The Truth About On-Page SEO
This post is likely to be controversial and I think a few people aren’t going to like it, but I do think you deserve to know the truth before spending your hard earned cash on content-based SEO.
Before I start, I want to clarify that this is only on-page SEO; I’m not talking about off-page or technical SEO which are both completely different.
First of all, let me get this off my chest…
Most of the things you are told about on-page SEO is BULL SHIT.
I’ll leave you for a second so that can sink it.
Now, I would never consider myself to an SEO Expert. My previous role included SEO Specialist in the title, however, unless your name is Rand Fishkin and/or you dedicate all of your time to watching every trend and understanding every change in Google, no one is going to be an expert in on-page SEO…ever! So, if someone tells you otherwise, they might honestly believe they are, but they’re not.
Why? Because on-page SEO is mostly guesswork. The only people who can possibly know 100% what is going to work, is Google insiders, and they’re so secretive about the whole concept, it’s difficult to be sure of that. Google don’t even announce Google Algorithms anymore.
Back in 2015, I attended my first BrightonSEO – now don’t get me wrong, I have attended three times, and I love the idea behind it, however I’m dubious of some of the talks, but that’s another conversation! Anyway, back to 2015 and the first talk my colleague and I went to (which was pretty damn exciting) was with two ex Google employees who have gone out on their own. At the end of the talk, they opened the floor to questions and someone say behind me asked about why some larger companies seemed to get away with Black Hat practices whilst smaller ones got penalised. Both ex Google guys insisted that all websites get treated the same, however the questioner had evidence to the contrary. He had no reason to lie. Therefore, this kinda planted the seed of doubt for me that even Google don’t fully understand how things truly work. I’ve been sceptical ever since.
The Real Problem
The problem lies in the fact that when “experts” give well-intended advice (and I do genuinely believe that the vast majority of “experts” do offer advice with the best of intentions), they might be using advice that has worked for them, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. There are a number of reasons for this:
Your competition will always be different, even if they work in the same – or similar – industry
Google Algorithms change all the time and most of the time, no one is made aware of them anymore.
Does This Mean SEO is a Waste of Time?
I know from over ten years working with SEO that it definitely can – and definitely does – work.
With SEO being so sketchy, it is ultimately a big game of guesswork, experimenting with trial-and-error, and finding what works for your website, or even different areas of your website.
Just remember that Google is a lot smarter than many of us truly give it credit for. In ways, it is scary how smart Google is. As such, Google understands context and wants to ensure that the content you use on your website will be relevant to the audience it thinks will be interested in your content.
It’s important to note that it is your job to make sure that you understand your customers well enough that you can effectively show Google exactly what you can offer them.
Of course keywords are a part of this, however don’t put all of your focus on them. Keywords are important, but they should be a natural bi-product of your content, not the other way around.
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