A site’s success and failure to a very large extent depends on its organic traffic. To attract such traffic, writers, in this case put awesome content on their website. But, just having great content doesn’t imply reasonable traffic. This is where Search Engine Optimization comes into play. When you search for anything, you see millions of results, you check the few appearing on the first page, sometimes you don’t really get what you were looking for so you go to the second or in the rare circumstance, visit the 3rd and 4th page as well. But, as you see, there are many more results available. But you won’t bother checking them all, will you?
Image Credit: The Next Web
This was the consumer aspect of the story, now, as someone who writes stories on a personal blog, or a professional website like this one, how do we write something that succeed to index in the first few pages and not get lost in the midst of all the clusters. What we do, or rather we try to do is analyze what our readers are interested in, what kind of words they might enter while searching for something similar. Once we have figured that out, we follow SEO tips and use such phrases in our articles, our meta-tag, title, and all the other relevant places.
What is this SEO thing, really?
This is something that has been talked over and again, thousands of theories have been proposed, but truth to be told, no one really knows how to crack this code. Most people rely on search engine to roam around the Internet, so that explains why so many web publishers are pandering over the aftermath of this. A high rank or SERP at Google or Bing promises a hefty sum of traffic & revenue, and as we know Google is without a doubt the best and most dominant source of internet traffic; despite all this parole, and all the theories that has been doing rounds for years, no one really has any idea of how Google’s search algorithm works. Sometimes I wonder whether even Google itself knows how their search algorithm works – seeing the confusion of results being caused after the Panda & Penguin updates!
This is why it gets tricky, there are thousands of shady start-ups claiming to help you score high at Google indexing and get you all the undue traffic. What they don’t care is that indulging in such activities might just turn out to be digging our own grave.
Today on the internet, one website links to the other website in their pieces and so forth. This elevates the trust worthiness of a website. Now the obnoxious alternative of this is spamming on other websites inform of comments – where people mention links to their website and leave an extraneous message. But, gone are those days when one could escape with such trifling deeds, now if Google smells such wicked bustle, there will be consequences, and instead of boost in the traffic of the site, Google will abandon it and get it off the chart.
What happens when you don’t follow Google’s protocol
This is what happened with a florist start-up Interflora which because of following wrong SEO practices lost all its flowers. A few months back, when anyone Googled for “flowers delivery” they would spot the links to Interflora topping from all its competitors. But today when you search for such keywords, there is no trace of Interflora. So what did Interflora do which made the whole façade come crashing down?
Interflora, in the quest to become more popular signed up for various advertising campaign. It made its appearance everywhere – local news sites, blogs and other communities. This wasn’t a problem though, it’s a fairly common practice; you want your product to get some fame, so you popularize it through adverts. The problem, as many websites report, was the incorrect placement of tags, something that flouts Google’s policy. Google has no problem with advertisements or paid-for-links as long as the publisher puts a “nofollow” tag. A nofollow tag ensures no changes in Google search engine’s ranking. Interflora adverts were apparently not following this protocol, and they even made some money from those paid-for-links. Wen Google figured all this, not only did the punish Interflorabut – but also the news sites and other groups which took part in this trade.
Be good. Play smart, play safe
Google, in the recent past has suggested using the tags with high accuracy. There is nothing wrong with advertisements, but when you are approached to write paid content review, or if there are any strings attached to it, do not forget to use “nofollow” tag.
Do not pollute the interweb with the spam comments. Do not sign up for black hat SEO, do not buy traffic. Do not publish over hashed or plagiarized content. One piece of advice I give to S.E.O. masters is, don’t chase after Google’s algorithm, chase after your best interpretation of what users want, because that’s what Google’s chasing after, said Matt Cutts, a principal engineer at Google.
New York Times did a great piece where they explained how sites like Huffington Post have excelled by mastering SEO – and how their 2-sentence posts ranked first for a particular search. There are several sites which are using shady software which retrieves the trending topics from Facebook, Twitter and Google. Hence they are more interested in covering such things. The problem is that such sites have lost the very essence of their job, they are telling their readers what they want to hear and make money against – no matter how much of a garbage, the information is – rather what they should be hearing or what they want to hear!