Mastering the Love-Hate Relationship between Google and SEO
One thing I often say when working with clients to help boost their SEO is to think of Google as a person rather than a business, who you are trying to win over. There’s a lot that goes into improving your company’s page rank, and both onsite and offsite SEO need to be taken into account.
Onsite SEO encompasses your website, keywords, metatags, etc. that you have control over. When it comes to winning Google over, content really is king. The more you blog, post new content and keep your site looking fresh, the better chance you have of staying relevant in Google’s eyes. Websites that are hung up to dry and haven’t had a content makeover in quite some time may be flagged as abandoned, and Google won’t direct people to it.
Keeping your site looking fresh doesn’t have to be a constant chore either. It’s completely fine to repurpose old content, as long as you’re modifying it slightly each time. Keywords are also key; use sites like SpyFu to see what keywords your competitors are using in their content.
Website load time is also a crucial onsite SEO factor in winning over Google. It’s in Google’s best interest to keep the users happy by directing them to sites that load quickly and get them the information they need fastest. If your site is photo-and pixel-heavy and takes longer to load, Google very well may direct your potential customers to a competitor’s site, even if the keywords they searched were a better match for your products or services. Use tools like GT Metrix to see your website load speed. Also, always mobile optimize your sites now that the majority of people are browsing content from their phone or other devices.
Once you’ve taken care of all the onsite SEO, it’s time to tackle offsite SEO. The top priority is building out citations (aka directories) that are simple backlinks. A lot of people know they should backlink their content, but the reality is not a lot of people do it –or do it properly. There are hundreds of citations/directories you can have your company listed on that link back to your site. For Google, as long as you are on the ones they think you should be on, the more likely you are to improve your ranking. One thing to keep in mind is that some directories might have outdated information about your company, so do your due diligence and make sure all data is up to date.
Now let’s delve into backlinks, the “rocket booster” for SEO. A backlink can be as simple as a blog post that you shared on someone else’s website that links back to your site. But there are both good and bad backlinks, according to Google. To be on a good backlink list, the content posted on an external site that links back to your site has to be both authoritative and relevant to your industry. If it’s not, you run the risk of being tagged ‘no follow’ which means Google gives you no credit for it. Be careful of blind solicitations from link farms.
The reality is with SEO it becomes a constant dance trying to keep up with Google’s ever-changing algorithms and getting a company’s page rank higher. Some say it’s a love-hate relationship, but it definitely keeps our jobs interesting!
As for companies looking to boost their content with SEO, a common issue I’ve seen is that they don’t a) spend enough to make it worthwhile and b) they don’t spend enough time to run a successful campaign. Just like advertising, it’s all about testing out what works and what doesn’t. One thing is for sure:we appreciate the work PR pros do in publishing press releases about their client announcements and new product releases. Press releases are great backlinks, and the potential media coverage that could result from pitching out an announcement are as well!