If you run a consumer company, then Google could be your best friend or your worst nightmare. We sat down with Dan Clarke of disruptient, one of Asia's best Search Engine Optimization(SEO) experts to learn some quick SEO tips that anyone in the industry should know.
Why is SEO Important?
On any given day there are 3.5 billion searches on Google. Some of these are folks looking for the weather, but these could also be folks looking to find a new restaurant or buy flowers. Being the top ranked result for those queries could be the difference between your business making it or failing. Having a good SEO strategy according to Dan, is a major factor in building a successful online business.
Major SEO Mistakes people tend to make
Undeniably, startups are often functioning in fast moving environments where features and products and strategies are thrown against the wall to see what sticks and works. The result is often huge overlapping areas of content competing with each-other for keywords and they don't always benefit in terms of SEO.
Among the most common mistakes in startups? Dan reveals the lack of holistic overview in terms of site schemes and content planning and strategy.
For starters, do comprehensive research around the market you are dabbling in. If that involves knowing what your competitors are doing, do it.
The secret according to Dan, is no secret. Plan out the schematics of your site from the ground up and plan out any potential areas of duplication or internal conflict.
When you know this information at the back of your hand, duplication can be avoided as can the chance of keyword overlapping.
How to get the most SEO value from your site?
Having worked at Google for the past 3 years has taught me that Google can't rank what it can't see, so the website has to be visible in the public domain by both users and search engine bots.
Dan further shared with us the increasing trend of SPA (Single Page Application) websites and the desire to load a whole lot of fancy features within the page. This according to him can be a real blocker for search engines to read and understand, and there needs to be constant checks to ensure the content is presented in a way that search engines can also interpret.
Secondly, no more emphasis can be placed on how "content is king" and there is no replacement for well written informative content. This means you can't simply copy paste from Wikipedia or from a product manufacturer's website and reproduce it as yours. If you want that take the top spot in Google, you have to earn it. No success comes easy. And nobody has it easy when attempting to climb up the Google ranking. Not from Dan's knowledge.
Finally, all marketing efforts has to revolve around customer centricity.
Before embarking on changes you subjectively think will boost your SEO value, consider how it will benefit website users. Most importantly, go the clean way. Avoid black-hat trickery that could lead to a penalty from Google, at all cost.
Given the choice of doing something for users or for SEO, choose prioritising of users every time and then build the SEO fallback into that option.