4.1 Introduction

If you check the bio of the author of Comparing SEO to PPC you will see she is not new to search engine marketing - and so her opinion carries some weight. Note how the articles differentiates SEO from advertising on search engines ... just as I have done in this book - and as I have done since advertising on search engines started.

These search commands for Google are useful for people searching on Google - but are included here as they can also help search engine optimizers in determining where keywords/search terms can be placed within a site.

Another factor that impacts the issue of SEO being the first consideration in any digital marketing strategy is the expertise, knowledge and understanding of the product category the potential customers has before they make a purchase decision.
If your customers are likely to have expertise, they may not even search all – or do very little. At the other end of the scale, there are [potential] customers who know very little about the product category – and because they do not know the questions to ask, where to find the answers or how to interpret any information they receive … also conduct little or no search.
Adding to the digital marketers’ problem is, of course, that there are people who fit along the whole continuum of these two extremes.

There is a tendency to assume that Google dominates search. Well, it is certainly the main player ... but dominates? Decide for yourself when you take a look at the Worldwide search market share of Bing.

GO ONLINE *page 91* Google in crisis?.

This article should really be listed in section 4.4, but I have included it here as it reinforces my contention that SEO is the foundation of much of online marketing. When you read 7 on-site SEO problems that hold back e-commerce sites note how all of the points raised are issues in subsequent chapters of this book i.e. good practice in SEO is good practice in other aspects of digital marketing ... and vice versa.

Another piece of research that supports my contention for SEO being the pivot for online marketing is the first section of this article titled: 87% of shoppers start their hunt for a new product on digital channels So if you sell a product that might be 'new' to your customers, being high on the SERP is essential.

In the text I say that if you are new to a market with a similar product, the chances of getting to the top of the SERPs are negligible. And here is some evidence. These results [from digital agency Roast, weareroast.com] are for searches for in-car dash cameras. Although they are for voice searches, I suspect they are much the same as for typed searches. Notice how two brands’ websites dominate the results. Imagine trying to break that duopoly for a new camera? Tip: sell it on Amazon [see chapter 6.4] … see the search results

Ignore the title and consider this to be a brief history of Google search … What to believe about SEO in 2018 and beyond?

How SEO Impacts the Ecommerce Sales Funnel

If this chapter is an introduction to SEO [which it is] then Supercharging your SEO with AI: Insights, automation and personalization takes us towards 'advanced' SEO ... and the future. Note however, that without knowledge of the basics of SEO this makes no sense

Just to confirm that social media hasn't taken over search ... People Are Finding Articles Through Google More Than Facebook and search engines still dominate over social media, even for millennials.

I've included Here’s how to monitor for negative SEO to show that if you depend on search engines for new customers, SEO is a full-time job.

Although on the face of it What makes people click on search ads? is about search advertising, I think the results of the research emphasize my assertion that people use search engines to solve problems - so the marketer's job is to solve them as easily as possible.

You should expect Google organic search CTRs decline on desktop, see big drop on phones to be the trend for the future.


4.2 How search engines work

GO ONLINE *page 69* The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors Search Engine Land’s SEO periodic table

In the West we tend to get carried away with Google, but in China Baidu rules. Here's Seven on-page SEO tips for Baidu and here's a marketer's guide to Chinese search engines.

DuckDuckGo (DDG) is an Internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers' privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results. DDG distinguishes itself from other search engines by not profiling its users and by deliberately showing all users the same search results for a given search [Wikipedia.org]... see DuckDuckGo

Although All About The New Google RankBrain Algorithm concentrates on a change [in October 2015] to Google's algorithm, it also explains a lot more about how the search engine works.

Sometimes it’s best to go to the horse’s mouth … Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide and How Search Works.

Ignore the date, these SEO ranking factors in 2018 have been pretty much the same since the dawn of Google.

I've included Multifaceted featured snippets begin rolling out in Google search results as an example of how Google's search results evolve over time - the chances are that students reading this in a couple of years time won't realise that pre-2018 SERPs didn't include these things.

Just a reminder that SEO is always changing ... Google confirms broad search algorithm update is rolling out.

I have included Google admits it’s using very limited personalization in search results not so much for the story, but as an illustration of how SEs change over time.

Are Google ranking factors studies just plain dumb?.

I do not mention search optimization for Facebook - but Facebook demystifies its search platform, says searches performed off-site don’t factor suggests that if you want your business to appear in search results you must be [very] active on the platform.

Rise of Mobile Users Alters SEO Tactics.


4.3 Keyword selection

Using data extracted from AdWords You Say Law Firm, I Say Lawyer is an excellent case study on keyword selection and use. If you think it gets a bit complex, that is the point of me including the link here. It might not be rocket science, but it is more complex than some people would have you think.

Voice search tips … guidelines for Google Assistant and voice search evaluations

An easy way to see if Google thinks your web pages are keyword relevant.

The most powerful words are often not searched for.

When seeking help on identifying how keywords are used in search queries so that textual content can be developed that is SE friendly there are more online tools than you can shake a stick at - but I quite like answer the public. Note, however, that this free service is aimed at voice search terms - but I think you can use it for text searches also.

Already doing SEO? Add these two things to optimize for voice search.

In the book I touch on the subject of matching keywords with the intent of the searcher [e.g. 'flooded bathroom']. Intent-based keyword research: Let Google be your guide. addresses the issue by considering what can go wrong if searcher intent is ignored. Note that this issues is equally relevant to SE advertising.

How to understand searcher intent and use it to boost SEO rankings.

I've included Mine Competitors for Top Keywords not only for the sound advice that it offers, but as a reminder that the reverse is also true: Your competitors can mine your keywords - and so SEO has to be an ongoing task if you're to stay on top of the SERPs.

Keyword research strategies in a close-variant world is another story that is, in itself, useful - but it is also yet another example of how complex SEO is ... and that in SEO things are always changing.

Tips for optimizing content for voice search, virtual assistants.

The importance of understanding intent for SEO.

Free Keyword Research in 3 Steps.


4.4 On-site optimization

GO ONLINE *page 85* SEO - it's about the relationship

YouTube SEO 101

Google My Business video uploads now available to business owners

Google's quality score is a key ingredient in the SEO mix ... Optimizing for quality score is a best practice, except when it’s not. Here’s why provides a good insight into it.

Funny how us old school SEOs go back to the sensible advice we dreamed up in the mid 1990s. In the case of the advice given in SEO: Store Locators Good for Bots, Good for Shoppers I simply copied the idea of website navigation from text books i.e. a contents list for chapters with each chapter divided into sections - it makes each subject easy to find.

You can now add your business description in Google My Business tells us that the owner/manager can now write a description of their business for Google's 'my business' facility ... it does not say how important that description is. It is - effectively - a call to action could well be the difference between a click on your business rather than on a competitor. That description should be written by someone who knows what they are doing - and that is unlikely to be the owner/manager of that business.

Note that let’s face it — clickbait works. Here’s how to use it to your advantage includes both SEO [terms used in the page's 'title' tag] and search advertising [the first line of the ad].

I've includeda day in the life of... a head of content at a search marketing agency to show: [a] the job/role exists, and [b] what it involves.

Building links in boring industries is a good example of the amount of work that goes into effective link building.

SEO: How to Win against Giant Competitors.

Optimize for local SEO and drive more customers to your business.

Internal links: Link building’s secret sauce.

How to Attract Clicks on a Search Engine Results Page.

Probably more important to smaller, local businesses, I did not mention this specifically in the book, but How do you optimize for Google Discover? is becoming more and more relevant.

A simple 3-step framework for improving your technical SEO could be in the next chapter as everything in it is good practice for website development.

I don't think you should take the claim of Targeted SEO: Here’s how to grow a page from 200 visits per month to 30,000 too seriously as the 'targeted' page is rather unique - however, the advice on how to achieve it is sound.

. At the end of this section I refer to my website being on alancharlesworth.eu. Well, since then I have moved it to alancharlesworth.com - but the issues are the same.

4.5 Off-site optimization

GO ONLINE *page 87* link spam.

GO ONLINE *page 91* using spamdexing/SEO spamming - SEO incompetence .

Here are a few articles on links that are a bit old - but they will tell you all you need to know. If you take the time to read them all you will come to appreciate that not only is serious link building a strategic concern, but it is very time consuming. However, on the strategic side of things, you will note that some of the suggestions go beyond link building eg developing a competition on your website to encourage links - the competition itself might be considered as a marketing tactic in its own right. In other words, SEO should be a key aspect of the organization's marketing strategy. 50+ More Things Every Link Builder Should Know, 4 Ways to Wash Away The Link Building Hate, 5 Pieces Of Content: 25 Link Ideas, Link to my awesome content, please!, How To Attract Killer Links For E-Commerce Sites and 10 Questions To Ask When Creating A Link Building Campaign does answer some of the basic questions on the issue, and so is useful - however, some of it does seem just a bit creepy to me. Not sure it's the type of job I would enjoy doing every day :)

Google is making strides with Google My Business.

Why real human users are the key to the best links for you.

This advice is forever, not just this year … 18 link resolutions for 2018.

If Restaurant owners can now edit menu listings in Google My Business - what else can a business change?

A link-building case study: Using brand mentions and competitive linking tactics not only has some good advice, but it shows that serious SEO is a full time job.

14 Ways to Earn Backlinks Without Begging [Infographic]

Google My Business expands menu editor to support service menus.

12 Tips to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO Success.

With regard to finding customers I have always been a fan of the rifle approach [one shot at a specific target] to the shotgun approach [fire a thousand small bullets into the air and hope they hit something] Here’s how to ‘expertly’ hit a link-building home run suggests a similar approach for link building. Note that it is very much strategic in nature.

There are a couple of good ideas in 4 Sales Lessons for SEO Link Building ... though I have to say that I disagree with the author's comment that 'SEO was easy' in 1996.

Do Businesses Really Use Google My Business Posts? A Case Study.

4.6 Strategic search engine optimization

PRACTICAL INSIGHT *pg93* Google algorithm updates.
The statement from Google in Google confirms core search ranking algorithm update confirms that minor changes to the algorithm take place on a daily basis and significant changes several times a year.

Something like Google’s de-indexing issue still not fully resolved happens too often for it to be significant news - but for those organizations affected it can be the difference between making a profit or going broke. I have included it here as a warning against a digital marketing strategy that depends entirely on a third party [e.g. Google] over whom they have no influence or control.

Although these could have been in several sections of this chapter, I have put Do you have a shot at ranking for that phrase? under ‘strategic SEO’ as it gives a good idea of the wider context of what it takes to get to the top of the SERPs.

International SEO: How to build a global footprint.

I have included Building an in-house search marketing team part 1 and part 2 to show how serious SEO is for some organizations.

B2B Marketers Should Embrace “Tire Kickers” is a bit old ... but still valid.


4.7 Third-party search engine ranking

I wasn't sure where to list A Small Business Guide to Google My Business ... but as it is about being found on Google, but on a site owned by someone else - albeit, Google - I decided this was the right section. I think there is a reasonable argument that for many small businesses, this could be their web presence.