Tuesday, February 3, 2015

There Are No SEO Secrets

Last October, Forbes published a piece called "The SEO Secrets Every Business Should Know." It's a run-of-the-mill SEO piece, most notable for the mistake-ridden writing and the wisdom of Ken Laing an SEO "freelancer," who reveals a few SEO "secrets."

These secrets should be well-known to readers of The Organic SEO Blog--or, really, to readers of any SEO publication:
  1. Write content for your users
  2. Focus on the right keywords
  3. Have the right mindset for long-term benefits
  4. Make sure your website is free of technical issues
  5. Get links from a wide range of websites
These are standard SEO tropes. They're certainly accurate, and no doubt Laing's information is helpful. However, calling them "secrets" is a bit far-fetched. The article itself, in fact, begs the question, "Do SEO secrets actually exist?" 

After all, as Laing himself notes, "so much of the non-technical side of SEO marketing is plain common sense, and this is something that Google desperately wants us to understand. There are no shortcuts; high quality content, updated regularly, is the best way to gain traffic without going 'under the hood'."

By "under the hood," Laing means to refer to the arcane technical side of SEO, "drilling down into the website and studying the code behind it." We do agree with Laing's assertion that this work can be "pretty overwhelming" for novices, yet we disagree with the premise--or, at least, the title--of the piece: there are, in fact, no SEO secrets.

In reality, all that a novice SEO specialist would want or need to know, from common sense to the under the hood details, is widely available online. Google itself endorses ethical SEO, and works hard to make sure that people understand SEO.

The Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, for example, is an incredibly helpful read for first-timers. In that guide, you will find plenty of helpful common sense and under the hood advice--enough, really, to optimize your own website.

Another helpful tool is a list of Google's ranking factors. We prefer Backlink's list, for its clarity and thoroughness. In concert with Google's starter guide, the information available will provide you with the same level of basic knowledge, if not experience, of most SEO specialists.

Of course, the word "specialist" here is operative. True SEO specialists have studied the field for years, and have a keen knowledge of how to apply the knowledge behind the SEO "secrets" efficiently and expeditiously. The bulk of an SEO specialist's work is about staying current with the frequent algorithm updates. As we've written elsewhere:

"The success of organic SEO depends on complex search engine algorithms—and the world’s largest search engines, like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, change their algorithms about 500-700 times a year. The work of understanding and utilizing these ever-evolving algorithms is time-consuming and tedious. A high-quality SEO company understands how to do this work without wasting time."

Please read: "Organic SEO is a Specialized Talent." 

This is not to say, however, that any of this information is a "secret." Saying so shrouds SEO in an esoteric veil that obscures its basic utility.

Calling SEO a "secret" is both untrue and counter-productive.

Would you call the work of a car mechanic a secret? Of course not. You can admit this while still admitting the value of a car mechanic: He/she has learned the trade, and has developed the skills to efficiently and expeditiously fix your car.

Paul Newman, fixing a car. You can, in fact, specialize in two or more disciplines, like, say, acting and car repair. By the same token, business owners can easily learn how to optimize a website. There are no SEO secrets. [Photo Source]

We repeat this phrase, efficiently and expeditiously, because it describes the value of any specialist--from a car mechanic to an SEO: You could do the work yourself, no doubt, but how long would it take you?

So remember, do not let the seemingly "secretive" nature of SEO dissuade you from learning more about the practice. Only by learning about SEO, will you begin to see its true value. And then, once you have seen what the work of an SEO specialist entails, you can decide for yourself: Do I do this on my own or outsource the work to a specialist? It's that simple, really.

Organic SEO with Stepmans PC

If you'd like to speak directly to an SEO specialist who understands the complexity of algorithms, we suggest calling our sponsor, Alex Stepman, of Stepmans PC: 215-900-9398.

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