Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – What Actually Works?!

  8/24/15    Posted in Business Consulting Digital Marketing
Valintry is a Google Certified Partner that offers Digital Marketing Consulting Services

I have worked with about 15 different SEO professionals throughout my career in Marketing. All of them – every single one – had their own ideas that they believed would “work” to increase my company’s rankings. Most of these ideas were very different. For example, one SEO that worked for me created location specific pages that were virtually identical – another developed thousands of links (most of them outside the US) back to my site. Each one had another “trick” up their sleeve. Some of these techniques worked better than others. Ultimately the underlying strategy was the same – quality content on the website that matches what the audience you’re targeting is looking for and links from already-respected and established sites pointing back to your website. Most of them emphasized one or the other

The Evidence

Fortunately for all, a search engine industry stalwart, MOZ has developed a report that correlates components/strategies of SEO with the impact they have on Search Engine rankings. [Note – correlation does not mean causation – it just suggests there is a relationship between strategies and results]. This report significantly reduces the guessing or jockeying that plagued buyers/customers of SEO Consultants. There’s a lot of jargon in the link – what I want you to get out of this is there is empirical evidence of what works to get web traffic.

What you really need is an SEO working for you that does not let arrogance or pride get in the way of what gets results. Great SEO takes time, patience and investment, but it is just that – a long-term investment in the visibility of your business online.

I find this strategy is similar to looking for a Financial Advisor. When looking for an advisor, you should search for someone who is a student of the game and follows the “Best Practices” – someone who regularly attends recertification class, has some type of third party credential – and acts as your fiduciary  – required to make decisions for your betterment, not their own.

The Results of the SEO Study

Let me boil this MOZ research down for you; what increased rankings in 2015 was:

  • Content that is relevant to the keyword query that the search engine user typed in
  • Quality of Links to the page (externally and internally)
  • Recent Visits from Organic Google Search (success breeds success)

There are lots of subsets of things to look for within these broad rules of thumb, but these fundamentals have remained the core of professional SEOs since the late 1990s, when Google became a search engine leader.

There is always hype – for example, we keep hearing that “social signals” – links on social media accounts back to your website – help improve search engine rankings – the attached link proves there is a miniscule (if any) relationship between social activity and rankings!

Most importantly, a high ranking today does not at all correlate to a high ranking in the future. This means essentially that if you’re #1 now, you don’t get special treatment from Google. If you’re not excelling in the other areas of traffic, relevant content, and quality links, then the search engines will replace your site with a better one when it is found.

Why You Need an Expert

There are just some things that are better left to the experts. I love DIY projects and can wire a ceiling fan in record time, but am I qualified to install a new breaker? No. I call a licensed electrician for that – someone who knows how to make sure my house won’t burn down in an electrical fire.

Likewise – you should look to hire an expert SEO Consultant to handle this for your business. The best among us read the latest research, audit sites and compare them to the leaders, and can implement the changes they recommend.

And just like with Financial Advisors or Electricians, taking shortcuts or using bargain providers will get you what you pay for – misdirected advice and potential safety hazards, respectively.

My job as your SEO Consultant is (in part) to help you prioritize these activities based on the reward they provide and the investment you can afford to devote to SEO.

Would you hire a surgeon that didn’t tell you the risk/reward of the procedure she was going to perform? Wouldn’t you want that surgeon to be knowledgeable of the latest techniques and technologies available to successfully handle your diagnosis? I’m far from a brain surgeon, but I believe you deserve to understand what I’m doing for your business and why I believe it’s going to work.


Brent Healy is the Vice President of Digital Marketing Consulting for Valintry. Recently named a “Florida Company to Watch” finalist, Valintry provides Technology and Digital Marketing Consulting Services nationwide from our offices in Nashville, Dallas, and Orlando. He holds an MBA from the University of Florida and a BSBA in Marketing from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a Google-certified Partner.

 

The preceding was posted on LinkedIn on 8/24/2015