Being a word guy, I’m very pleased that Google’s Penguin algorithm, released last Spring has made the art and science of search engine optimization more focused on the art part of it.
It used to be that you had to hire a computer geek to embed your site with all sorts of links, crazy keywords that had nothing to do with your site, and other tactics that, more often than not, were trying to “trick” Google into listing your Web site prominently on the SERPs Search Engine Results Pages.
Google is smart. It employs very smart people. You can’t outsmart Google. So what can you do?
You can focus on creating great content. Words matter. They always have and always will.
The “old” Internet age phrase, “Content is King” is more and more true, as Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines continue to refine their search algorithms to serve up relevant, current, and pleasing content to those that use their search engines.
Also, your customers have gotten a lot smarter about finding your site. They search differently than they did just five years ago. They use better keywords to generate a more appropriate result. For example, years ago to find a free checking account, one might have entered the words, free checking account, and hit “Search.” Today, that same person might enter “Free checking account” and “Kansas City”, producing a result that is more relevant and focused.
Yes, there are still things you need to do, programming-wise, to ensure that your site has a fighting chance to display prominently in search engine results. I do recommend that you hire competent and ethical SEO help. But I also recommend that you place high value on those people who can wordsmith your site into prominent search results and stronger on-site conversions – people buying things or completing online forms.
Words, it turns out, are what people and search engines trust and value.
The URL, the page title, the H1 headline, and the first paragraph – Make sure that these elements are congruent (aligned for you word-challenged folk!). These are the relatively easy, must-have elements of SEO. There are many other SEO elements that will add value, but they will do little or nothing if these must-haves are not in place.
Your SEO efforts should definitely start with words. I know a great word guy, if you need one. ; )