The aim of this article is to show you what works, what doesn’t in 2018 and what was working before but not now…
So, what is SEO?
Wikipedia – “SEO stand for search engine optimization is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results”
In short, it’s the way you optimize your website to get more free traffic.
There are good things about SEO and there are bad things about SEO.
Let’s talk about good things:
If you do your job right, Google will love you because all that Google wants is to give their users the best searching experience, therefor they will reward you with better rankings.
Let’s talk about the bad thing – as they have rewarded you with higher rankings; they can as easily take them away from you.
All your hard work over weeks, months, years can be wiped out overnight.
You see, anytime they change their algorithm, you’re at their mercy.
Simply because something that was a good practice and the right way of improving your rankings the new algorithm can later label it as the wrong, bad way of improving your rankings…
More about how to do it right in a few minutes…
Firstly, there is something you should know:
The History of SEO
(this way you will be able to recognize the wrong way of doing things)
Back in time, like at least 10 years ago, before Google wasn’t that smart, all you had to do is to ‘keyword’ your website.
Meaning, if you have a restaurant, all you had to put all over your website was – restaurant, restaurants in Ibiza, Ibiza restaurants, restaurant Ibiza food, etc.…
And good old Google would rank your site, smack on page #1 of Google.
The websites started to look a bit ridiculous with that kind of wording – as you can imagine, people started to use too many keywords on their site, which made no sense if you’d read what’s there.
Then some people started to use ‘black-hat’ techniques where they would place a whole bunch of keywords, all over the website where you couldn’t see them, because they were, in colour, of the website, but system aka Google, would pick it up anyway and rank the website.
Yeah, I know, weird, but it worked for some time.
Then Google got smarter, of course, all of that SEO ‘black-hat’ business stopped working and google finally started to execute so called ‘Google slaps’ to those kinds of websites.
Google slap means if your site would be on page #1 one day, another might end up on page 34, tough luck…
Then the era of keyword density started. Meaning you could still use keywords but no more than 1-3% i.e. You could only place keyword ‘restaurant Ibiza’ 1-3 times in every 100 words on your website….
If you had more, good old Google would ‘slap’ your website… you get the picture.
In about the same time, still in the old days, like 7 years ago, Google would analyse your page to see how many times you used a specific keyword.
In other words, they focused 100% on your page’s content.
So the Google spider would visit your page to check if your keyword appeared in your:
- H1 tag
- Title tag
- Description tag
- Image ALT text
Now pay attention to that part above, some charlatan companies still dare to sell you those outdated techniques as SEO services that work these days?!
Honestly, it pisses me off because they put a bad name on the digital marketing industry.
Anyway, good ‘luck’ to them, not sure it works to sell old under ‘new’… in this industry staying on top is a must, if you want to get any results…
As you remember, Google is not too happy when you use old techniques and it loves to give ‘slaps’
Another thing, many platforms like WordPress, and their premium themes, have an inbuilt SEO – meaning they will automatically optimize your site with h1 tags, descriptions, etc.
The one thing which helps, not so much for SEO, but more for user experience, is meta tag descriptions.
It means that you can write a description of your content, post, etc., so that when someone is searching on google and your site pops up, instead of google automatically pulling the description of your page’s content, it pulls the description you want your user to see… which is optimized for users to click through your website.
In the example below looks like Ibiza Spotlight did a good job, and Lio Restaurant didn’t do any descriptions. Well, I have no idea what they have done, but it looks like Google is pulling information automatically (by the way, this can be fixed easily.)
Back to 2018:
Google got smarter, much smarter, in fact, Google and Facebook know you better than you know yourself!
How does that work in real life?
It’s all about context – meaning, you don’t have to put a single keyword on your website and Google will know if you’re relevant or not.
All Google wants from you is to be relevant!
It’s been like this for past 4 years!!
And they will know if you are, whether you put keywords, meta tags or not… In fact, more you use those outdated techniques, it’s more likely that Google will slap you.
Google wants to give their users the best experience and it’s not too friendly to websites who still use old techniques.
Here is how Google operates these days, in 2016/2017/2018 I mean, then I will get to the ‘how-to’ part:
(Warning Geek part) There is a machine called Rankbrain.
“RankBrain is an algorithm learning, artificial intelligence system, the use of which was confirmed by Google on 26 October 2015.
It helps Google to process search results and provide more relevant search results for users.”
How it works?
“If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries or keywords.
Search queries are sorted into word vectors, also known as “distributed representations,” which are close to each other in terms of linguistic similarity. RankBrain attempts to map this query into words (entities) or clusters of words that have the best chance of matching it.
Therefore, RankBrain attempts to guess what people mean and records the results, which adapts the results to provide better user satisfaction.
It’s also able to parse patterns between searches that are seemingly unconnected, to understand how those searches are similar to each other.
Although Google has not admitted to any order of importance, only that Rankbrain is one of the three most important of its search ranking signals.”
Smart or what?
In short, Rankbrain measures how users interact with the search result and ranks them accordingly.
RankBrain focuses on two core things:
- How long someone spends on your website/page
If people spend a longer time on a page of your website, they probably like the content on that page.
With that said, if more people feel about your content the same way, Google will up-rank your page, that content on your website, to make it easier to find for users.
- CTR (Click Through Rate) The percentage of people that click on your content/result.
What that simply means is that if you have relevant content people will click on it more often aka higher CTR and Google will reward you with moving your page higher in the rankings.
Cool, or what?
So, if you want people to stay on your site for longer, you guess it, offer relevant content; good, original in depth content.
(Now you know why just adding keywords, tags, and god knows what ain’t’ workin’ anymore)
The How-To Part:
If you’re gonna write content, make sure you write at least 1000+ words.
This way, you can educate and cover everything the searcher/user needs to know about that subject.
In fact, some ranking factors study found that longer content (like long-form blog posts and or ultimate guides) ‘outranked’ short articles in Google.
While doing that, to help you stay relevant, use the words and phrases which are strongly associated with your page’s topic.
Then, make sure, if you want to rank your site, to allow comments for your posts.
Because, last year Google said “Community Through Comments Help a Lot with Ranking”.
And this year:
“Gary Illyes from Google said at the State of Search conference the other day that you are better off having comments and reactions to your content directly on your site than on third-party sites, like social networks.”
“Gary Illyes said that comments are better on-site for engagement signals for SEO than moving to social”
“In other words, Google wants to see that you have an active community on your site. And they’re likely to pay even more attention to this ranking signal in 2018.”
Comments = rankings!
While doing content why not do it for YouTube?
YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine, and Google loves it, well owns it…
Tip: create a video, post it on YouTube, write really good description which is relevant with the video and make sure you put links to your website.
Here are five more advanced SEO hacks to help you rank your site:
#1 – PR blasts
Create a PR release, then go to PR networks who will ‘blast it’ and then you’ll be published in about 2,000 off-line media and about 200-230 online media (numbers vary, of course)
These online media are mostly news sites aka authority websites meaning any backlink from them will give you a high value.
So, in less than a week, at a fraction of typical SEO, link building, this strategy kicks ass – I’ve used it before with a lot of success.
Shoot me an email and I can explain you all about it plus give you some other golden nuggets, which come with it.
#2 – Use tools like BuzzSumo and Mention.net to find who has mentioned your brand/s.
(Personally, I found Buzzsumo easier to use and it will show the backlinks too)
When you do a search, you’ll see who wrote what, when and where.
The idea is to have a backlink from their site to yours.
So got to their website, find your mention and see if they linked to your site.
If they did, great – do nothing, you’re all set.
If not, move onto the next task…
Which is to contact them and ask them to link back to your site…
So, you might wanna send them an email, introduce yourself, thank them for mentioning your name/brand on their site.
Tell them how you feel grateful for it and ask them if they’d be kind enough to put the link from that article back to your site.
Thank them again and hope for the best.
#3 – Here is an obvious one that so many businesses don’t do:
On your website make sure you have correct email, phone number and address. Even better embed the Google map of your business to your website.
Or even better create a Google+ page with all that data; address, phone, etc. – it’s free.
And create FB page, there too you can add your phone, address, email, working hours, etc.
You can also ‘optimise’ your FB page with descriptions, links to your website and pretty much with anything you want.
Google loves this stuff, the more places (review sites, directories, social media, etc.) you’re listed, the easier your business will be found and that also helps with SEO.
#4 – List your business on high authority sites like Yellow pages…
It’s free and the best part is because they are high authority sites the backlink from them will give you SEO value too.
Please remember it’s easier to rank locally than nationally, globally… so local directories are a must!
#5 – Make sure your website is mobile friendly and that it kicks ass
TechCrunch, March 16th, 2016:
“If your site isn’t easy to use on mobile, Google penalizes it by ranking it lower on its mobile search results pages. To give publishers even more of an incentive to offer mobile-friendly pages, Google today announced that, in May, it will increase the importance of having a mobile page, and sites that are not mobile-friendly will rank even lower than before.
As the company noted when it first introduced this as a ranking signal last year, the basic idea here is to give mobile users a better search experience.
Thankfully, most publishers have heeded the call and now offer pretty decent mobile pages.”
This started back in 2014 and quickly became a ranking signal too.
On the other hand, if your website isn’t mobile friendly your potential customers will simply go to your competitors.
People use phones daily to browse, buy, book, sell, message, check emails…
In short, if your site isn’t mobile friendly; you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot.
Click on the link below and check if your site is mobile friendly:
If you own a local business, techniques above will help you rank quite fast without you even need to spend a single cent on SEO marketing – thank me later.
On A Finishing Note:
If you want to rank your website, do a good proper SEO – be relevant, give good and engaging content, make sure to allow people to comment on your posts and build high quality links.
Forget about outdated techniques; they will only hurt you in a long run.
Now, not every business should worry about SEO.
Here is why;
- If you use the website as your business card, then you don’t have to worry about it too much.
- If you run paid online ads (and run them correctly), you will get SEO value by default as your website has lots of traffic and engaging visitors.
If you want your business to be found online, then make sure you do it right.
Maybe you’re pondering with this question in your head “Yes, Damir, this all sounds cool, but does it work?”
To what I say “put it to the test” – and thank me later 😉
Anyways, if you need any help with SEO, have any questions or you just wanna chat over coffee or wine while watching the sunset, shoot us an email ….