Mike Michalowicz talks with Kris Reid, founder and CEO of Ardor SEO, about strategies people can use to improve the performance of their online businesses.
About Mike Michalowicz
Mike is the host of the Entrepreneurship Elevated Podcast and is an author who enjoys more than just the success of his printed works. He is also an entrepreneur who has built businesses and sold them for millions.
In this podcast, Mike speaks to Kris about SEO and how your business can make waves online with the use of strategies that get people to your site. The discussion begins with how Kris found his way to doing SEO after working in the finance industry. It then continues to how you can become successful online with the use of both SEO and SEM.
Starting Over and Understanding What SEO Is All About
After losing his job in the financial industry after the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis, Kris started wandering the world, trying to look for a new endeavour. Not knowing what to do, he developed an online game, using his programming skills. When he was about to complete it, he wondered how he could get people to find his game. This is when he stumbled upon SEO.
Once he understood what SEO can do, he dropped the game and focused on his new discovery. He soon saw the business opportunities SEO can bring, and decided to provide SEO services, specifically link building. This was when Ardor SEO was born.
Difference Between SEO and SEM
As the conversation progresses, Mike asks Kris about the difference between SEO and SEM. As Kris explains, SEO means “search engine optimisation”, while SEM means “search engine marketing”. It’s easy to get confused between the two since these are pretty similar. The key difference between them, as Kris points out, is that SEO is for organic traffic and SEM is for paid traffic.
SEO is used to help a site show better on the search engine results pages (SERPs) with the use of strategies that include better content, proper keyword usage, and backlinks. While SEM is also used to help people find a website site, it is done in the form of ads.
However, in order for your website to rank using SEO, you need to have a strategy running for a longer time, unlike with SEM where you can get results right away. This is because you are paying Google for the posting of your ads in SEM, whereas organic traffic, which SEO tries to generate, is technically free.
The Evolution of SEO Throughout the Years
While some SEO strategies, which were being used to help sites show better on the SERPs in the past still being applied today, a lot has changed in this line of work. According to Kris, the changes include how Google and other search engines view the efforts that are put into the optimisation of a site and what resources are used. The biggest change is in the types of backlinks that are used to make a site rank better.
In the past, any backlink that came from authority sites, regardless of whether it was in the content or in the comments, was considered legit. It was viewed by Google’s crawlers then as a sign that your site is worth giving a better rank.
After a few algorithm changes, the backlinks that were placed by website owners in the comment section of such authority sites were no longer considered legitimate backlinks. This means that these links are no longer useful, and only backlinks that are found in the actual content are given importance.
Another change in SEO that Kris mentions when algorithm updates and ranking is discussed is in content creation. In the past, thin content on a site was fine as long as relevant keywords were used. However, over the years, Google’s algorithms were also made to be smarter, distinguishing thin content from relevant and useful ones. This is where creating high-quality content became another important factor in SEO.
Lessons You Can Learn About SEO
Aside from how Kris helped Mike improve his site and how they first worked together, the discussion also tackles a lot of other interesting points on SEO. There are many things you need to remember in making your site worthy of a nod from the Googlebots, and these include the following:
Keyword use is important – Your choice of keywords can make or break your site. To find the right keywords, you need to do some research using paid and free tools. One of these tools is Ahrefs, which helps you find out what keywords your competitors use and which ones most people use to find your competitors.
Another thing you need to consider when it comes to keywords is to use other words that will still benefit your site. These don’t necessarily have to be words your business is directly associated with. There are other words that can bring relevant traffic to your site. For example, if you’re a business coach, your site can get relevant traffic from people who need your advice with the right keyword use. One keyword you can focus on is “business ideas”, since it can bring people who need help with their business to your site.
Thin content is big no-no – As mentioned earlier, thin content is something that was okay to use in the past, but not with the present algorithm used by Google. Not only that your content should be relevant to your site, but it should also be useful to your visitors. You also need to create content that is shareable and can get you more than just clicks. It should encourage people to recommend you to others.
Quality backlinks are a must – Even with all the algorithm changes, there is still one thing that Google uses to determine if your site is worth a top position on the SERPs, and that is your backlinks. These links should come from authority sites that are relevant to your niche. These links should also be found within the content of these authority sites and not in the comments sections or forums.
Negative SEO is no longer a strategy you can use – In the past, before Google rolled out the Penguin update, sites could bring their competitor’s ranks down by doing what is called negative SEO. This was when competitors can post links to your site on websites that are non-authoritative. This can bring your site’s ranking down. After the update, this method has been ignored by Google as long as your site has links coming from better sources.
The small things on your site are still important – One of the things Kris points out during the interview is that some things that people ignore on a site are actually still important for SEO.
One example of these is the meta description, which has a significant impact on how Google sees your site’s relevance to your niche. It can also help potential visitors see what a page can offer. Another thing that some people take for granted when putting together a site is the URLs of their pages. URLs should be relevant to the topic and the keywords you want to rank for.
At the end of the interview, you will come away with useful information about SEO and how to analyse your site. Knowing how to check your site for flaws will help increase its traffic and make it rank better on the SERPs. You will also realise that there are some factors that used to matter in SEO in the past that no longer matter today.
What you need to do for your site to help it rank better and for you to increase your revenue is to continue to tweak it as Google keeps on rolling out algorithm updates. You can do this on your own or you can engage the services of SEO experts who can do this for you the proper way. Either way, optimising your site is a must if you want to see good results that your business deserves.
To listen to the whole podcast, click this link.