5 Things You Didn’t Know About SEO

Local Keyword Optimization

Keywords Scrabble

...or as the SEO experts in Pittsburgh call it: SEO 101. Keyword optimization is standard for those familiar with SEO, but if you’re a newcomer, this might be news to you. It all pivots on the basic algorithms of the search engines people use to find businesses. The goal is to be as high up on that results list as possible, and working with search engine algorithms is the key to doing that. When people search for businesses, you want the content on your webpage to as closely match that search as possible. This is where keywords come in.

The goal is to think of how people would search for your business. “Plumber New York” or “injury lawyer Pittsburgh” whatever you do you want the content on your page to pick up those keywords so when someone searches for “llama herd new mexico” you’re the first thing they see.

Optimize for People First

website design planning drawn on paper

So you’re familiar with the concept of keyword optimization -- excellent. Now, let’s get a little deeper into how to these result algorithms work. It used to be that the internet was reserved for only the most technical among us. If you had a website, odds are you built it yourself back in the day, and that meant you had a lot of technical knowledge. This trend is changing now, however. With CMS platforms like WordPress or SavviCMS, anyone can launch web content regardless of technical knowledge.

With this change in the online environment has come a change in the way search algorithms work as well. In the past, when nerds ruled the web, search engines would hunt sites for metadata to determine search relevance. Nowadays search engines like Google or Bing still do this, of course, but they’re starting to learn how to determine if users are getting what they need from the sites on the results page. AI has come a long way, and there are ways of collecting data on user experience (UX) that we didn’t have in the past. These trends will only continue in the future toward UX data, so it’s best to build your site around UX rather than metadata relevance.

Content Content Content

Number of Words Chart

Graph taken from BackLinko

Content Topic Graph

Graph taken from BackLinko

Speaking of UX, the SEO experts in Pittsburgh want to make sure you understand the importance of the content you put on your site. There are two key factors to your content that can boost your SEO:

  1. Content length

  2. Content relevance

Both of these are important for achieving maximum SEO. In a recent study conducted by BackLinko of over 1 million Google search results, they discovered 2 important things about site content and SEO.

  1. Longer content ranks better than shorter content

The average content found on the first page of Google search results contained an average of 1,890 words.

  1. Content ranked “topically relevant” by MarketMuse ranked significantly higher than content that didn’t cover a topic in depth

You can see the results for yourself in the graphs taken from the BackLinko study. There’s a clear negative correlation between both word count and topic coverage and Google result position. This is visual confirmation of what the SEO experts at Pittsburgh’s Savvior have known all along: content is king when it comes to SEO.

Speed is More Important than You Thought

website speed graphic

Graphic taken from Savvior webpage

So your content is on point; it’s the perfect length and perfectly in-depth, but your SEO is still struggling. Remember, the key these days it optimizing UX. With that in mind, your loading speeds could be killing your SEO. The SEO experts at Pittsburgh’s Savvior have seen it before: a great site just doesn’t have the speed users are looking for, and their SEO suffers because of it.

The cost to your SEO is two fold when your loading speeds aren’t up to par:

  1. It’s long been suspected that Google punished slow loading pages with lower results slots, but in early 2019, they officially announced that’s just what they plan to do. As of this year, page speed is an official factor for Google in determining result placement.

  2. Even if your page ranks high enough for someone to click on, 47% of users expect a page to load in 2 seconds and 40% will give up after 3 seconds according to a survey by Akamai.

These numbers should be worrisome to businesses trying to boost SEO. Making sure every aspect of your UX is up to industry standard and user expectation is going to make all the difference.

Ads aren’t Everything

Google Baby Wipe Search

Picture taken from Gorilla360

In fact, according to a lot of studies and the SEO experts at Pittsburgh’s Savvior: ads are almost nothing. The concept is simple: the goal is to be at the top of the page, so let’s pay to get there. When you search for anything, usually the first few results have a little “Ad” icon next to them indicating that the site user has paid the search engine to show you them first. A lot of business owners might be tempted to use this strategy. It’s much easier to pay for SEO than to try to build it organically afterall. But is paying for clicks really worth your money?

No! It’s not. Don’t do it. Unless you’re running an uber successful mega-corporation with money to burn on AdWords but somehow not on organic SEO growth, don’t do it.

Here are the facts:

  • It’s too expensive for businesses without capital to burn.

    • The average AdWords customer is going to spend $1 - $2 or more per click (with the most expensive Ads costing closer to $50/click). This tactic was fine when it was pennies per click, but now that people are realizing SEO is everything, Google is taking every opportunity to profit. It’s simply too much of a financial burden when organic SEO development can be just as -- if not more -- profitable.

  • It doesn’t even work that well.

    • According to Cliff Sarcona at Zero Limit Web “On the first page alone, the first five organic results account for 67.60% of all the clicks.”

    • Accounting for all other clicks the best pay per click (PPC) ad space can ever hope to reach is about 15% of all click traffic with numbers usually not even breaking 10%.

Channel Distribution for Website

From these studies, you really have 2 takeaways:

  1. SEO matters a lot. Almost 70% of traffic goes to the first 5 organic results. That means you need to do everything you can to get your SEO to that level or else your online presence won’t even be noticed more than half the time.

  2. PPC ads simply are not worth the money. Given that you pay per click, you might be saving some money -- seeing as no one clicks on them. It’s better to grow your SEO organically so you can be in that coveted first 5.