There’s a lot of misinformation and confusion about how to rank a website well in Google with all of Google’s algorithm updates in 2018 and beyond.
The answers I give in the video below may surprise you!
Approximate Transcript of Video Above:
Hi. David Hood here, the Dallas SEO geek, and this video is about how to rank a website in Google in 2018 and beyond.
Get back to the fundamentals. There’s a lot of misinformation out there which I’m going to talk about, and I’m going to try to put all the pieces together in this video, at least at a high level. And if you have any questions about something specific, please feel free to contact me and we can talk about how to improve your ranking and your organic traffic for your website.
So, there’s a lot of minutia of SEO. There’s a lot of things that do very little, like trying to move your car by standing behind it and blowing it. Technically, that could move your car, but it’s not really something that’s going to make a big difference the vast majority of the time.
And this is a lot of the problem with what I see online when people talk about SEO. They say, for example, site speed is a ranking factor, so it’s really important. Well, in fact, while yes, it is a ranking factor, actually it’s a very minor ranking factor, and really the only times I see it come into play is if it’s really bad. So yes, if you have a 10 second page speed, that means the page takes 10 seconds to load, that’s not going to help. And in fact, I think a lot of the reason why it doesn’t help is actually because the visitor bounces off before the page even loads. Now, if you have a two second load speed time and a competitor has a one second load speed time, that’s not really a big difference. It’s typically not going to make a big difference, except for maybe if you have some really, really impatient visitors. That’s about it. There’s several other things that are much more important than that where you can definitely, if you have these other things going in your favor, you definitely beat the one second page speed time. There’s a lot of stuff like that that people talk about.
It’s just, don’t waste your time. I really don’t like wasted resources. I like focusing on what really matters for SEO.
So let’s actually talk about the fundamentals of SEO. And I have something I like to call the SEO chaos theory. There’s a lot of people out there that think that Google is changing the algorithm all the time and it’s just a wild, wild West and it’s constantly being changed, really major changes all the time, every year, so you’re always having to start from the beginning. Well, that’s not true. While there have been some significant changes, I think that I can count on one hand the amount of really big changes that Google has made to their algorithm since 20 years ago. All of the core fundamentals except for one area are the same. They’re the same as they were when Google first got started. And so don’t think that you invest the money and then no matter what you’re ranking now it’s going to change a year from now. That’s not true. There’s plenty of sites, example sites that I have and have client sites, where they haven’t done SEO in a long time and they still rank just as well if not better than they did before.
So, please don’t believe in that. It’s another one of those things that’s misinformation. And yet, Google does make algorithm changes, but typically they don’t have a huge effect on most of the websites.
Okay. So we’ve got on page SEO. I put research under this, although maybe it could fit into its other bucket. This is the first major bucket. This is actually pretty simple, and there are four simple factors that account for your on page SEO success 99 percent of the time. Okay? They account for 99 percent of your on page SEO success 99 percent of the time to be specific. Okay? And if you’re spending a lot of time doing a lot of changes on your site beyond these four simple factors, you’re just wasting resources in most cases. Again, there are some exceptions to this rule.
The other major buckets, these are the two major buckets that have always been around, off page, which is essentially links pointing back to your site. Other websites that are linking to your website are a vote of confidence in Google’s eyes. And this is actually a core part of their algorithm since the beginning. This was the differentiating factor in the ’90s to why their search results were better than other people’s. So this is a core part of their algorithm, and it’s always going to be there. They’ve stated that they keep testing removing off page SEO, removing link building, and the quality of the results are much worse. Okay?
And so what do you want with this? What kind of links do you want? Well, you want authoritative links, which means other popular websites, and then you want relevant. Now, I have put two stars here because I think most people’s definition of relevant from an SEO standpoint is not the same thing as what Google looks at. Okay? And that’s something that, if you want to know more about, feel free to give me a call. Off page is much more complicated than on page. It takes a lot longer. It tends to be more expensive for most businesses. Now, if you have a really uncompetitive market, then you need little to no off page. You want a little bit, but you might not need a whole lot. If you have a really competitive market, you’re going to need a lot of off page, and the authority and relevancy of the links pointing back to your site become more important. Okay?
Okay. So I have in parentheses the third bucket, what I would classify as engagement. This is something that was a major change. They didn’t have this originally. And so what they’re doing is several things. They’re measuring how visitors are responding to websites, especially if they’re ranking you. If they see you ranking and people are clicking on your site for a search phrase and they’re staying on there a long time, that’s good. If they’re immediately going back to the search results and clicking on someone else’s site, that’s bad, okay? That’s the gist of it in my mind.
But the other thing about this is that it’s not really where you start, and it’s kind of separate from SEO, I think, in a lot of ways, because it’s more about engagement and conversion optimization, which really is speaking to your market, which typically I wouldn’t expect an SEO person unless they’re also a copywriting expert, which is, again, a different skill set, and not only a copywriting expert but understand your market, that’s actually more important, to be able to speak to your market. So it’s better to have 200 words of highly engaging content than 1,000 words of generic content in my opinion. And there’s a lot of other things you can do to increase engagement. Videos are extremely engaging. Google owns YouTube. You can embed a YouTube video on there. And if you get somebody to stay on there for 90 seconds, you kind of win.
But again, this is not where you start. Okay? If you start with, “Oh, let’s create great content,” it’s kind of backwards, and that’s not going to get you there by itself for sure. No matter what Google says, content is not king. That is a really big misinformation, whatever you want to call it, not so much as a lie, but misunderstanding out there that Google likes people to believe they want you to just put up great content and have you naturally rank. But that is a recipe for spending a lot of money and not getting a lot of results.
What do I base this on? I base this on real data, the data of my own sites, my clients’ sites, my test sites, and a few of the best people that I know at SEO, what their real data shows. Okay? This is not based upon what should be. This is not based upon in theory. It is not based upon what Google says. This is based upon real, hard data of we did this, we isolated this factor, we did this, and this happened. We did this and this happened. We did this and this happened. Okay? We did this and nothing happened. We did this and a bad thing happened. We did this and a good thing happened. Okay? Let’s repeat that and let’s see really what is happening and what is affected. Now, you need a lot of data, because there’s a lot of different factors and there’s a lot of different scenarios with a lot of different paths to go in the algorithm. So this is based upon real data, not what should be, not what Google should do, which is not always what actually happens.
So I do want to talk about misinformation. Why is this different than probably most of the SEO stuff you see out there? I think one of the things is you have a lot of professional writers out there writing about SEO who have never actually ranked a website themselves. Okay? And this is a critical distinction. They are paid to write about SEO. They go and they do research on SEO. They’re writing for a website that even if it ranks they didn’t actually rank themselves. So they’re writing about what should work or what is … And it gets circulated throughout the Internet, because one person says it, another person says it.
It’s not that every single article on the Internet, obviously, is inaccurate, but a very large amount of them are just not, either they’re inaccurate or they’re misleading or it’s kind of a half truth, which is sort of like yes, page speed is a ranking factor, but no, it’s not typically important. It’s not typically going to make or break you. Going from two second to one second page speed time isn’t going to suddenly make you rank higher. Okay? It’s just not true. Okay? But technically, it is a ranking factor.
So there’s a lot of misunderstanding out there. SEO is pretty complex, so it is understanding that there’d be some misunderstandings. It’s easy to spend an afternoon reading about SEO and get a feeling that you understand when really you have to dig your hands in there and really try stuff and see what happens and experience that over a significant period of time to really understand SEO on a deep level.
So, thanks for watching, and if you’d like to know more, you’d like me to take a look at your business and analyze to see what your best opportunities are, please contact me. You can give me a call or you can submit a discovery form or a contact form and we’ll go from there. Thanks for watching. Have a great. Bye.