The myths of SEO
Here we go again, our professional lives hijacked by the self serving needs of an industry that is not really in control of its destiny. The industry? Search engine optimisation (SEO). The lack of control? Goggle – that’s all that needs to be said. Google today largely monopolises the online search market (Google.com has about 67% of search market share). Therefore Google calls the shots, and no one in the search industry believes they can really influence their strategic plans for search. At least the ones that tell the truth.
What are those plans? Well, if the art of warfare is in part a search for predictive behaviours of the enemy (and countries spend big time to gather these types of intelligence), then Google’s trajectory make it pretty clear where it’s going. Yes, their minimalist homepage looks the same, but what goes on beneath that ubiquitous logo and search box has altered out of sight, and the SEO industry is not happy – that’s why they are shifting their emphasis from strict SEO to content marketing.
How Google finds your firm
Bottom line Google wants to find the closest match to what is being searched on the internet. Let’s say a prospective client is looking for someone to get them started with a self managed superannuation fund, together with an investment strategy to see them through to retirement. They head over to Google and type, “self managed superannuation investment”. In response Google sorts through billions of web pages according to their usefulness.
Search engine “spiders” trawl the web 24/7 looking for content (it’s not a real spider – in case there is anyone out there who might be confused about this, the “spider” is a little piece of code). Importantly, they also return to check on “changes” to sites since their last scan. The results are stored in enormous databases – this is called “indexing”.
Google looks to a content first strategy
Google made it clear where it is going a while ago:
“Our advice for publishers* continues to be to focus on delivering the best possible user experience on your websites and not to focus too much on what they think are Google’s current ranking algorithms or signals…”
* that’s you!
In other words, it’s the content that matters, and attempts to “game” Google are doomed.
This does not mean that all that keyword research and algorithm analysis is dead, it’s not. But it does mean that for the average Australian professional looking to attract clients, or maintain happy clients, the best thing to do is to create great content and then create more and then create more (and more… you get the idea).
As we used to say when I was young, if you try to get your head around Google’s in house machinations you will “do your head in”.
SEO is not a magic bullet. On the other hand content marketing is a gold standard for professionals, and for the mature professional or suburban professional firm it is the best online strategy that offers a unique selling proposition to optmises your smaller size, experience and relationship skills relative to a bigger player in the same market.
Where to start
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