An original post shared in 2017 and updated 9/16/2019. It was about friggin’ time.
HI! If you’re into complete transparency, sarcasm, and the occasional cuss word…shit’s about to go DAHN (down). If you land on this post, and you’re from the ‘Burgh—go Stillers (Steelers)!
Two facts – I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and SEO keeps me up at night. Nothing to do with the latter fact, but, if you’re not sure what Pittsburghese is – watch a video of Pittsburgh Dad at Ikea. We can at least all relate to the utter confusion of that place, right?
Erm, back to the post…
Whether yinz (you) already work with a digital marketing team, are looking for one, or your doing the SEO work in-hahs (house)—there are some key items that should be a part of the discussion about your website SEO strategy.
The importance of SEO goes way beyond deez (these) red flags, however, being aware of these topics will help you talk to your web developer or designer about what’s best for your website long term.
SEO Red Flags to Watch Aht (Out) for
How fast your website loads isn’t part of the discussion.
Technical SEO is not incorporated into the code, content, or strategy.
There are several ways to approach your online presence, one being a more advanced route through technical SEO. This approach includes some fundamental steps for success, including old and new-school techniques. Two very important best practices to incorporate here are page speed and mobile-friendliness.
If you’ve recently launched your website, for example, and are waiting to see an increase in traffic or a boost in organic search, page speed and mobile provide two key areas for you to look and see if your website’s bones are weak. Writing thousands of pieces of valuable content n’at (and that) means nothing without solid grahnd (ground) to stand on.
Other technical SEO best practices should include:
- Sitemap review – Check for “orphaned” pages and don’t show pages you don’t want to rank.
- Internal link auditing – Jano (did you know) if you change a page URL, that you need to 301 redirect it?
- Getting rid of duplicate pages – You know when you’re writing a blog and you just want to add as many categories and tags as possible? All of those can potentially show as pages, creating duplicate content on your website.
- Preventing the indexation of non-SEO value pages – Your “Thank You” page has been canceled…by Google.
- Checking on indexing of pages – PLEASE make sure you have a Webmaster Tools account setup, and check in on your website here often.
- Ensuring important resources are able to be crawled – If your top level /blog page isn’t set to be indexed…crawlers may actually never see your posts.
Check Your Website
If they don’t explain why just adding “keywords” doesn’t do anything.
It’s like iss (like this): Google is super smart. Their AI is even creating their own AI. Using keywords is now much more of a challenge because you have to develop content that makes sense to your audience to backup the keyword(s) you’re talking abaht (about). If your audience doesn’t want to connect to the content, your keyword strategy goes right aht (out) the window. And, probably your rankings too. Making your content a priority is necessary deez (these) days. You will rank higher by creating engaging, and unique content that users want to interact with, and share.
Marketing strategy or planning is rarely mentioned.
Developing a marketing strategy for your products and services will help you define your goals and create actionable steps to achieve them. Business and marketing website the balance suggests starting with your unique selling proposition. This is the single most important sentence to your strategy, as it describes the essence of your business.
Business owners sometimes forget the true focal point of their website: their target audience(s). Try this buyer persona questionnaire to dig deep and find out who they truly are before investing resources into your content.
They don’t get real on-site versus off-site search engine optimization.
Though very different, both SEO techniques have the same goal—to bring high-quality traffic to your website. Because of this fact, on-site and off-site SEO directly influence each other, so implementing one without the other doesn’t make a lot of sense.
You have the most control over on-site efforts, as you can decide how your copy, URLs, metadata, sitemaps, and keywords are laid out. On-site also encourages the performance of off-site. A relevant blog, for example, can increase social media engagement.
Off-site is more out of your control. While you can post on social media all day, you may never get the traction. Setting up a social media marketing strategy is a great way to ensure that a piece of your business is also successful.
Yinz (you) are told that they can get you to the #1 organic position in x number of days. (To be completely honest, lasting results will NEVER happen this way.) Yabyinat? (Are you buying that?)
And if they do, you’ll soon realize why it was a terrible idea. Generally speaking, you’d take about one month or more to develop a strategic plan and three to six months to begin seeing results.
Beyond that, it’s more about the on-going maintenance and continuously using real data and results to make proper adjustments. This could take a long time—and that’s TOTALLY normal. Results can also depend on your industry, how much you invest in your content, and even the usability of your website. For instance, you could create great content all-day but lose your audience once they get tudda (to the) website (if usability or experience is a concern).
They argue that paid search engine marketing (SEM) such as pay-per-click (PPC) or display ads are better or easier than organic SEO.
PPC s’not (is not) SEO, it’s advertising. They are two very different things. With all the controversy, rules, and privacy issues today—I wouldn’t even want to touch it widda (with a) 10-foot-pole. I can understand why quick results seem sexy. Quick results or fast and cheap results are simply wrong. Something a half-decent and ethical business owner wouldn’t even convince you of.
When Google puts 4 paid ads ahead of the first organic result for your own brand name, you’re forced to pay up if you want to be found. It’s a shakedown. It’s ransom. But at least we can have fun with it. Search for Basecamp and you may see this attached ad. pic.twitter.com/c0oYaBuahL
— Jason Fried (@jasonfried) September 3, 2019
There are ways that these two techniques can benefit from each other, but be prepared to pay a pretty penny. It ain’t 2003 anymore. It’s a pay to play world we live in.
Many businesses spend a lot of time figuring out whether advertising is right for them. Money goes in, and little results come out. The investment is often more than the return. Begin your SEO journey holistically, starting with your own website. Building off of a solid website is the best guarantee that advertising efforts will pay off. You could pay to get eyeballs to your website—but what happens to them once they get there?
Flash is still cool.
When the word “algorithm” is a type of expressive dance.
Chawt. (Watch out.)
Local SEO isn’t brought up and you’re a local business owner.
It’s all “keywords” and “content is king” with so many agencies out there. Buzzwords kill me. I can’t believe after more than 15 years, I still get asked: “What meta keywords do I need to add to rank in Google?”. Such a loaded question for me, but I know it’s not the client’s fault. Fill out your Google My Business profile. Follow the guidelines for representing your business on Google. Improve your local ranking. That’s it.
Technical SEO isn’t a part of their web development and design process at all.
I daht (doubt) that this will happen because most web companies know that this is a fundamental piece of a website. However, if you do happen to run into someone claiming that you don’t need SEO—definitely consider finding another website design partner.
It’s not easy following all the rules.
I get it, I often break them. A lot. What I do know is it that takes a team of unique people with a variety of skill sets and creative abilities to create an approach that works. An approach that, when you do it right, the investment is worth it.
You can even do a lot of this yourself if you have the time to learn. Although, would you lay the foundation of your new hahs (home) yourself?
And more often than not, it takes more than a few simple keyword phrases to rank higher, get more traffic, convert potential customers, generate revenue, and at the end of it all—showing you care without ever saying it.
Or whatever ennat, ya know?
Check Your Website