Here are some thoughts I have regarding SEO (I posted this to a message forum the other day, and thought it would make a good post here.)
Disclaimer – I rank extremely well for several excellent (and expensive) keywords in a very competitive industry. I’m talking top 3 to #1.
My basic SEO thoughts are fairly “quaint”. I feel Google (et al) logically wants to give searchers the best sites for their query. So I try and be that site. I don’t care about whatever silly little tricks of the moment are out there – I just have a solid website that I feel is the best, most informative site for my industry, and I keep it that way. I truly feel that approach is the winning approach over time.
- I do all of the backend stuff, like page titles, descriptions, I make sure Google has my sitemap, etc. WordPress has made this easy. I do admit to slipping on this a bit for pages I don’t care about.
- For competitive industries, “time online” does matter. This is an opinion, but it’s a strong one. I’ve been at this for more than a decade. I do think that helps Google in determining how useful a site / company is, and I’d bet it’s in their algorithm. You simply don’t last a decade-plus when you suck, and Google knows that (I realize this isn’t what you newer businesses want to hear.)
- I have good, clear content, and a lot of it. People actually read my website (at least the ones I want to read it do). Anyone looking for writing is going to spend a little time here. One way or another, I’m sure this matters to Google.
- My site is extremely easy to understand. No guesswork at all as to what I do.
- I do not spam keywords trying to get one page to rank for nine things (why do you people do this?) I basically make one page for each thing I’d like to rank for, and that’s that.
- I update and blog on a fairly regular basis. Nothing crazy, but you’ll never see my last blog post two months ago, either.
- I am patient. It took a long time to climb the rankings. If you need immediate traffic, try adwords.
Now, with all of that said, here’s another thing I have found out:
Adwords outperforms even a #1 ranking
I have tested this extensively. There is no other conclusion I can reach – with competitive industries that have the full boat of ads (meaning three up top and a full list on the right) adwords beats organic rankings.
I *do* think that having a page one organic ranking *and* an adwords ad is a very strong combination. It lends a ton of credibility.