We popped down to Brighton for the UK’s largest SEO conference. The good news is, there weren’t any big surprises. Turns out we know what we’re doing already, how ‘bout that?
But it was very reassuring to hear others put our thoughts into words and offer some crystallising accounts of the current (and ever changing) best practices when it comes to boosting small businesses in local search results. Here’s a few of the key points we came across:
Content is still King
No surprises here. But always reassuring to hear that everyone is still chanting the same old mantra. Of course actually coming up with, completing and then getting visibility for any kind of content still presents the rather obvious hurdle here. But the point is, it’s worth doing. Even if it takes a while.
Again, painfully obvious, but knowing what to do and actually doing it aren’t always the same thing. Some big names pointed out that some great content gets made but it’s easy to give up and stop pushing before getting a return on it. What’s the solution? Don’t stop when you’ve hit an arbitrary target or metric, keep pushing until you’ve squeezed every last drop out of something you’ve made.
Links need Quality and Quantity
The time for spammy linking building has come and gone. While Google used to value websites almost exclusively on the number of links to a site, considering each one a “vote” it’s not so simple any more. For some time it’s been well know that getting a single link from a high authority site, maybe somewhere like the BBC, will give your website a credibility boost. More recently a lot of SEO work has been done by agencies to try and secure these high value nods from big names. And in some case, this has been at the expense of getting a greater number of much more achievable links. Going back to oldschool citation building, submitting a business to online directories, can make up in numbers what it doesn’t have in high authority. Which actually makes this a much lower risk strategy. And of course perfect when partnered with the odd high value link thrown in too.
Don’t get too attached to links, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Citation clean-up can be a pain. No matter how well executed, it’s inevitable that at some point, citations can end up out of sync. If a business changes name, address or phone number in the slightest, tracking down, submitting and then monitoring changes is hugely labour intensive at best. In some cases it’s simply better to cut your loses and “disavow” links by telling Google you don’t like them anymore. But this should be a last ditch attempt to scrape back some credibility. Paul Maddon of Kaboo pointed out that in their experience, 20% of people lost visibility after cleanup, about 50% stayed the same. So clean-up at your peril.
Track your Changes
Keep an eye on what works to justify the continued existence of an SEO campaign. No only will having data to back up those hunches about what works best, it means you get the credit for the SEO work that works. There is still such a disconnect between the alchemy that goes on the the darkest depths of an SEO agency’s office and the end result; more business seems a little far fetched. But there are breadcrumbs. Making changes to a website, from adding content to making technical enhancements has an impact. This can be spotted in a number of ways from visitor analytics to shares, to bringing new customers through the door. Not only will making this chain of events explicitly prove you’re not wasting your time, looking at the nitty gritty can help enhance the next campaign. Learn more about our SEO agency here.