Questions addressed in the video below:
What can you do to rank your website better in Google’s search engine in 2019 (and beyond)?
How much does Google like their algorithm right now?
What are the areas that Google prioritizes well above others when deciding how to rank a website?
What long term trends are we seeing with Google right now?
What is the biggest SEO myth?
Why is there so much misinformation out there about search engine optimization?
Approximate Transcription of Video:
Hi, David Hood here, the Dallas SEO Geek. And this video is about SEO in 2019 and well beyond, what will actually work? And this is based upon real data and not theory, and I’m going to talk about a lot of that theory stuff that goes on out there.
Also, what the kind of long-term, well beyond 2019, what Google wants to think about. And I’m going to give you some very specific tips that can really change your SEO destiny. SEO can be extremely profitable if you do it right, but you can also spin your wheels for years and get nothing.
About me, real quick. I’ve been doing SEO for over 10 years now. I’ve ranked more websites than I can remember. My main brand is Dallas SEO Geek. I help a lot of people, businesses grow their sales through search engine optimization. This is based upon real data, again, not based on theory. Part of the reason why there’s a lot of kind of theory floating around, there is Google. They send out lots of misinformation and half-truths, and that’s fine, and I understand that. I don’t hold that against them.
I don’t expect them to tell, to give people the formula for, “Oh, well. This is what’s most important. And this is not what’s really important.” There are these lists out there of all the Google SEO factors. And while that’s technically true, some factors matter exponentially more than others. And that’s why I use half-truths in there, because some of the stuff they say is kind of true. But it misses the point to a certain degree.
Another reason why there’s a lot of BS out there, is that there a lot of bloggers out there, blogging about SEO who have never actually ranked a website. And so what they’re doing, is just reading other SEO articles, and then compiling that, or regurgitating it, however you want to put it, and putting out content. They’ve never actually gone out there and ranked websites and tested different things to see, “Oh, is this actually true? Or, how true is this? Or, what are the other conditions that make this work or not work?”
These are all really important questions, and going about it scientifically, and constantly having test data, is super, super important, which is why I’m constantly testing things. I’ve always got sites that are my own, that I’m just playing with, essentially. So if there’s a technique that comes along, I can test it. If there’s something that somebody says, I can test it. Or, if I had my own ideas, which I do. I can test it. And this is super important.
You can’t just have one website and rank it, even if you just have one website, and you rank it, and you say, “Okay, this is why it ranked.” You can’t say that. It would be like trying to do science, based upon one single experiment. Or, trying to get a poll from five people to represent millions of people, okay. It doesn’t really make sense to just do a little bit of data.
And I have tons of data on this, and so the tips that I’m going to give you are based upon real, actual data. Okay, what is important and what is minutia? There’s an infinite amount of little things out there. What are those little things that are really, technically they help you, but they’re not really going to move you forward?
I do want to mention Google’s Long-Term Outlook. This is super important because I think that Google likes where that algorithm is at. So I don’t see the major changes coming anytime soon. If you really think about it, and you look back over the last 20 years, there have not been that many major changes in Google’s algorithm. There’s this big myth out there that, “SEO is this really chaotic thing that’s always changing.” And that’s not true.
There’s been, I would say, maybe a five-ish major algorithm updates. So like Google Panda and Penguin, they didn’t initially track engagement, in terms of watching how people react. And then maybe a few others, depending on how you define that. But their algorithm hasn’t changed significantly. It is moving. I think they are still tweaking it here and there, but they can’t make significant changes without having unforeseen consequences. And, they like where it’s at. And so it’s become much more difficult to game, so to speak, and so I don’t see significant changes. I do see a little bit of direction they’re going to go in, and I’m going to talk about that in a …
I haven’t really changed my SEO techniques to a significant degree for years now, and it still works. And usually, with their tweaks and updates, my sites tend to go up. Again, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t new, kind of little tweaks here and there that can improve things. But overall, it’s not like I’ve massively changed how I do SEO for years. It’s hard to know exactly how long, it’s been a while.
Okay, so my biggest SEO tip, okay. And this is something that a lot of people are saying doesn’t matter anymore. I’ve had people come to me and they say their previous SEO consultant would say, “Oh, well, I thought that they said it didn’t matter.” And again, this is based upon, them saying this is based upon theory and not actual, real data.
Okay, so number one tip, the single biggest lever that you an pull for SEO is your domain name. Okay, and this is something where people knew it. People know this and they knew it a long time ago. So that’s why you saw something if you’ve heard Exact Match Domains, or EMDs. Let’s say you wanted to rank for a Dallas personal injury lawyer and you had dallaspersonalinjurylawyer.com.
It’s going to be a whole lot easier to rank that than steveandjoeslawpractice.com. Or, just practice.com, or something. The more words or … Any word or part of, partial phrases that you can put in your domain name helps you rank for those specific things much easier. You’ll need less of the link building, and the off-page SEO. It’ll just be easier to rank.
Now, that said, that doesn’t mean that I recommend exact match domains. They can be very tricky, and I personally like to have at least one sort of branded word in there. And so, and I also don’t usually like having locations, even though I have it my own domain name, which I created in like 2011. I don’t really recommend having the location in there. That doesn’t mean you can’t, but I think that having the, kind of the words.
So having, if you’re a personal injury lawyer, having like SBJ. Let’s say, those are like the three partners, sbjpersonalinjurylaw.com. Something like that is going to be really good for you. And this is a very simple thing to do and it’s actually very easy to change your domain name if you already have one, to move it to the new one. Just make sure you do the redirects properly. This is something that a lot of web designers get wrong, and so people who already have rankings, maybe have some rankings, but they want to improve it.
They do a web design change and they lose their rankings. It’s because they didn’t really redirect things properly. So if you’re doing that, definitely give me a call, and I’ll see if I can help you. So number one biggest tip, domain name matters, at least from an on-page standpoint, matters more than anything else. Really from a single thing that you can do, there’s not anything bigger.
Okay, so we have two major buckets of SEO. We got on-page and off-page. Domain name is part of on-page, and so, but there’s not like a lot of major factors here. That’s why I have a Keep It Simple Stupid, and I intentionally misspelled stupid. Domain name is the single biggest thing. Then you have the titles and URLs of your pages, that also matters. And then interlinking matters a lot, the more pages you have, and then to a lesser degree, you have like your page tags, like your header one, which is, again, it’s not like super critical. You don’t have to have them. And notice that nowhere on here is content. And I’m going to come back to that in just a second.
Number three, links, links, links. Okay, this is still a critical part of Google’s algorithm. Way back in the 90s, is the reason why their search results were better than everyone else’s. They came along, everyone else was just looking at on-page. They wanted to look at the internet like a popularity contest and their search results were much higher quality. This is still a core part of their algorithm today and it will be for well into the future, if not for our entire lives.
Okay, and so, what are RAT links? Okay, RAT links are Relevant, Authoritative, and Trusted. Okay, so what does that mean? Well, first of all, relevant is the area where Google is going, and it’s the area where they didn’t look at before, and they’re going more and more towards relevancy. Now this is very important to understand that this is how Google’s algorithm defines relevancy, not humans. Okay, so and explaining exactly how Google’s algorithm determines relevancy, is beyond the scope of this video. If you want to know more, give me a call and we can talk about it.
Sometimes people look at a site and they think it’s not relevant, but it actually is relevant, and vice versa. Sometimes people think that a site, just because they’re blogging about personal injury law, does not necessarily mean Google’s going to think that it’s relevant. Okay, and so that’s something that’s really important to consider.
Also, I want to point out, there’s a lot of like outreach link sellers, and I have analyzed the sites, a lot of them. I’ve track tested them and I’ve analyzed the sites they give you. And in most case, more than half of the sites fail, essentially, my quality check. Where I wouldn’t want links from them if it was 100% free. Okay, so you got to really be careful with all these outreach link building services. They tend to be very expensive and, also, building links is not just about getting links.
It’s about kind of the whole picture. “What is your on-page? What are links that you currently have? What are the properties of those links you currently have? What are the properties of the links you’re getting?” So some outreach links are good, and some outreach links are bad, and some outreach links are useful. It’s not so much about the type of the links, as the properties of the links.
Also, I would say that this is the more complex part of SEO, doing the link building. The on-page SEO is pretty simple, and could probably train you how to do it in an afternoon. Link building is much more complicated. If you think about it, Google’s kind of looking at the internet as a whole, almost. It’s not just about the links pointing to your site. It’s about the links pointing to links pointing to your sites, and even, and so on, and so forth.
So this is something that I wouldn’t recommend someone, you’re not going to be able to do research in an afternoon or even a week, or even a month, and really get off-page SEO or link building, even though you might feel like you get it. Trust me, there’s a lot of complexities here and there’s a lot of conditions where one thing works and then another conditions for that same thing doesn’t work at all, or might actually hurt you.
So I want to come back to the number one SEO myth. And that is that content is king, which is true. Content is king for content marketing. Okay, and that’s a lot of peoples’, that’s how they do SEO. They do content marketing. And content marketing is not SEO. Content marketing is content marketing and it can help with SEO in a roundabout way, but from a purely, strictly what does the algorithm look at, the content on your site matters very little.
Now, obviously, if someone is looking for like a personal injury lawyer, and they come to your site, and you’re selling women’s shoes. Obviously, that’s going to be a problem. Because Google does track the engagement. But if you have a site, if you really think about it from like the very beginning. You have a brand new site, Google knows nothing about the site, they care very little about the text and the content on the page. What matters most are the simple things that I mentioned from on-page, and then also the links, okay. Those are going to matter so much more than the content.
Yes, you can get links from good content that you can distribute out there, and people like it, and then they share it. Yes, but that is roundabout. Okay. That’s not really direct and it’s such a big myth, that just like, “Kind of build it and they’ll come.” There’s tons of people, this is … Well, content marketing is technically a valid plan for SEO. It’s the least effective, most expensive path. I think there’s tons of people out there. I’ve seen tons of cases where they build content, even great content for years, and get nothing. That’s because they miss out on a lot of the important fact.
Content marketing is more of a social marketing technique, because the content is meant to be distributed out there on social networks and be shared. Okay, so again, it’s kind of its own marketing technique, in a way. But it’s further from SEO than it is from social media, and social media marketing. Okay, so that’s something, really, to keep in mind. And this is something that’s going to be very different that what most people say.
Again, I’m not saying that good content doesn’t help, okay. I’m making a video right now that’s content, okay. But it’s not the critical factor. I’ve been ranking number one all year for my main keyword, pretty much 99% of the year. And I’ve made maybe one or two pieces of content, okay. So you don’t have to keep one or two pieces of new content. It does help to have content and it does help from a conversion standpoint, as well. But again, from a purely technical SEO standpoint, content is definitely not king. Big, big myth.
Okay, so if you would like for me to do a free SEO analysis and recommendations on your business, give me a call. Or, go to dallasseogeek.com and fill out a contact form. Or, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for watching and let me know what you think. Have a good day, bye.