Google does a lot of things but figuring out what cryptic message your website is sending isn’t one of them.
SEO is and always will be a bit of a guessing game – Google’s secrecy keeps shady websites from gaming their system – but there are some pretty clear-cut rules to the game! Trusting in Google to “figure out” what you’re trying to tell them is like renting a car in a foreign country then leaving the airport without a map.
Don’t do it.
At Sync, we’ve put together effective SEO strategies for dozens of businesses over the last few years, and one thing’s for sure. When someone asks us, “Won’t Google just figure it out?” they’re missing the point.
The goal of SEO is not to make Google do any extra work. They’ve already got their hands full, what with processing over 40,000 searches every single second of the day. Yeah, Google doesn’t have time to interpret. And you don’t want them to! You don’t want to take any chances with your business’ message; you own your story, so you should be telling it yourself.
Here’s the thing: The foundation of any good SEO strategy starts with a sitemap. That sitemap is literally a map to your site. Google loves it when you make one because you’re effectively creating a Cliff’s Notes version of your site for them. By telling Google’s spiders (the little bots that scan your site for info) what you want them to know, they can skip some of the heavy lifting and serve your site up to the people who might want to see it.
There’s a reason other SEO ranking signals are, well, ranking signals. Over the past few decades, Google has figured out that certain elements on your site are a pretty great indication of what your site is all about. And rest assured, Google wants to know what your site is all about so they can provide searchers with the most granular, on-the-nose search results possible, so it’s in their best interest to get it right, too.
A few of the on-page SEO ranking factors Google uses to pin you down include your URL, your title tags, your image alt text, and especially your content. This is why having a content creation plan is so important. Google is constantly re-scanning your site with bots to see what new information they can use to further get a read on your business. “Content” (i.e. eBooks, blog posts, etc.) is what changes most often, so it’s also the best place to “talk” to Google directly.
So, don’t make Google jump through hoops to figure out what you’re trying to say. Google can’t efficiently peg sites without meta data. They also have no patience for a website without internal links. If your content doesn’t say anything of value? Don’t expect Google to think their customers will value it, either.
SEO isn’t necessarily hard, but it is a process. It’s not a one-and-done strategy and it’s not something you can ignore if you ever (ever) plan to land customers online. Don’t make Google’s job any harder than it already is.
Need help telling search engines your story? Talk to Sync. We speak Google’s language.