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Why SEO Training for Beginners is still needed

School Bus

Admit it.

Do you always roll your eyes when an SEO blogger starts with something like, “I’ve been building websites since….”

I used to, I don’t now.

Because that long view is incredibly valuable, offset of course by dissipation of hunger and passion and a reduction of energy.
I will leave for another blog post, just why it’s valuable to have a couple of grey beards hanging with the 20 something hipster types that form the bulk of people doing SEO.

I’ve been building websites and getting them ranked since 1998, of course this only means something if you keep current.

If an SEO sales person says any of the following. you should kick them out of the door.

  • Your website needs keyword Meta tags
  • You need to nofollow every external link
  • We can submit your website to search engines and not just Google but 1000’s of others
  • You need to have a 2.4% (or any number) of keyword density on your page
  • I’m expert in this great piece of software that can generate 200 links a day on forums

and for more check out the links below.

Yes I realise some of my black hat friends will tell me some of this stuff still works (I wont tell you which) for throwaway websites, but this blog is about helping long term, branded websites get ranked, and a blackhat technique, whilst still valid in certain situations is not valid here.

When you look at something as simple as internal link structure and sites that use drop down menus to facilitate a good flow of link equity with correct anchor text, you notice a lot of sites get this basic stuff wrong, something that grahamplumbersmerchant.co.uk, EnviroSkipHire.com, spcomputers.net. and the pirouettethecollection.com. get right. To give just a few examples. It’s interesting to take a random look at a bunch of websites and see who is implementing best practice design and SEO and who is not.

Now I am not saying that for a website to rank it has to have a drop down menu structure that has correct anchor text. But it sure does help and I would argue that for a relatively cheap win a website should look at being designed around this structure. Personally as a user of websites, I love the drop down menu, perhaps a usability expert such as Kim Krause Berg could tell us the impact on usability with this technique.

Even after all this time, certain techniques that died out nearly 10 years ago are still being promoted by people in the industry. I put this down to a mix of laziness and the fact they can get away with it. It’s not the buyers fault of course, but due diligence needs to be done. There are still plenty of SEO sharks out there and you don’t want to become bait.

Training and education are essential to anyone performing SEO and it’s not about reading one book or taking one course, because you need to learn to differentiate between the silver tongued devils telling you the garbage in the above list, compared with the gold in the link below. You need time and a number of occurrences before you can accurately differentiate who is pulling a fast one and who knows their apples

9 Outdated SEO Techniques Still Practiced Today
10 Old SEO Methods You Need to Stop
Five Outdated SEO Tips: How Not to Optimize Your Website
5 outdated SEO practices you should avoid
25 Outdate SEO Terms & Tactics VS Their Modern Alternatives
5 Outdated SEO Tactics You’re Probably Still Using

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One reply on “Why SEO Training for Beginners is still needed”

Drop down menus help websites with large inventories but present struggles for the information architecture when it comes to deciding taxonomies (category definitions, terms). They break down in usability where one item can be cross referenced between two categories. Hence, the addition of more meta data and sorting options that are alternatives to drop down menus.

One of the sites in your example is spammed to death by repeating the company name in the anchor text and content. That would drive anyone crazy. Another one uses vague terms like “Systems”, which could also be “Products”. Three level menus are hard to use. The alternative are CSS wide menus that show the levels in one drop down box. These are easier to navigate and click.

Responsive design is another consideration for drop down menus and touch screen laptops. None of the examples you presented work in smaller resolutions, where the menus fall off the side and are cumbersome to use. SEO without usability misses the mark when people can’t use the site.

Thanks for the nod!

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