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As Google gets better, SEO matters less

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I had an interesting training session with Jeremy Kitson of Pixel Science the other day.  Since I’ve been handling a lot of Tenato’s content development, I decided I should not only read online and offline sources on SEO (which stands for “search engine optimization” – activities to help a site rank higher in search engines) techniques, but also get some training from various pros in the industry.  If you found this site easily, you may have noticed that we’re ranking quite well now on various search terms related to Calgary, market research, and strategy.

How SEO Has Changed

For a long time, I had been thinking about SEO as kind of a “magic” process whereby highly technical experts inserted special tags, links, and formats to make a site rank well.   While this used to be 100% true — i.e. said technical experts could use these techniques to “fool” a search engine into thinking the site was valuable or had good content — search engines have gotten smarter.  The real goal of the search engine is to emulate the way a human would judge a site, i.e. Does it actually relate to the search term inserted by the user?  Is the content fresh?  Is is local?  Is it structured well?  Not very “technical” criterion.  But of course, emulating a human brain is probably extremely technical from Google’s perspective!

Search Rankings at Tenato

This might be why our site’s rankings have improved over the past six months: sheer brute force of blogging!   In fact, we haven’t contracted any SEO services in about a year, and when we changed the domain, we pretty well had to start from scratch trying to rank.  So, we’ve been writing a lot, and then sharing our content online.   Yes, there are a few key other things we’ve done, like making sure we’ve gotten legitimate back-links from industry associations in which we’re involved, but none of this could be described as highly technical.  It’s just a matter of making sure that when we join these associations, we’ve got our listing up with all the other members, properly filled out and linked back to our website.

The caveat to this is that the person who originally designed the site DID know SEO, and made sure the site was structured well, but once the site was complete, it still had a long way to go to get good rankings.

Conclusion:  Writers Should Handle SEO, not IT Types

The major revelation I’ve had through this is that the art of getting a site to rank would be better left up to good content developers (i.e. talented writers) than it is to IT types.   Once a website is built and structured well, according to Jeremy, the only ongoing work really required is thoughtful writing to build fresh content, along with perhaps, a little bit of training on how to post it and get it out on Social Media.  A couple hours’ training provided to someone who can write well would do far better job of getting rankings than would leaving it to an IT-type person who can’t write to save his life.    And in fact, this was verified by my own experience with content development.

So, what sort of content should you write?  Well, my friends, that is a question of strategy — what niche you want in the marketplace.  And that is certainly where we can assist you – with developing the right market position, developing the content you need, and maybe providing that little bit of SEO training, just in case you’re a good “do it yourselfer”as I am.   Call us to chat today and learn more!

 

 

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Jacqueline Drew
About the Author - Jacqueline Drew
Jacqueline M. Drew, BComm MBA is CEO of Tenato Strategy Inc., a Calgary-based marketing research and strategy firm. She loves to use her superpowers "to help the good guys win" and is also an energetic supermom, bandleader and songwriter.

2 thoughts on “As Google gets better, SEO matters less

  1. Great article Jacqueline I have also found recently that creating good website content for my clients in more effective then trying to get links. I was curious though your thoughts on linking in general of if it’s still a regular part of your SEO plan?
    Also is there any training you recommend on how to get websites out through social media or will this be another article you post? Hope to read that as well…

    1. No, we don’t generally do “link building” but as part of the program, and pretty much focus on content and good social media, along with at least ensuring photos and content are labelled/tagged well. Sometimes if there’s a chance to get a link through a good industry association though, we do ask. However there are so few I don’t think it makes hardly a whiff of difference. I think quality content, and at least putting it up regularly, is the key, along with some well targeted social media. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for sure – stay tuned!

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