Don’t fall for the hype and bullshit being spewn across the internet by millions of self proclaimed “SEOs” and “Experts” that claim they can get you on the first page of Google if you only pay them the right amount money! And stop reading that firehose of “SEO Must Do” blog-posts filling your RSS reader. Instead, read this 1068-word post, in this blog, which has no advertising, is not selling any services, and was written by a guy that has successfully generated significant online income via organic (Google) search results for the last 7 years – who’s only ulterior motive is wanting you to succeed in your online (ad)venture, and you will know everything you need to know about SEO.
Most SEO’s are full of shit, and are selling voodoo in a snake-oil bottle
There. I said it.
Don’t be fooled by fancy words like canonical, long-tail or “doorway-page” and don’t get overwhelmed at the number of animal references and version-numbers that they try to impress you with like Penguin 2.1, Hummingbird, or Panda 26. Pay no attention when they try to sell you on getting “10,000 quality back links to your site” – as a matter of fact, when you hear that, it’s time to run.
Any SEO that guarantees they can get you to rank #1 for anything, get you on the first page of Google for your search-term or has a toolbox of “secrets that Google does not want you to know” or a “weird trick” to get you on the first page of Google is either full of shit or venturing into the world of “black hat SEO”, otherwise known as “stuff that Google does not like and will eventually punish you for”. These are the guys you want to stay away from, especially when you realize:
Google tells you everything you need to know, for free
Everything you need to know about how to get your website to rank well in Google Search is available, for free, directly from Google, and here are links to those resources, free of charge:
- Webmaster tools guidelines
- More specific and technical SEO information such as the proper use of Title Tags, META data, URL structure, etc
In addition to the official Google Webmaster Search documentation, you can also keep up with changes to Google Search in the official Google Webmaster blog, here:
You can also learn a lot by watching the frequent videos released by Matt Cutts. In these videos Matt Cutts (the head of the Google Webspam Team) answers questions and clarifies misconceptions about Google Search and SEO. All of these videos are available for free in the Google Webmaster Help YouTube channel:
Anything not discussed or confirmed in these resources is voodoo, speculation, guessing, crystal-ball-reading, snake-oil, or bullshit. Period.
What is the secret to SEO?
The big secret that the SEO’s don’t want you to know is, THERE IS NO SECRET TO SEO.
Everything in the resources I’ve mentioned above and everything Matt Cutts says (over and over and over again) can be boiled down into some very simple key points:
- Generate a lot of great, fresh content (or, great, unique ‘evergreen’ content); keyword: “GREAT”. Some people refer to this as “epic shit”
- Write your content for humans, not Google
- Always consider (and do) what makes your website valuable, unique, and engaging to stand out above the million other websites doing the same thing
- Better yet, make a website so unique that there aren’t a million other’s doing it
- Don’t overdo anything, even the things Google says to do
Basically this all boils down to:
Make a great website with great information and don’t try to outsmart Google
Anything that you or your SEO does in an attempt to game, manipulate, trick, outsmart, or purposely increase your ranking in Google Search will most likely be seen by Google, either now, or at some point in the future, as un-natural (aka: BAD). When this happens, Google will “adjust” and you will very quickly realize that the SEO you paid all that money to and isn’t answering his phone anymore really was full of shit. For a great illustration of this just do a google search on “hit by Penguin”, “MSSA Penalty”, or “recover from Google penalty”
When is paying an SEO a good idea?
Full disclosure: Not all SEO’s are full of shit. Not all SEO’s are out just to take as much money from you as they can before you realize they don’t know what they are doing. Not every SEO will try to fuck you over and laugh about it later over tea with his 3rd-world buddies. There are many legitimate SEO people and excellent SEO companies out there, but they are the 2%
Even though everything you need to know is available from Google, free of charge, you may not have the time or desire to read, learn, understand and implement it all. In this case it may make sense to hire an SEO to consult with or to do the work for you. A good SEO can also help you with important things outside of the realm of technical-SEO such as long-term goals & strategies, incorporating social media into your overall plan, ensure that you know your customer and what they are searching for, and how you can meet those needs (aka good keyword research) and other things that I’m not smart enough to know. There is also a lot of technical detail to learn about SEO as described in some of the documents above that any good SEO will be very familiar with and can help to ensure your website is properly using.
If you decide that you need SEO services, be sure to get plenty of references and be prepared to pay top dollar for their time, and remember to do a Google Search on what the SEO claims they are good at and see where THEY rank.
That was all there is to SEO!
That is all there is! Don’t confuse voodoo with real SEO, and watch out for SEO being sold in a snake-oil bottle. Do your research, learn and do what you can, and when it makes sense, hire a good, qualified person or company to help.
You can watch the follow-up video & discussion of this post here: Everything You Need To Know About SEO Video Discussion