SEO Lies damned lies statistics and the history of the web

seo lies damn lies statistics

“AdWords, SEO, Lies, damned lies, statistics”

While I don’t have any statistics a great number of webistes are more about lying than telling the truth.  Many websites you find in searches are found because of deceptive SEO practices. Generally, deceptive SEO practices point to deceptive websites.

There are two fundamental ways that websites are found in searches:

  • Organic searches – there is no paid advertising involved and Google and other search engine magic formulas (algorithms) deliver some sites to you based on the search terms you typed in. This is highly dependent on how well the content of pages on the site aligns with the terms you entered but to a much higher degree depends on the site authority a ranking factor that is supposed to reflect the genuine relevancy of the site to what you are searching for.
  • Paid searches – while paid searches factor in the organic search ranking of the website that is just the baseline. Then for the most part what you find in the advertising section of your web search is dependent on what keywords are selected and how big the budget is. Supposedly the budget only affects the number of adds that will show based on the search terms that were entered.

If you found the website on AdWords, you can be almost 100% assured that you found it because of these reasons, in the following order: s damned lies statistics

  1. They have the largest AdWords budget for the product and geographical area for the sites you have found
  2. A lot of time and/or money went into the key-word SEO functionality.

Yes, a rather cynical view. But seriously how many times have you found an Amazon or another really quality website.  And how many times have you just found click-bait, or get-rich-quick offers, or some other company promising far-fetched “deals”?

Why is this?

There was a time when a website was a footnote for a business. Like a phone number or a listing in the yellow pages.

You had a business, maybe a good business, an ethical business and now you needed a website. Just like you needed a phone number, a Yellow Pages ad, and maybe a newspaper, radio or magazine ad. You needed a “domain name” or URL, and a web page. And “a page” is all websites were for a few years. Just one page. It said the business name, the phone number the mailing address and maybe something about the business.  There was no email address on the page, not because of concerns about spam, but because almost nobody had email!

Then we entered the “Art” phase…

…and beauty and GETTING ATTENTION.  Dancing bears, animated GIFs, and countless screen shows and graphics. The objective was to appear as credible on-line as you were in the real world.  This was the age of Art-and-pages,  lots and lots of art and lots and lots of pages.  The art part was a playground for designers and we somewhat lost track of the purpose of the website, which was marketing.  Marketing for an actual business that existed independently of the website.

The “lies” phase

Lies damned lies statistics

This is when “the smart people” realized that a fabulous website could make a mediocre business or even a sleazy business look like great business! The more pages and gadgets there were the more it (supposedly) conveyed how big and trustworthy your business was.    A sleazy business could APPEAR to be a reputable business.  Ah, the old advertising game in a new medium.  Now reputable businesses had to spend more and more money to build a website that looked as good as businesses that were often nothing more than a website.

Then along came Google,   and the “Statistics” phase

seo lies damned lies statistics

Yes, there was a time before Google. But after Google came along it was no longer as important how professional your site looked, but only if it could be found. If one searched for “Jewellery”  one would not necessarily find the “best business” or the “best website” or even the most artistic website. What they would find is the website with the best SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO) for Jewellery.  So now even “art” was not as important as it once was.  Sure a site had to look nice, and somewhat professional, but really it was becoming much more important than the site could be FOUND. Unless it looked absolutely terrible, it might be “good enough”. So more and more money started going into optimizing websites to be found then went into how they actually looked.

So now we have

the “damn lies” phase

Lies damned lies statistics

Because “statistics” or algorithms, or key-words or magic formulas dreamed up by Google essentially determined what sites were even found. It became a matter of learning the current “Google formula”. One just had to master the “statistics” as Google saw them.

So where does that leave your business? With a lot of SEO Lies damned lies statistics

The reality today is if you want to “be in business” you pretty much have to have a website.  If the website is to be of any value, then it has to rank somewhat reasonably in Google search results for your product or service. So whether you like it or not, you need a website, and it has to fit into the “statistics,” the Google search algorithms use with some reasonable degree of success.

So what can you do to help your website rank, get found, get clicked and bring customers to your business?

There are a lot of pieces to this puzzel and they all have to fit together almost perfectly. Currentlyin 2020 Google uses over 200

Of course, you may still “point to” your website at a meeting with a client or include it in an email as a link.  But without some ability to be found in a search, its value is minimal. Lies damned lies statistics

More about SEO lies damned lies statistics. There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle and they all have to fit together almost perfectly. Currently, in 2020 Google uses over 200 separate factors to rank your website with over 70 of them being of critical importance to even have a chance to rank on the first page of search results. Some of these factors you can not do anything about at the onset of a rank increasing exercise, just as URL “authority”. This one factor alone is made up of; how long the URL has existed, what kind of ranking it has now if it has had bad rankings in the past or penalized by Google for deceptive practices among other factors. This one factor alone is hard to move and also weighs pretty heavily on the other ranking factors. Other factors such as the popularity of keywords are very important as is the technical integrity of your website. If your site was built by professionals in the past 5 years, you are probably OK, but if your website has been around for much longer than that, you may need to have significant work done on the technical aspects of the website before any rank-optimization effort will do you much good. You can certainly get started on the rank optimization, but don’t bother if you don’t plan on investing in technical website updating or it will be mostly a wasted effort.

Of course, you may still “point to” your website at a meeting with a client or include it in an email as a link.  But without some ability to be found in a search, its value is minimal. In order to be found, you will need to address the SEO lies damned lies statistics. And you may wonder why the phrase “SEO lies damned lies statistics” has appeared so many times on this page. Did you notice? Have you noticed slightly awkward phrases and phrasing showing up on many websites and not just this one? Well, that is part of what it has come to today. These are keywords, but specifically long-tail keywords or keyword phrases. These are the unique terms that may show up in a search result if you seared for “lies” or “Damned lies”, or if your recent search history included searches for Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Results Page but if you recently did a lot of searches for Mark Twain, you could get different results. Google is remembering what you are interested in and trying to anticipate your needs. If you type in nails, you may get results for building supplies or beauty supplies, but if you have been searching for lumber, power tools and so on, or you just type nails 16p you will likely get listing such as “Nails – Fasteners – The Home Depot”. You did not type all these words, but that is the distinct long-tail keyword that was used on the Home Depot page. Your geography and other factors can also be factored into what returns on your search page compared to what is returned on someone else’s search page. So this is for organic searches. So if you like that result, you click on it. The ads you see in the paid section or even the ads on a page once you open it has many other factors included.

So while we have mentioned putting the long-tail keyword or key-phrase in the text many times, this can not just be done in any old way. There needs to be a certain ration of the keyword to the rest of the text and to some degree, this varies depending on the key phrase itself and the words in the text. As far as we can tell the only way to know this, as it changes regularly is to subscribe to a service that is tracking thousands of sites and evaluating the rankings against many of these various factors. We primarily use Squirrly and MOZ as our primary tools for this. But also Google Analytics and Search Console are also indispensable.

So if you are interested in an evaluation by a human being (and some robots) of what it may cost to tweak your search page rank you can contact us to arrange some correspondence by email, phone or chat. If you are wondering what it may cost for treatment to improve your ranking here are some broad strokes.

Somewhere between $300 to $500 per month for a minimum of three months could get you started. The current condition of the technical aspects of your website such as performance/speed, proper architecture, site-map and robots.txt file and the mobile readiness of your site will dictate if a Rank Improvement Expedition can get underway immediately or if site improvement will be needed first or in parallel. Here is a link to some more general industry information on costs. By the way. I bill my time, after initial free evaluation at $75/hour. I am living in Canada, have spoken English all my life and have been in business form myself 90% of the time since 1976. English is only important if you are marketing to English speaking customers. If you are marketing to people who speak another language, I can not help you, as the actual content of the pages is very important to the ranking.

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