Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a rather large unwieldly and ever-changing practice that is time-consuming and mundane. Most of the time I recommend getting in a specialist in the SEO space, but it is important that before you go down that road, that you understand the basics of how it works.
Google in it’s drive to reward and promote good, relevant content, has over the years revised it’s indexing systems to fish out the authentic good content, from the artificially promoted smouse websites. These revisions in their algorithms are quite well refined now, and 90% of the sites promoted to the top positions in the Google Search Result listings being quality sites with well written authentic content.
In short, Google did it’s best in clubbing the Black Hat SEO tactics and rewarded those sites that produce solid content with real backlinks and quality reference comments/social media.
What is SEO?
It is the process of getting more visitors to your website, through free, natural and editorial content, which improves your ranking on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). That is it in very simple terms.
Black Hat vs White Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO is SEO that steps out of the preferred Google recommendations and exploits the easier, quicker ways to improve your SERP. These generally are a lot faster than the White Hat tactics, but if Google discovers you are using these short cuts, it takes a moer of a lot of work to get your site to be ranked well again. The short answer to Black Hat SEO, is basically not to do it.
White Hat SEO is the opposite, and it means that you conform to the recommendations that Google sets from time to time. It is slower, but in the long run, far more rewarding.
Black Hat examples:
- Paying for external links to your website
- Spam comments – basically comments that are not relevant to your blog, or paid for comments
- Doorway landing pages with keywords optimised to best draw people searching
- Keyword stuffing in your articles to try and force the search engines to rate your pages
- Inserting invisible text to rank better on the search engines
- Copy and Paste duplicate content
- Similar posts using copy and paste, but changing a few phrases and words, called Article Spinning
- Cloaking website content, by giving a Search Engine one content and offering the viewers another content
- Over optimising your content links inside the article
- Buying low quality directory links from directory listing services
- Replacing well ranked pages with different content to get the new content seen.
The above are only a few, don’t get sucked into using these short term solutions, stick to long term, above board SEO.
Hiring an SEO specialist
When you get to hiring a specialist, make sure they are going to do the work they promise, in other words, sticking to the White Hat SEO methods and that they document all the tasks they carry out to improve your SERPs.
To be honest, the ever-changing Google Algorithm and the amount of work needed to get your site found in natural search results, makes this a definite outsource task. Unless you are going to employ somebody just to handle the SEO for your firm.
White Hat SEO tips
There are way too many factors that contribute to good quality SEO, but I thought I would give you 3, just to give you a taste of what you can do, and get you hopefully to see a positive response.
Use the Google Keyword Planner to help find the best keywords, and implement them in your content, do this for the old and new articles you publish.( https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner)
Use the keyword in the title of your post, use the keyword in your article headings, use the keyword in the name and the “alt descriptions” of your images.
Have the keyword in the URL link for the article. (eg. www.yourlawfirm.co.za/buying_your_first_house.html)
Go through your article content and create links to your other articles on your website that discuss the topic or word you have mentioned.
Reach out to other website owners and ask them for a link to your site or an article you have posted. For example, if you wrote a great article on the pitfalls of buying your first home, reach out to a few estate agents to include the link in their article or on their website.