16 Nov What you need to know about pleasing The Google
Pleasing Google.Every company has a vested interest in ranking as high as possible in search. Search rank can be the difference between profit and loss, viability or insolvency for most businesses today.
According to Entrepreneur, companies will spend about $65 Billion on SEO this year. Writer Mike Templeman, who runs a digital marketing agency, says most of that money will be wasted:
“I receive hundreds, yes hundreds of unsolicited emails every day from marketers promising to take my brand to the #1 spot in Google (total lie). Or to bring me thousands of visitors in a matter of weeks (liar, liar pants on fire). They tell me that my site is breaking numerous rules set forth by the search engines and if I don’t fix them my company will die a fiery death (oh really?)”
Content That Works will spend money on SEO this year and, most likely, you will, too. But trying to out Google “The Google” is a fool’s game. How can you know what kinds of content will win over Google and reward your company with a higher search rank? Here are ten sure-fired techniques lifted directly from Google’s “Ten Things We Know to be True”
1. Focus on the user and all else will follow
. Google rewards those that put the interest of the customer first. When that rule is applied to content, make sure yours is the friend at the elbow of your consumers or prospects, helping them make informed and intelligent buying decisions.
2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
All too often you want to get everything – including the kitchen sink – into your story, web content, native ads, Facebook posts, etc. Trouble is, this approach confuses potential customers, and maybe even you and your team. For example, Google says it does search. The truth is Google does many things, including the creation of driverless cars and generating a ton of revenue via ad sales. Still, when it comes right down to it, Google focuses on being the best at search, which enables everything else. Think about it – without Google Maps, a form of search, driverless cars would not be possible. So when you think about your message and your company, think about the one thing you do best. At Content That Works, we produce great content. That’s what we do and what we strive daily to get better at doing.
3. Fast is better than slow.
Simple really. Google focuses on the user. The user’s time is valuable, so Google rewards websites that load quickly and mobile sites that optimize and are free of unnecessary distractions. Make sure your site is fast and painless for your customers.
4. Democracy on the web works.
After the recent election one must wonder if we have democracy on the web or just a series of concentric echo chambers. However, sharing matters to Google – a lot – so make sure your content is share-worthy and engaging, and don’t be afraid to employ cute pictures of kittens, dogs and babies to lure in more sharing.
Google “assess the importance of every web page using more than 200 signals and a variety of techniques, including our patented PageRank™ algorithm, which analyzes which sites have been “voted” to be the best sources of information by other pages across the web.” Also, don’t be afraid to use social media to report your content and create more sharing of the good, useful information you have to offer. Finally, invite reviews and comments. You will learn from your customers in the process and when the feedback is not as you would like you have the opportunity to engage more deeply in a positive way with your customer.
5. You don’t have to be at your desk to need an answer.
We mentioned this above, but mobile is vital to any company’s marketing strategy. Make sure you “think mobile” when you add new content to your site or post on social media. What do people want when seeking answers on a smart phone? How should you present your information? Can it look like a listicle? Do you have a graphic that will catch the eye and make a prospect smile?
6. You can make money without doing evil.
If you are in advertising or marketing, you owe it to yourself to read this part of Google’s 10 Things We Know…, which talks about advertising. It talks about rewarding relevant content, about not being annoying and the importance of integrity – topics that often are overlooked by advertisers and those of us who sell advertising. In fact, this is really just another slice of putting the customer/user first, isn’t it?
7. There’s always more information out there.
In essence, Google is saying your job (and theirs) is never done. Google rewards fresh, original, relevant content. New content is, by definition, old content moments after it is posted. Original content will be shared and duplicated with lightning speed if the content is good. The internet has an insatiable appetite for fresh content. Your job truly never ends. New content always wins out over old content of equal quality. That’s why every business needs a content strategy.
8. The need for information crosses all borders.
It’s called the World Wide Web for a reason. Your business is no longer local, at least in the traditional sense of the word. Anyone almost anywhere can find you now. Make sure that your content reflects this. For example, even if your business revolves around events at an intensely local destination, consider including content about how you will help tourists or out-of-towners find the support services and products they might need to make use of your facility.
9. You can be serious without a suit.
The internet is an informal place. Face it – you have surfed the web in your pajamas or skivvies. We all have. Perhaps your business is a funeral home or accountancy, which requires a level or seriousness and propriety. However the does not mean that your content or website should be without personality. The more personal, personable and unstuffy your message, the more likely normal people like you and me are going to relate to what you have to say. Connecting on the web requires you to be accessible and down to earth.
10. Great just isn’t good enough.
Greatness is in the eye of the beholder to be sure. However, too many Facebook posts, blogs, web pages and native ads exist to fill space, meaning they never aspire to greatness. Google rewards creative, impactful messaging. Google says it sets goals it cannot achieve yet because it makes them get farther than they would without stretching. You need to do the same. Don’t settle for the mundane. Don’t accept something you know can be done better. Never stop striving for greatness on your website, in your advertising or on your social media. Like Google, you might not achieve your goal of greatness every time, but if you don’t aspire to something better you won’t achieve it.
Though tens of billions of dollars will be wasted this year, next year and for the foreseeable future in an effort to job the Google algorithm, you don’t have to waste your hard earned cash. The best way to make sure you are rewarded with the highest possible rank in search is to be authentic. Post fresh, useful, engaging content that is quick and easy to understand. Earn bonus points when you localize and personalize your content with the goal of achieving greatness.
Google will notice. Your customers will, too!