“Wait a sec, I’ll quickly Google it now….” Other search engines are available but such is Google’s dominance that its very name has become interchangeable with the act of searching itself. And it’s done this by focussing on one thing: the customer.
And we suggest you do the same.
Gone- thankfully! – are the days when your online searches are ambushed by sites tricking the page ranking algorithms. Luring you in with articles that might have contained a few of the keywords you typed in, but precious little else.
Google soon got wise to these tactics and realized that it wasn’t just wasting the readers’ time, it was harming their own credibility. Now when Google’s ‘spiders’ trawl through the contents of your web pages they are on the look-out for content that shows you offer genuine value to their customers, and they look for this in the form of:
- Trust And
These three pillars of SEO success go hand-in-hand (or hand-in-hand-in-hand!) to propel your content up the organic rankings and if you follow the steps below we can ensure that you stay there. We’ll tell you WHAT the algorithms are looking for and, more importantly, exactly HOW you can stay on top of them.
Although Google has worked to incorporate other factors into how they rank your content, the importance of keywords is still paramount (they’re just not quite so ripe for manipulation).
Keywords are the ideas that define what your content is about. In SEO terms they are the phrases your customer types in to find the information they are looking for. The link between what the customer wants and what you are giving them: the relevance of your content that Google will then rank.
Before people stuffed crappy articles full of keywords to cheat the system but now companies can’t afford to be so slipshod with their placement or Google will see straight through and penalize you for it. It’s all about the customer experience. All about that genuine value.
So how do you go about making sure you use the right words, in the right place, the right amount of times? Here’s how…
- Use keyword research to define the keywords you want to use.
- Don’t just ram your content full: they have to feel like they belong in the text and, as we said above, less is now more.
- Putting them in the first and last paragraph helps Google notice them so this is a good, natural starting point for your placement- as you introduce the topic at the start, then tie it up again at the end. Other placements throughout the text is fine so long as they fit in naturally and the text isn’t overloaded with them.
THE USABILITY OF YOUR SITE
The importance of your site’s usability not only makes it easier for Google’s spiders to rate and rank your content, it also feeds into the importance they place on leading their users to credible and trustworthy sources: the trustworthiness and integrity of your site reflect upon them.
So you need sites that are easy to navigate (for the web browsers and also for Google’s ‘spiders’) and also optimized for the demands of the modern browser. And here’s how you do it…
- Ensure that your site is secure. Use HTTPS to encrypt the data and verify the authenticity of requests, giving Google the proof it needs that your site is trustworthy and safe.
- Make your site easy to navigate. Easy for the reader, easy for Google. Tell them quickly who you are and what you can do for them. Creating a Site Map can give you a good leg-up here.
- Make sure your pages load fast and that they are mobile-optimized and responsive.
If your pages are slow to load not only will the reader likely lose patience and try the next option in their search (you have roughly a three-second window…) but Google’s algorithm will punish you for it. As well as the speed, you need to ensure that the elements adapt to whatever device they are being viewed on, be it desktop, tablet or mobile. Yep, it’s that all-important customer experience again.
THE CREDIBILITY AND USEFULNESS OF YOUR CONTENT
This aspect of your content is concerned with relevance and trust that Google now places such emphasis on. Basically, they are doing their checks for the reader that your content IS what they are looking for and that you CAN be trusted.
They do this by establishing your content’s relevance to the search and that your voice is one that is worth listening to.
Here’s what you need to keep on top of to ensure you tick their boxes…
- Make sure your content is FRESH and USEFUL. Which means no copy-and-paste jobs just to fill the space. Heavily plagiarised puff-pieces not only turn off the reader but damage your credibility with Google. If you make the effort to provide original work that provides genuine value and solutions for your readers then Google sees this as proof that you are a credible authority in your field. As well as ensuring that the content is fresh you need to be sure you don’t then drop the ball with shoddy spelling and grammar. Again, this is for both the benefit of your reader (and potential customer) but for Google as well- they have found a clear correlation between well-written sites and sites that are highly ranked. So don’t be lazy on the spell-checker, this one is an easy win!
- Be Social. The importance of your social media can’t be stressed enough. Your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn all give your site the signs of extra authority and trust that Google looks for. But again, don’t be lazy here, you get back out what you put in so…
- Be Consistent! The best way to grow and your social media following is by providing regular (genuinely useful) content. More content drives more engagement, more shares, more likes, more followers. All of which bolsters your authority and the whole thing starts feeding itself. But the effort has to be there in the first place.
- The next points to be wary of are regarding your Google Analytics- the tool they provide to help you analyze where your site is successful and where it could do with improvement. The stats you need to be most interested in here are your ‘bounce’ rate and your ‘time spent on page’ rate.
Once you have managed to get a prospective customer onto your page your aim should be to keep them there until you get your message across; whether it’s the information you are imparting or the sales pitch you are giving them.
The “bounce rate” is the percentage of people that click on your only to leave it straight away. Not surprisingly Google use this as a barometer that you are either not providing content of use or whether you turned them off with a bombardment of pop-ups or sluggish page speeds. Either way, the implications are the same.
It’s the same principle just the other way around with ‘stay on the page’ rates. The longer you keep these readers on the site the more reassurance Google the reassurance that your content is of genuine use and meets their criteria for authority, relevance, and trust.
- Lastly, is one that can be a bit trickier. A fantastic way to build up your authority is by having ‘backlinks’. These are links from other sites- that Google deems to be relevant and popular- leading to yours. You will have seen them yourself: the little blue hyperlinks in the middle of the page that you are reading onto another page. This tells the search engines that your content is valuable, credible, and useful. The drawback here is that you need to persuade these third-party sites to provide the links to yours. And not all backlinks provide the same value. The sites with the most credibility provide the most valuable backlinks. The challenge for you is to provide them with content that they think is worth using. If you do that then this is a fantastic way to piggyback on the credibility and success they have built.
This post is written by Maх Voevodin from SeoBrothers.
SEObrothers advice to any businesses wanting to maximize their clout on the Google rankings is to simply follow their lead and deliver genuine value to your customer. You do this by:
-Taking time to get to know your customers: what they really want and need
-Then providing content (be it social media, blogs or whatever) that answers their questions, that gives them the information they need, that provides solutions to their problems, that shows them you are the expert and that when it is time for them to buy, why would they go anywhere else?
We are not saying this is easy but you get out what you put in. And then some.
This is the new marketing landscape: content is king! The beauty is, though, that your efforts will be rewarded: research shows that content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing but generates THREE times as many leads! Why is Content Marketing Today’s Marketing?
And you don’t need us (or your accountant) to tell you how well those figures stack up!