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SEO: There Is No Secret Sauce

Insights  //   //  By Kim Canton

Maintaining and improving your ranking in a Google search is the diet & exercise of marketing. It never ends, it’s a lot of hard work, but your business is going to run so much better because of it.

How to rank first in a Google search is top of mind for just about every business these days. Gone are the days when you could simply slap a couple of As in front of your name to capture the coveted front spot in that big yellow book we all used to all have in our homes.

Now there are algorithms, keywords, GoogleAds and coding to contend with — and to make it worse, depending on what you read, the rules seem to be changing all the time.

SEO is a complicated problem to address and remedy, which is probably why there is so much misinformation floating around, the most damaging of which claims that there are easy coding hacks that will “trick” Google into improving your ranking.

There are lots of articles that will detail “black hat” vs “white hat” tactics and explain the problems with “keyword stuffing” and other quick fixes. In our experience, however, learning how to improve your SEO really starts with a proper understanding of what SEO is, and how it is measured.

In a nutshell, SEO is a popularity contest judged by increasingly smart algorithms.

What does this mean for the average business owner? Simply this: no matter what your business is, you need to show Google that you are an authority on your subject matter — and you have to do that in terms that Google understands.

Here are some of the ways you can do that:

  • Build a refined website that makes it easier for Google to favourably index your content
  • Make sure that your site is mobile friendly
  • Research and seamlessly integrate keywords and phrases that are likely to be searched by your intended audience. (We did this in the very first sentence of this post!)*
  • Engage a marketing partner to create good, strong, strategic content in the body of your website.
  • Optimize the organization of your site content. There are lots of ways to do this, but it’s best done by, or in consultation with, a web design/development team, so that a) your site won’t end up looking clunky & amateurish and b) you know that you’re following up-to-date recommendations
  • Increase your exposure on the web through ongoing content marketing, PR campaigns and social media marketing
  • Contribute articles or guest blogs to other companies or organizations
    Get in the news — links from reputable news organizations are very valuable
  • Avoid SEO services that claim immediate success. Even Google AdWords can have mixed results, and is not the answer for all business types. Focus instead on making the changes above.
  • Remember that SEO is a moving target. Rankings change daily. If you want to stay on top, you will have to ensure your content is refreshed frequently, or you’ll be bumped to the back of the line by your competitors.

You get the idea — put simply, you need to create a solid digital marketing plan and follow through with it diligently — easy to say, hard work to do.
So no, there is no secret sauce. But here’s the good news: the things you need to do to fix your SEO problem are pretty much the same things you need to do to maximize your digital marketing ROI. And your business is going to be that much healthier for your efforts.

* Elsewhere too. Send us a note with every SEO keyword we’ve included and we’ll send back three SEO recommendations for your site.