What is SEO really?..

I’m not sure if my view of what an SEO professional is supposed to do for a client is ‘the standard’ way of looking at things. However, it seems as though SEO has evolved to encompass far more these days than is used to. Back in the old days you had a very defined role, crafting meta data, building links and basically looking after only rankings. What happens after the user has clicked on a result in the SERP, was almost never the problem of the SEO person.

These days, clients expect far more from their SEO consultant. It’s like being the swiss army knife of the internet. The traffic you deliver is so measurable and the rankings so transparent. That if you don’t deliver the goods, your client will start to lose faith very quickly. So having a bunch of other services up your sleeve, will allow you to be able to meet any clients needs.

The make-up of any SEO campaign has changed vastly over the past 10 years. Social media and various other factors, now makeup a fairly large portion of any SEO professionals thinking.

So what do I think every SEO should be providing clients with these days?

  • Analytics setup and advice.
  • SEO strategies based around business goals. (Not just keywords!)
  • Link building.
  • Social media strategies.
  • Content optimisation.
  • Conversion optimisation.
  • PPC integration.

These are the basic building blocks of any good SEO thought process. When a client walks through the door, if you aren’t thinking about all of these things. Then it’s likely that your clients campaigns are going to fail.

I guess my point, in a nutshell, is that clients expect more than just a basic SEO service these days. Even if your clients expectations are low, you need to be thinking outside of the square and be developing integrated strategies. Without these, your clients sites will continue to under-perform.

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Switching from HTTP to HTTPS & the SEO implications

Quite recently there has been a lot of talk about a new plugin, which was released that basically allowed any HTTP connection to be hijacked. I remember talking to one of the developers at work about it around a week or so ago, however then it started to gain some mainstream attention. Papers such as ‘the age’ here in Australia which are not renowned for pushing the boundaries of tech speak, published articles on this and it snowballed from there. Basically, something which had until now gained only tech attention, became a a very big and mainstream issue. The revelation that this plugin can do these kinds of things, has lead many of the worlds largest websites to switch to HTTPS to secure their users logins and data.

The question which was asked of me was ‘what will the SEO implications be if we swap all of our sites pages from HTTP to HTTPS?’. This is quite an interesting one as i know for a fact HTTPS and HTTP versions of a URL are treated as separate entities to Google and other search engines. Changing your websites URL in any way, can impact your SERP rankings, even if you have all of the proper redirects in place. A recent migration i was involved with highlighted the potential downsides. So there are of course some potential downsides to switching millions of pages worth of links over to HTTPS.

In conducting research into the way in which other peoples sites have reacted to this big change, the surprising majority of websites have said that the changeover was totally painless and they had little to no downside on their regular traffic volumes. What surprised me about this, is that the same change from one URL to another still has much more downside, than a HTTP to HTTPS swap even though they are treated as unique.

What these reports lead me to believe, is that Google treats these types of changeovers very differently from a regular URL change. They must in some way prioritise the indexing in special circumstances such as this, perhaps even moreso in light of the press around such a potentially harmful app which has been flooded across the internet. I guess there is no real way to tell if they always treat the protocol based changes as different to regular URL changes. I just wish they would make changing a pages URL much faster, with no downside :)

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