The Reality about SEO

What it requires to get ranked and stay there comes down to a few essentials

In Brief:

  • Behavioral signals are far more important to ranking than in recent years.
  • Organic traffic is still the most important traffic channel for business.
  • Search engines have evolved to make their systems hard to “game” with trickery.

Actionable Insights

  • Efficient use of existing resources is a key success factor for SEO.
  • Long-term ROI comes from wisely incorporating SEO into PR, Marketing and Business Development operations.
  • Every team member involved in customer-facing content should understand the basics of SEO.

Getting Ranked in Organic Listings Can Be Difficult, But We Can Help You Use Resources Wisely

Major Ranking Factor CategoriesTo be ranked in the organic listings, your site must have some qualities that the search engines have learned to trust.  Among these are

  • Incoming links from other trusted sites relevant to your business.
  • Achieving high “click through” rate from the search results.
  • Achieving higher “dwell time” on your site with engaging content.
  • Growing independent evidence that your customers love you (reviews, ratings, mentions.)

“Natural” links to your site from other relevant sites is still one of the most effective and hardest SEO tasks to accomplish.  The very fact  that it’s difficult to “game” this process is why search engines continue to use it so heavily as a ranking factor.

The Challenge of Ranking with Limited Resources

Things have shifted as the search engines matured.  There is a lot more intelligence (AI) in the algorithms they use and the ways they choose what to rank is driven much more by user behavior than ever.  In short, they working to simulate the searcher’s behavior and judgment.  When we talked with a Google engineer at a recent conference, they said: “We want Google to be like the best librarian in the world, neutral, open, but very knowledgeable about where to find the best possible content for any question.”   This desire by Google engineers to make the search engine act like a human librarian has led them to increasingly leverage behavior signals into account when ranking pages.  As big data and artificial intelligence are further utilized in the rank algorithm, you must create content with real value, aimed at real people’s needs.

But even now, some businesses choose to forgo 80% of potential traffic – with potentially large opportunity cost.   Why is this?   Well, here are some reasons I’ve encountered.

  • Lack of reliable, trustworthy information about SEO as it relates to their business.
  • It’s hard to create interesting content that follows keyword research.
  • The “SEO slog” takes patience – a fast return is required to continue support of the program.
  • People want written guarantees for money they spend.
  • Some SEO work requires changes to their website’s look or style.
  • SEO on specific search phrases requires more “deliberate”, substantive blogging, FAQ or cornerstone content creation.
  • Some companies have been “burned” by SEO consultants or agencies in the past.

Investing in good advice and consulting can help you become far more competitive, much more quickly, by avoiding mistakes and using your available resources where they matter most.