I’m doing a lot of reading at the moment for my digital marketing diploma with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and there are several themes that I am repeatedly coming across. In my mind, one of the most interesting is also common sense: produce what human beings want in order to be rewarded, particularly in relation to SEO (search engine optimisation).
SEO – creating what people like
A common message is that what is good for human beings is good for SEO. Create interesting, engaging content that people will like, and you will be rewarded in Google rankings. This is because Google’s sophisticated algorithms will take into account social signals such as sharing on social media and back-linking (where someone has linked to one of your web pages).
But how did we come to think that what isn’t good for humans would help us? Previously, the criteria Google used to reward us in search rankings was very different, and this lead to search engine optimisers using techniques to fool search engines. These methods have since been outmoded and may well be penalised (e.g. stuffing keyword text onto a web page using the same colour as the background, so that it can be seen by search engines but not by site visitors).
According to Chaffey and Gurd (2014), meta descriptions have little impact on ranking position. Does that mean we shouldn’t bother to carefully craft meta description text? Absolutely not, and they expand on why. The meta description is the piece of text that appears under the page title in the listings of a Google search. The more relevant this piece of text is to your target audience, the more likely it is that visitors will click on the link and be pleased with with what they find there. Apparently, search crawlers also use meta descriptions to help decide what is duplicate content. In other words, human-friendly meta descriptions not only describe each of your web pages individually and make it more likely a human being will click on these pages, they help to prevent Google from thinking the pages contain duplicate content and therefore penalising them – a scenario more likely if page titles and meta descriptions are the same for a large number of pages on your website.
The concluding message?
If your business or organisation relies at all on being found in the search engines, it is advisable that the correct staff have an understanding of how basic SEO works, especially those who regularly produce content for your business, such as web content including images and video, blogs, and social media posts. But an important message does seem to be emerging: act naturally and think about what your readers will like. Much of the time you will be rewarded.
Looking for help with your digital marketing and creating online content? Contact Janine to discuss your organisation’s needs further on 015394 69034 / 07707 038 092 or email firstname.lastname@example.org