It's no secret that Google are continually revising their core updates in order to improve search results to their users. Therefore your positioning in the results can change accordingly.
But you may wonder why would your position change? Google actually give a simple analogy for this situation: Imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015, then in 2019 you refresh the list. Obviously the results are going to change. New movies may have come out, or you might reassess ones you previously saw and think they deserve a higher or lower place.
So apply this thinking to your website and understand that If your site drops.......it doesn't mean there's something necessarily wrong with it. It's just that newer sites may have come along, or possibly existing sites have increased the quality of their content to rank higher than they previously were.
Which brings me to the crucial word: Content!
Google doesn't rank your site on how artistic and pretty it is.....it doesn't care. In fact it can't even see how attractive it is because the search engine spider doesn't actually have eyes......it's just a machine that's scraping data off the page. It wouldn't know whether an image showed a Spanish Beach or the Spanish Inquisition unless I put in an "alt tag" to tell it that information. The visuals are just window dressing for your users......nothing more.
Of course your site must look attractive and professional.........but it has no bearing on your search positioning.
On-site optimisations to present your content to users and search engines are important........but ultimately you will live or die according to what your content contains. There's no way round this fact, and as I always say......"There is no Magic Bullet".
Google have just released an updated directive confirming what it is they look for when assessing a website. Full information HERE!
There's nothing in it that they haven't stated before as per previous Google Search Quality Guidelines, but it's worth you just browsing through these to get a better overall perspective:
Content and quality questions
Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?
If you researched the site producing the content, would you come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely-recognized as an authority on its topic?
Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?
Is the content free from easily-verified factual errors?
Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life?
Presentation and production questions
Is the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?
Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?
Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
Does the content seem to be serving the genuine interests of visitors to the site or does it seem to exist solely by someone attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
So forget what the SEO mail spammers say, forget what the bloke in the pub says, forget what the internet blowhards who claim to be the world's foremost SEO expert say......that directive as above is straight from the horse's mouth.
We may not agree with it! From my point of view it could be argued that whoever's got the best wordsmith (not the best web developer) on their team has the upper hand in this. But the good news is that great wordsmiths are few and far between in this business - because they're all earning much better money as journalists.
So if you are able to come up with content that demonstrates your industry knowledge while giving users valuable information, it will stand you in good stead when Google does it's indexing. And it also gives you something to promote on Social Media to a much wider audience.
It appears that 2018 has started with an avalanche of Spam e-mails from self professed SEO Experts, Marketing Consultants, Promotional Analysts.....and various other surreal titles that these people dream up. And the content of these mails all contain serious warnings.
The mails usually emanate from the Indian subcontinent, and for reasons best known to themselves these individuals will be doing business under some ludicrous pseudonym like Buck Rogers, Rhett Butler, or Troy Tempest.
Their modus operandi is basically to panic you by forecasting imminent doom for you and your business due to multitudes of technical problems with your site! And they'll know all this just by getting the e-mail address off it! Because that is all they've actually done!
This approach can be viewed as an unethical and misleading practice designed to take advantage of end users who don't understand the technical aspects. Or maybe they're just that inept that they believe it themselves. Either way, they want your money.....and they'll tell you anything to get it.
Their usual sales pitches, based on total fiction, go along these lines:
1. Your site can't be found on Google. Call me cynical, but I don't think they've thought this one out very well. Because if you can't be found on Google, how did they find you? Crystal Ball? Ouija Board? The Voices in their Head?
2. No metatags on the pages! These are the keywords that can be put in the header of each page.....visible to search engines only. Problem is they've actually been obsolete for over 10 years!
Just see what Google said back in 2009: Google does not use the keywords meta tag. So putting in metatags is irrelevant! Nobody can see them and search engines don't use them! But these "experts" are quite happy to charge you to put them in anyway.
3. Not enough Keywords! These are still relevant today but in a contextual and natural manner, and used in moderation. Don't look to jam them in wherever you can or you'll end up getting penalised for poor quality content.
Simple rule to follow: Deliver information on your site in a natural manner as if you were speaking to somebody face to face. As an example, if you are an estate agent in Spain would you actually stand in front of a prospecive client and say something like this? "Property for Sale Spain, Best Spanish Property, Spanish Property Costa del Sol etc etc". Of course you wouldn't.....so why do it on your website?
Google has analysed your site as a human would since 2015.....using it's Artificial Intelligence System RankBrain. So just write for humans because that's what Google wants. Jamming keywords will only diminish your credibility as far as Google is concerned.
4. A specific type of website application is better for SEO! Totally wrong! Google doesn't care whether you use Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, or even basic HTML. They are only interested in the end result.....which is whether you have a quality site that delivers value to users. The actual software application that is powering it is irrelevant. So somebody using this pitch will be trying to get you to order a new website from them by dangling the carrot of SEO enhancement.
5. You don't have enough H1, H2, H3 tags on your site! While it is still good practice to use them if required, the practice of stuffing them everywhere has no bearing whatsoever. And may even be viewed as spammy in some cases.
Basically, it's the quality of the content covered by the tags that is evaluated.....not the tag itself. Start putting them everywhere with insufficient depth of content to warrant it sends a clear signal to Google. And not a positive one.
6. Social media likes and shares boost search engine rankings! The simple act of liking or sharing has no bearing on your site's search engine positioning at all. If it drives traffic to your site then that is a different matter and is viewed as a positive signal. Social media activity is highly recommended to get your business and brand directly in front of potential clients ......thereby eliminating them searching on Google where your rankings may not be so good. There's more ways than Google to generate business these days.
But selling you Social Media promotional services under the guise of it somehow enhancing your presence on Google is incorrect. You'll only enhance your presence on the Social Media channels....nowhere else.
So what is the Reality?
The reality is contained in Google's Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. What they stipulate as essential requirements are Page Quality, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness, Supplementary Content, Quality User Experience, Functionality, Mobile optimisation, SSL Security, and Page Loading Speed. Remember that there's a wealth of articles on this site that cover these areas.....and all with links to Google for validation.
As I always say, we do not provide SEO services......we just build websites properly based on Google's guidelines! Nobody elses's!
We follow their directives and then implement those processes in the best way possible for your business.
So what Buck Rogers says, what a Kiddie Blogger says, what the man in the pub says, or what a friend of a friend who knows about this stuff says......they're not relevant to me! Don't let them be relevant to you either!
After many years of being involved in the IT industry, plus working in other business sectors prior to 1988......I notice that one thing never changes! And that is the endless quest for "cheap".
Obviously, there's absolutely nothing wrong with looking for the best deal when you're buying something. But don't confuse "cheap" with "value for money", because these are two different things. Particularly in regard to web design.
There are some things in life that you don't want to cut corners on, because they're just too important to take chances with. And what you're talking about in this context is the future of you and your family. Effectively, it's not a question of how much money you can save at the time.....it's more a question of how much money you can lose in the future.
Now let's relate this to business web design services by examining some options when you're planning a website!
1. For example, you can get basic website building software for a few pounds and have a go yourself! Why not...it can't do any harm surely?
2. And there's always a self-professed expert down the pub who knows all about this stuff. Don't be put off by the fact that he doesn't actually do this for a living successfully.....because what could go wrong?
3. And if those options don't work, you could always use a FaceBook Business page of course. That way you don't even have to pay for a domain or web hosting! Result.
4. Now here's a radical one! Contact a number of professional web designers, look for a verifiable track record, check testimonials, and get a feel for who you think is right for you.
So you make your choice out of those options above, and let's say you go for options 1, 2 or 3. You add some content to your page telling people how professional you are, and then wait for business to come in. Unfortunately, you find that nothing happens, nobody seems to take you seriously, and then you start getting frustrated.
But look at the way you went about it.....look at the end result.....does that say "professional" to you? And here's the thing, it's not going to say "professional" to anybody else either.
So besides presenting yourself unprofessionally, you've now made claims that none of your previous business decisions actually substantiate. Add loss of credibility to the unprofessionalism, and before you've even got off the ground you've stacked the odds against you. The bottom line is that if you can't demonstrate a reasonable degree of professionalism to prospective clients, then why would they expect you to be professional in what you do for them?
It doesn't have to be that way, but unfortunately that way is the legacy of cheap. Now I'm sure that you don't need the grief, and you most certainly don't need the loss of credibility, so play it safe and go for option 4. It's a no-brainer!
This option doesn't have to be expensive, shop around, do your research, and get testimonials from prospective companies.
With us, you are guaranteed to get a professional website that is fully mobile compatible, you'll receive unsurpassed support, and prospective clients (plus competitors) will know that you're deadly serious about what you're doing.
Admittedly that option isn't "cheap".....but in terms of "value for money" we think it's unbeatable. Only you can make your business a success, but now you've got a professional platform on which to plan your future. If you're serious about your future, only option 4 gives you a realistic chance of success. While options 1,2, and 3, whichever way you dress them up, are no more than occupational suicide. So choose wisely!