Sunday, August 13, 2017

There are No SEO Secrets

The SEO community offers an abundance of common-sense tutorials (like our SEO 101 series or Moz's Whiteboard Fridays). Despite the abundance of information, however, "most website owners perceive SEO as a dark art, shrouded in mystery."

This quote, from Paul Boag, identifies a core problem for most digital marketing firms: Website owners do not trust SEO. Unfortunately, many SEO firms unwittingly contribute to this problem by posting content that promises to reveal SEO "tricks" or "secrets."

Most of this content follows a familiar outline, emphasizing the view that SEO is misunderstood and then attempting to reveal the truth.

Writing for Forbes, for example, Edmund Ingham, a freelance journalist, writes "Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the most misunderstood marketing mediums out there."

And yet, Ingham's article, a run-of-the-mill SEO piece, most notable for the mistake-ridden writing and the wisdom of Ken Laing an SEO "freelancer," promises to reveal "The SEO Secrets Every Business Should Know." These secrets should be evident 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. For an SEO newcomer, Laing's information is helpful.

However, calling this information "secrets" is a bit far-fetched. The article itself, in fact, begs the question, "Do SEO secrets actually exist?"

As Laing 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."

SEO Secrets?

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 no SEO secrets.

From common sense to "under the hood details," every and any SEO "secret" is widely available online. Google itself endorses ethical SEO, and works hard to make sure 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 Backlinko'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.

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

Calling SEO a "secret" is both untrue and counter-productive. Saying so shrouds SEO in an esoteric veil that obscures its basic utility.

Is 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. [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?

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 value.

And once you have seen what SEO requires, decide for yourself: Do you want to perform SEO on your own or outsource the work to a digital marketing firm?

Digital Marketing with Stepman's SEO 

Yes, SEO is based on timeless marketing strategies, but the execution of SEO is a cutting-edge science, promoted by many but mastered by only a few. Once you have a vision for exactly how your product should be presented, you must convey that vision to your website designer and/or SEO firm. Take care to choose professionals who have created naturally-optimized websites that you find visually attractive.

If you're looking for an SEO company that understands how to effectively promote emotionally accessible websites with specific keywords and intriguing content, contact our sponsor, Stepman's SEO: 215-900-9398.

Stepman's SEO combines traditional marketing methods and organic SEO--with an emphasis on natural website optimization--to design thoughtful, inspiring, and effective content marketing campaigns.