust. You are the expert, the guru. Prove it. It doesn’t matter if your website is about houses or candles, skin care or mining apparatus.
Search Engines help humans find you
Search Engines use equations, algorithms, when they access your website and through these determine how your page should rank. The ranking is known as organic result listing. Organic listings are free. These algorithms change all the time and every search engine uses a different algorithm. (Side Note: Google is not the only search engine! There is BING! Ask.com, Yahoo! Baidu (China), Wolframalpha etc.)
One particular algorithmic measurement that has always been relevant is the text on the page. It is interesting to see clients’ web pages with very little text and many pretty images and they want to know why their website does not rank within the first 20 search pages. Sure it looks great, but how will a computational algorithm know what this page is about? Yes, use descriptive image file names, captions, alt tags. Use Meta tags. Use keyword URLs. If you and your competitors are doing this – what is the differentiator? What sets you apart from the others? Search engines can’t see how pretty your pictures are. Search engines can’t read the text that is in an image or picture. Search engines are looking for relevant data.
Text and Context help search engines to promote you
This is where CONTEXT comes into play. I could be talking about SEO Tip this, SEO that. I can plant the keywords SEO tip in every second sentence. For humans this would be a very repetitive read and probably not very interesting. For search engine robots or web crawlers this is a big red cross. You may not care, but this is part of Google’s penguin algorithm which began in 2012 and is still being amended. Basically, a search engine will look at all the text, determine the keywords and rank based on the words describing, surrounding, enforcing, proving your keyword.
This is context. Computers are now smart enough to define your words and language. Say what you want in different ways. Write for humans in a natural language. This algorithmic method is called semantic search. What does everything mean when put together? The more context added to the keywords, the more the algorithms can determine your intent and therefore RELEVANCY. Don’t be afraid to write too much text. Just ensure that the top part of your articles has the most relevant data. Search engines get bored just like humans do.
And then there is Adwords
Aahh… Adwords. Welcome to the biggest sink hole of cash in advertising today. Adwords works while you are paying for it as long as you are doing it right. Adwords works by the RELEVANCE OF YOUR KEYWORDS. (Among other things but we aren’t talking about those right now.) See above for how to get relevance. If your SEO is on fire (good), your Adwords campaign *should also go well. If your Adwords campaign is going well, this can positively effect your Search engine rank. And, this positive effect is residual even after your campaign is over. Note this does depend on other factors as well.
This SEO Tip will save your pennies
This post really wants you to know that you must sort out your SEO first, providing relevant text and context to rank well for humans and search engines. You can do this yourself or hire a copy writer. Most of all, don’t fall headfirst into the first SEO expert you see. You know your business better than anyone. Write about it. Optimise. THEN fire up an Adwords campaign.