Contrary to what some people might believe, SEO (search engine optimization) can in many cases be detrimental to a website rather than being beneficial. However, this typically only happens when SEO is left in the hands of people who have very little knowledge in this field, or when the major search engines roll out new algorithm updates. A typical example would be the recent release of Google’s updated Penguin algorithm. Suddenly, countless websites lost their spot on the front page of results.
SEO tactics that had once helped them to achieve good search engine ranking, were now counting against them. Effective search engine optimization can never fully protect your search engine ranking because Google and the other big players have ultimate control. However, if you plan your SEO strategy carefully, you can at least secure some level of protection against these ongoing changes. Also, if you stay on top of the game, you should be in a position to alter course swiftly in the event of a major algorithm update.
Professional Search Engine Optimization Services
SEO is incredibly time intensive, and the fact that Google keeps changing the goal posts doesn’t help either. No sooner have you finished changing and altering everything, and bang, the search giant rolls out a new update. For this reason, more and more website owners are using professional services for their SEO needs. This is most definitely a great option if your budget allows for it.
As is to be expected, not all services being offered in the field are equal, and many rely on SEO marketing packages that in turn allow them to present their clients with supposedly accurate details. While this might look very professional on the surface, is it really helping website owners? Let’s take a look at some fascinating points:
1. Keyword Optimization
Do a little bit of research in order to determine the ideal keyword density for your articles and blog posts, and you will come away being more confused than ever. The ideal keyword density, according to the millions of “experts” out there, ranges between 1% and 5%. However, do an actual search, using any keyword or keyword phrase, and then click on the top search result. You’ll be surprised to discover that the page you are directed to contains no “obvious” keywords or keyword phrases.
Of course there are keywords in there, but they have been placed very discretely, and in a one thousand word article, they’re only likely to appear two or three times and only if they can be inserted without interfering with the natural flow of the article. In the past, keywords may have been enough to fool the search engines, but this is no longer the case.
TIP: Always write for your site’s visitors rather than writing for the search engines!
2. Readability Analysis
Many SEO software programs, including plugins for the ever popular WordPress platform, make use of a tool known as Flesch. Now, I’m not knocking this tool at all, but in my opinion, far too many SEO “experts” rely too heavily on it. Go ahead and try it for yourself. I can assure you, any article that gets an exceptional high Flesch rating will appear to have been written by a five year old child.
It is a well known fact that “general” web content should be easy to read; it should encourage the reader to continue reading, and it should be written in plain and simple English. However, one can only take this so far. These readability tests demand very short sentences and paragraphs. Short paragraphs are fine because they are easier on the eyes, but countless exceptionally short sentences will give many readers a reason to question your website’s credibility.
By all means, go ahead and use this sort of tool, but use it only as a guide. Click on any of the sites appearing on page one of Google’s search results, and you’ll see content which is extremely well written. Copy that content, and test it via the Flesch readability test, and you’ll almost certainly find that it fails miserably.
Effective search engine optimization IS NOT all about keyword optimization and questionable readability tests, which ironically are carried out by means of software. All the content on your website should be for REAL people, and if it is, and it is of real value to your readers, then the search engines will definitely pick up on it. Yes, your content should be search engine friendly, but if it’s too search engine friendly, then you’ll almost certainly discover that the search engines don’t want to be your friends. In short, SEO these days has become an art.