What Every Business Owner Must Know About SEO

Businessman drawing SEO concept on blurred abstract background

What Every Business Owner Must Know About SEO

Did you know that having your company’s web pages on the first page of Google search results comes at a huge cost?

Relax. Let me explain.

Either you’re paying as much as £65+ per click for AdWords ads (Pay per click) or you’re paying someone to craft quality contents and optimize your website with SEO (Search engine optimisation) or you’re paying in terms of lost sales to shrewd competitors who are using one (or both) of the first two.

Regardless, ranking high in Google doesn’t come for free. You’re either paying directly or indirectly.

Here’s a reason, in February 2016, Google removed paid listings from the right-hand side of search results leaving Ads to occupy as much as four of the top search results and a further two or three at the bottom. Hence, unpaid “organic” search listings are being forced out of the picture. This makes sense considering the fact that about 97% of the revenue Google needs to build self-driving cars and virtual reality gadgets still comes from pay-per-click ads.

However, it’s getting almost impossible to guarantee appearing in the top organic search results. If you do a Google search for “Water Damage Northamptonshire” for example, what you’ll most likely find is four paid listings up top, then a “map pack” with three local listings, which pushes organic listings further down the page. What’s more? Right below the map are listings from directories all of which are usually directories which you have to pay to be featured in.

What this means is that considering the strong competition to feature in Google search; no one gets a high ranking for free. This used to be possible a while ago but not anymore. And the earlier you understand that concept, the better.

Another harsh reality about search is that there’s no single formula to follow through if you want a high ranking from Google. For instance, there’s no laid down rule for how many words your web page should have, how many times a keyword should appear on a web page, or how many links to include on a web page. None of that matters, not anymore.

The truth is that Google uses multiple sets of rules or algorithms to decide on which pages gets higher rankings for search. One of those is the Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), which imitates the human mind to find patterns and meanings in web pages. For instance, a Google search for “shop for apples” could mean you want to buy fruits, but it also possibly means you’re looking for a computer. That’s why you’ll see search listings pointing to a nearby Apple store.

LSI is just one wonderful tool for Google users as it picks up on understated differences and shows you appropriate results. That means LSI is bad for those trying to outsmart the system. Because you can only write “locksmith” or “plumber in Northamptonshire” on a webpage so many times until Google finds out that you’re creating artificial content. And as a result, your website can be penalized.

By communicating with a number of practitioners, we learned that creating content for Google isn’t really about Google itself, it’s about people – your audience; who are they? Where are they? With what are they searching for help? What do they want?

When the content on your website successfully answers those questions – and inbound links from other websites recognize that value – you can get a higher ranking from Google. It is simple; but underpinned with immense complexity.

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