Hoodwinked SEO - The Pitches You Shouldn’t Fall For
SEO is a Function of Good Design
We believe that search engine optimization (SEO) should be a tenet of good design, not a separate discipline or feature. All of the sites we build are optimized to be read by search engines effectively, with all of the necessary backend metadata provided to give additional content and context to what your viewers will see live online. At the end of every project we submit your sitemap to Google and connect your Google Analytics account (or make one for you). These are not the only SEO strategies we adhere to, but they are timeless, fundamental practices that ensure that your website has a chance to be discovered.
Some of our peers will try to sell you on something else entirely. They won’t knock the actions we’ve described above, but they’ll probably tell you that those actions are not enough to compete in today’s information-dense internet. They’ll try to sell you on keyword campaigns, Adwords campaigns, and nebulous landing page strategies all designed to help you rank for certain keywords relevant to your business. We are not here to tell you they are selling you snake oil, but we are here to offer a few words of caution.
Results Can Never Be Guaranteed
That’s a universal truth. Even the best SEO practitioner can run into unforeseen caveats that interfere with the success of their best strategies. An unruly, improperly formatted, or incorrect bit of data somewhere can downrank you in a heartbeat. Your competitors can out compete you in SEO. Algorithms can change mid-campaign. Contextual realities can deter performance, too. For instance, a well-established business with a web presence far older than yours might have a website with a domain authority so high you simply can’t overtake their rank in search - without paying a hefty price for it and having your URL marked as an ad. (And that’s entirely up to you!) We’re just saying.
The System Cannot Be Gamed
Some SEOs really believe in keyword research (we do, too!) and updating the on-page content on your site to rank for those keywords (hey, us, too!). Except, those same SEOs often want to mix things up at frequent, easily-billable intervals. Often, it’s way too frequent. Google crawls your website every 14 days or so. Longevity of content matters. So if your website does well with the word “eggplant” for six consecutive site crawls, that has some impact on how Google interprets your site. If it reads the word eggplant on one crawl and then finds it absent the next, your content just looks inconsistent. We recommend doing your keyword research during the content development process, and then again periodically throughout the year. Instead of trying to game the system, think about enhancing and improving your content with the keywords and key phrases that your future customers are most likely to use. Don’t wipe the slate clean every month at the behest of someone else.
Beware Nebulous Landing Page Strategies
Oh, landing pages. Some SEOs have an unyielding belief that landing pages help their clients develop authority around important keywords and serve as springboards to their client’s main website. This isn’t entirely inaccurate, but it’s important to temper the appeal of landing pages with a bit of pragmatism. Landing page campaigns can get out of hand pretty quickly. Their shear existence isn’t enough to build authority, they need to have a place in the larger ecosystem of the web. Ask your SEOs what they’re connecting those landing pages to, how they fit into your customer’s journey, and what interactions are available on each one. Keep an eye on their design, too. Ask yourselves if they look consistent with your website and brand? The last thing that you want is to allow someone to build a nebula of web properties that dilute your brand rather than build it up.
If you want to rank well for certain keywords and create paths for your potential new customers to discover your content and convert, we recommend you reconsider your content strategy and then consult with your web designer about how they can implement your ideas on the web. The results will undoubtedly be more pragmatic and ultimately lead to a more easily traversable web presence.
Advertising is not SEO
Often, when SEOs want to talk to you about keywords they are preparing you for a conversation about running a Google Adwords campaign. They’ll talk to you about how you can rank well for certain keywords and stay ahead of your competition. The reality is, with Google Adwords you can run a text ad with a hyperlink at the top of a search engine results page, not authentically rank higher than your competitors. It’s an advertising campaign and when it’s over, you’re no higher up in search results than you were before. We don’t have anything against it, we just want everyone to be real about it.
Consistency Achieves Results
There are over 600 million websites live today and every single of them is swimming in the same ocean. Search engines rely on context when they present results to users. Attributes such as locality and language matter quite a bit. You aren’t truly competing with everybody, but you’re definitely not swimming on your own. The best thing any brand can do online to ensure that their website is discoverable is adhere to the fundamental design principles that support SEO, and be consistent in the actions they take as they build out their web presence. Your content strategy matters. How you market your business on social media matters. And, the content users generate about your brand matters. Ranking well in search is the result of all of these factors. Don’t try to game the system by pouring capital into a hyped up strategy. The best investment you can make in your brand is to move the needle forward in all of these areas, even if it’s one small increment after another.