Whether you work in SEO or simply manage the SEO side of your own website it is easy to think of Google as your adversary, simply because it does not make things easier for you. In fact, it can often feel as though Google is deliberately working against you. We want to show you that isn’t the case.
Google is the big kahuna of the search engine world. People don’t ask search engines, they ‘Google it’ and when you’ve become a verb as well as a name, you know you’ve made it in your industry. The Google algorithm is where SEO workers find their problem because the algorithm changes more than once a day on average. So what works on Monday can be completely ineffectual on Thursday and by the next Monday the same strategy may actually work against you.
Here’s the secret; you and Google are actually working towards a common goal and that’s to benefit users. You want to provide the best service for your customers and Google wants to give its users the highest quality answers to their searches. So, it’s constantly re-evaluating and re-implementing its procedures to produce this quality. It means that we as the users continue to ‘Google it’ rather than ‘Bing it’ or ‘Yahoo it’ (even if that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Googling does).
Google has added a number of features in recent years that have affected SEO. There’s Caffeine which produces fresher results, Pandas which push high quality sites into higher ranks, Penguins which prevent SEO workers from artificially improving rankings and Hummingbirds which provide results with a greater semantic relevance to queries.
This is great for users, as everything is helping them more and more but Google has made the world of SEO a jungle, where you’re constantly avoiding the wrath of the lurking Penguins, Pandas and Hummingbirds.
Everything Google does is about giving users exactly what they want, ergo if you’re also giving users what they want, Google and you can work together quite effectively.
SEO is and will continue to be a massive part of search engine ranking. All Google’s strictures mean is that your top priority should be site quality, therefore you need a quality, focused SEO plan.
Google searches work on the basis of answering questions posed by users, so the best way to please Google and your potential users is to answer those questions in your content. List all the questions you think users could ask about you and use those answers to form your content. But remember, Google is looking for quality as well as relevance, so make sure your content makes sense as whole and isn’t just a jumble of potential answers.
Use your own equation: quality content + relevant content = higher Google search rank + happy users.
Even if your content answers every potential question posed by users, you don’t have to wait for the question to be asked. Promote yourself before users have a chance to search and you’re already getting more traffic.
Online promotion costs you. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to cost you money. Social media is a free and effective method of putting yourself out there, it’s all about making virtual friends and connections. Interact with potential customers and authorities in your field and they will interact back, we’re all playing the same game.
Another free method is to interact with relevant bloggers in your field. Read their articles and leave a quality comment, eventually you’ll build up a good amount of links on authority sources and your rank will improve. When you’re commenting remember that it’s not just about the Blogger, it’s about their followers, who could be your potential users.
If you don’t have a lot of time to sit on social media or search for blogs and you have a big enough budget, there’s nothing wrong with paid advertising. Online campaigns on systems like Facebook allow you to work within a set budget and can be incredibly effective, as long as you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, you’re unlikely to produce results and will have definitely wasted your money.
You’re not limited to online promotion. An advert placed in appropriate print that actively encourages readers to visit your website gives you more traffic. Then it’s up to your content to wow them and turn clicks into conversions.
Increasing your traffic is not helpful unless you’re already converting the traffic you have. Clicks without conversions are like jam on scones, you’re missing the cream. You’re incredibly unlikely to convert every click you receive but you can maximise your click to conversion rate relatively easily.
The most logical step is to make your site easy. It’s easy to use, information is easy to find and most importantly, making a conversion, whether that’s putting in my credit card details or requesting a call back, is easy.
Whether you’re getting the results or not, it’s important to take a step back and look at the data your site is producing. Find out who your main traffic is and target yourself towards them, both in your content and through your online promotion. Your click to conversion rate will only increase.
Your site is no good unless it’s giving users what they want and that’s what Google’s saying. Google is ranking you on user experience and if your users are bookmarking you, revisiting you multiple times and converting with you, Google will take note and your ranking will improve. Stop thinking that Google is working against you and look for areas where you can improve your site for users.
Every time Google is frustrating you and making your life difficult with its SEO army of animals, you need to remember that you’re both on the same side. Google isn’t working for you, it’s working for the user, and if your site is working for the user Google won’t be working against you.
It’s helpful to think of SEO as a marathon, there aren’t any shortcuts, it’s about gaining momentum, keeping stamina and reaching that finish line. Your ranking on Google is something you want to maintain as well as gain and that can only be achieved by a careful, user-centric, SEO approach.