One thing I’ve found on my return to New Zealand (having spent 12 years in the UK before coming back in late 2016) is that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) isn’t as well established here as it is abroad.
It’s really the most incredible form of digital marketing you can do – when done correctly the ROI is unparalleled for any marketing investment.
But because it’s just beginning to take off in NZ now it’s worth looking at some of the jargon that gets thrown around.
On-site SEO is everything to do with your own website; special files for search engines (sitemaps and your robots.txt file), all those meta tags for description and titles, as well as a bunch of extra things that only a professional would think of – like special bits of code that the Bing search engine especially likes to see for your location.
You really want to make sure your on-site SEO is 100%. I can’t stress that enough.
All off-site SEO basically comes down to creating “backlinks”; blasting directory listings with your URL, local citations – they’re all much the same when it comes to it.
Backlinks help if they’re legitimate – which means someone likes your site and has a proper reason to link to it. Any attempt to manipulate your own link profile is technically against Google’s terms and conditions – and they’re adept at catching people and penalising them for it.
It might take them a couple of months to realise what’s going on, but as soon as they do you can kiss your ranking goodbye. I’ve seen medium sized companies go under overnight when their poor practices were discovered.
Nearly every single off-site SEO campaign I’ve ever come across is just a really obvious attempt to trick Google and break their rules. And they come with all kinds of misleading titles, ‘Google safe links”, ‘Google friendly backlinks’, but considering Google is clear that practice is forbidden – there is simply no such thing as a quick way to build backlinks.
It’s the great catch-22 of SEO. Backlinks are good and definitely something you want to foster. But buying them will always come back to haunt you.
Purple takes a pragmatic approach – search engines are surprisingly clear about what they want us to do, and also the obvious tricks to avoid. Our SEO is entirely Google friendly, we very much believe the best approach is to match their approach and fulfill their guidelines and recommendations.
The statistics back us up – proper SEO beats out quick and dirty tricks in the medium to long run every single time.
And ideally that’s how we work with our clients. We don’t just want to delivery something then cut and run. We prefer to work with people over the long term to keep pushing their rankings, and their ROI, higher.
Having said all that there is one method we recommend for fostering links. But it’s slow (perhaps 2 a week) and takes time. This might sound like we’re contradicting everything we’ve just said but again – pragmatism. It’s not even our approach – Matt Cutts from Google Search has discussed it at conferences before.
And if it’s going to work for you, we’ll always do it.