Back in the beginning of July, I read an article by Jayson DeMers entitled “Why Modern SEO Requires Almost No Technical Expertise”. Jayson is a consultant who writes for Forbes and other publications and whose tagline reads “I de-mystify SEO and online marketing for business owners.” Unfortunately in the article to which I’m referring, I think he did more harm than good. He wrote:

The Internet is complicated. If you think about the innumerable calculations that go into every Google search just to bring you the perfect information for your request, it can almost be overwhelming. Trying to appeal to every line of code in Google’s core algorithm to rank higher would be virtually impossible, even for the most advanced programmer. Fortunately, you’re not a Google engineer, and you don’t need to be in order to rank higher in search engines. Because the early days of SEO leaned on backend coding tactics and deceptive tricks to get sites ranking higher, there’s a modern-day misconception that SEO success can only be achieved through a combination of technical proficiency and extensive experience. This simply isn’t true. While there are some architectural strategies and coding tactics that you should employ as part of your strategy, for the most part, modern SEO can be implemented without any prior experience, and without any technical knowledge of how websites — or Google’s algorithm — work.” Go to the source: Why Modern SEO Requires Almost No Technical Expertise

I have thought about this post off and on for over three months and I have come to the following conclusion — it is one of the most dangerous deceptions I have read during that time.

Here’s why you must care about SEO if you want to get found

One of the promises of the internet is that anyone who works hard can get found but the internet is not a ‘Field of Dreams‘ — if you build it, they may not come. Every day I read articles about blogging, content marketing and social media that promise if you do these X number of things, you will get found in search but the reality is that every one of these activities is a waste of time and money if you neglect search engine optimization [SEO] and your site is not sound from a technical perspective. If you think of your internet presence as a house, SEO is the foundation and we all know what happens to a house that does not have a solid foundation — eventually, it will all fall apart. While it is good to leverage social media, a website is arguably the most important part of your internet presence — it’s the one place over which you have total control and the one place where Google can really determine the worth of your content. As such, it is the place where you should put your best foot forward by posting ‘evergreen content’ — well thought out and executed posts that detail your thinking on the elements of your brand.

Why you must care about SEO if you want to get found

Communication is the responsibility of the sender

It is your responsibility as the person communicating or the ‘sender’ to make sure there is nothing that is blocking Google from clearly understanding your message. In my work as a web developer and SEO, I have found that there are a minimum of 7 major tasks that every web publisher who hopes to get found must either do for themselves or pay to have someone do them:

DIY SEO

WordPress alone is not enough to guarantee effective SEO

Common sense for those who want to get found includes publishing your content on a self-hosted WordPress blog, however, even those who use WordPress must add plugins and optimize them in order to enhance their SEO. The team at SEOP recently wrote:

WordPress is among the most widely-used content management systems today, with roughly half of CMS sites in the world using it. Versatile, user- and mobile-friendly, as well as highly customizable, WordPress is an excellent platform for hosting a new website. However, many make the mistake of thinking that using WordPress to launch their site automatically guarantees good SEO. It doesn’t work that way though; the value of this platform lies in the fact that it doesn’t require much coding or complicated customization to get it running with great search-optimized functionality.” Go to the source: Launching a WordPress Site: Best Practices and Tips for SEO

Just having a WordPress site is no guarantee that your site is optimized for search. In my experience, there is one critical plugin that must be added and optimized — the Yoast SEO plugin. Adding and optimizing the plugin, however, is only the start. You must understand first of all, that Google itself claims to have only indexed about 5% of the internet. This means there are people who have spent a lot of money to build a website that Google may not even know about. Here is one of the most authoritative and succinct explanations of how Google crawls and indexes the web that I know of:

Many people don’t realize that if you don’t validate your site with Google, that you could wait indefinitely for Google to crawl and index your site — especially if there are no other sites that link to site at the moment. This is one of the many reasons why Jayson was just plain wrong and it’s just the beginning. If you want to get found, YOU are responsible for understanding why and how search works and you must either be prepared to practice seo or pay someone to do it for you. Otherwise, it doesn’t make any difference how pretty or witty you are — Google doesn’t care and your website will be like a billboard in the desert.

billboard in the desert

If you’d like to see where your site stands with Google, I’m offering a free audit and analysis that will show you how Google sees your site and the sites of up to three competitors so you know where you stand. I’ll also analyze your site and find you the top 7 errors you need to fix to increase the clarity of your communication with Google. Just fill out the form below and I’ll be back to you in less than 24 hours.

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