“Where can I go to get trusted information?”

I’m often pondering this question for both work and personal topics. In this “fake news” era, the results, which come up at the top of Google when you’re in research-mode, aren’t necessarily the most trust-worthy.

If you have a question about growing your online business, you may be asking:

  • How do I improve my website’s SEO?
  • How can I get more traffic to my website?
  • How do I make my content go viral?
  • How can I grow my mailing list?
  • How do I make my website load faster?
  • How do I get more people to open my newsletters?
  • Which social media platform should I focus on?
  • What’s the best way to gain more social media followers?
  • How can I get Google and Facebook ads working?

Have you ever tried Googling one of these topics?

Oh. My. Goodness. Everyone’s shouting their answers at you, often promising easy answers to build your business (well, if you only buy their products). It can start to feel like a late-night infomercial that sucks you in, gives you hope that all your problems will be quickly solved and that soon, your business will be successful just like theirs. It’s overwhelming.

It doesn’t ever seem to quite work out like that though (glowing testimonials aside). Growing your business is hard work. And so is designing an effective website. Much thought, planning, testing, experimenting, and incremental improvements are needed to learn what works for your business, today.

Things change

Strategies or “tricks” which used to work may no longer. Worse, they could even be harmful. The number of times we’ve had clients come to us with really bad SEO or website speed advice that they got via a free emailed report or an article…

Two recent shifts include:

  • Google and Facebook incrementally and slowly pushing everyone to advertise to get the kind of results which used to come for free — this means considering advertising in your marketing plan, even if you are a publisher which makes money from ads on your website.

  • More and more internet access is via mobile (40% of all traffic is via mobile in the US, 60% of online video views globally are via mobile) — this means thoroughly testing your website works well, is fast-loading on phones, and segmenting your Google Analytics data by mobile vs non-mobile. It’s not enough to have a responsive website — it needs to truly be mobile-friendly.

So where can we go for good, quality information?

For SEO and site speed advice, you really cannot go past Google’s own very thorough SEO guide and their webmasters’ blog which has their latest official news. (Subscribe to get updates via email, like I do.)

The guide begins by saying:

“If you own, manage, monetize, or promote online content via Google Search, this guide is meant for you. You might be the owner of a growing and thriving business, the webmaster of a dozen sites, the SEO specialist in a Web agency or a DIY SEO ninja passionate about the mechanics of Search: this guide is meant for you. If you’re interested in having a complete overview of the basics of SEO according to our best practices, you are indeed in the right place. This guide won’t provide any secrets that’ll automatically rank your site first in Google (sorry!), but following the best practices outlined below will hopefully make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand your content.”

There’s also a bunch of helpful resources that the guide links off to.

Learn their best practice information inside-out, then line up anything else you read on the topic against this. (Or, consider ignoring what the gurus are saying about SEO.) 

When we design and build your website, we are lining everything up against Google’s best practice. And definitely, no secret dangerous ninja maneuvers to try and trick Google.

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