Introducing: Fishkin Or Fish Skin?

There are two kinds of SEO advice available online: quality vs only-half-the-story, premium vs off-cuts, or simply do this and don’t do this. In this post we explore why there so much false advice out there, and advise on how to spot the Fishkin from the Fish skin.
  • We feel the two words accurately represent two kinds of SEO advice that are easily encountered online: quality vs only-half-the-story, premium vs off-cuts or simply do this and don’t do this.
  • it is essential that all serious SEOs remember that the majority of strategies will rarely yield immediate results.

Welcome to the debut of Fishkin or Fish Skin? where we tease the facts from the fiction, separate the wheat from the chaff and extract the Fishkin from the… fish skin.

This inbound marketing analysis format wasn’t just conceived due to the faintly comical phonetic similarity between a well known SEO authority’s surname (Rand Fishkin) and a sometimes delicious, but nonetheless, far-than-filling foodstuff.

We feel the two words accurately represent two kinds of SEO advice that are easily encountered online: quality vs only-half-the-story, premium vs off-cuts or simply do this and don’t do this.

For example, we hope our guide to the SEO of Pinterest will not only inform readers about the importance of optimising a Pinterest page but tell them how to do it too.

Imagine if we had instead written an article entitled Why Businesses Can’t Afford to Ignore the SEO Power of Pinterest, and informed, but not instructed. It wouldn’t have been a bad article, but it would have piqued, not satiated, the hunger of our SEO curious followers.

Maybe our readers would have gone elsewhere to find more information. Alternatively, they may have tried to optimise without fully understanding the consequences of their actions.

Because ill-informed optimisation has the potential to wreak havoc with an otherwise stable SEO strategy, it’s imperative to know the whole story.

 

Fish skin

Whilst not necessarily bad advice, fish skin (as we’ll be calling it) is the kind of information that either doesn’t supply readers with enough detail or fails to take wider implications into account.

Fish-skin: Find a high volume keyword and add it to the title tag, meta description, URL, headings and dot it around your copy. Remember to write lots of copy. Google loves copy. Content is, after all, king!

Alarm bells should be ringing when the focus of the advice is entirely on one area, and the advice fails to acknowledge the myriad number of other important ranking factors.

In this scenario, it’s all about your website’s visibility and while that’s certainly important, valuable factors such as the interests of your intended target audience are not taken into account.

 

Fishkin

The best SEO advice is based on perfecting the existing best working practice, taking inspiration from what we understand to be effective and enhancing it through an awareness of other related industries and trends.

Fishkin: Find a keyword with good search volume that also has potential to convert. Then see how Google is interpreting this keyword – what other results are coming up for it in search? If those results don’t reflect your product (if say you’re offering a service but the first twenty search results are from Universities offering related courses) you may want to rethink your keyword. Google is thinking about less about content as “things” (i.e. just a set of words) and more as “strings” (i.e. concepts that related to each other through a complex semantic network). Ensure your key phrase is used in meta data, URLs and the content. But don’t let it ruin your user experience. It needs to be clear to the reader and offer them something of value.

This is a Rand Fishkin approach to what was merely hinted at in the fish skin example.

If you follow good advice and experience little to no change on your rankings, you can at least be comfortable in the knowledge that you have improved your website.

Furthermore, it is essential that all serious SEOs remember that the majority of strategies will rarely yield immediate results. Any instruction that guarantees page one ranking should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Crucially, what separates the two is the presence of strategy. Fishkin should enable you to augment or modify your ongoing plan according to data or details while fish skin, though raising awareness, will only take you part of the way.

 

Why is there so much advice out there, and why does it vary so much?

According to Statista, the number of internet users worldwide has more than tripled in a decade; growing from 1,024,000,000 users in 2005 to over 3,174,000,000 in 2015.

Bearing this in mind, it should be no surprise that increasing numbers of people have come to rely on their online presence for securing the future of their business. And similarly, it should be no surprise that the process for boosting online visibility, SEO, has become a hot topic.

As you can see in the chart above, interest in search engine optimisation has been growing at a similar rate to internet connectivity.

 

SEO evolves, so you need to evolve with it

Throughout the years, many individuals and businesses have tried to unlock and share the intricacies behind Google’s ranking criteria. But, as most inbound marketing practitioners understand, SEO is an unpredictable process that is subject to many evolving factors.

Google itself doesn’t share how it works and the secrets behind successful ranking are closely-guarded and heavily patented. That means the best SEO practitioners, like Socrates, must acknowledge that they don’t definitively know anything.

Relying on case studies, deductions and inferences of varying quality, we can instead disentangle the good from the bad, extricate the diamond in the rough and build campaigns informed by tangible data.