By Johnny McFadden
Increasingly, the things you do in real life (meaning anything that doesn’t involve the backend of WordPress) have a huge effect on ranking.
The most important word found in the acronym SEO may just be “optimization”. You can’t create a high ranking site with only technical SEO techniques – you can only optimize what you already have. If what you already have is a well respected company and brand, SEO techniques can be extremely effective. If your sales funnel has holes and your brand does not convey trust, you may not get the results you want.
In 2020, Google and other search engines do a truly remarkable job of determining an entity or individual’s real life reputation.
If you have satisfied customers, you’ll get positive reviews on Google My Business, Facebook, and more. If this is the case, all you have to do is continue doing a good job and maybe remind your customers to rate you.
All this is not to say that you’ll jump to the first page of a competitive keyword just because you’ve developed a good reputation. It’s cumulative and takes time. But, especially in competitive industries, it’s page 1 or bust. And for competitive keywords, page 1 is no small task.
When it’s time to build the obligatory base of content and wealth of backlinks, make sure the leads that come in won’t go to waste.
Think about organic search in relation to your overall marketing and business strategy. Think about SEO in relation to the profile of your potential customer and to your ultimate goals.
A sizable number of experts in the SEO community have speculated about the efficacy of the pursuit of backlinks in the present and certainly in the future. In a recent video, the YouTube channel Income School predicted that backlinks will be nonexistent or negligible in five years.
Everyone understands that (right now) backlinks are absolutely necessary to rank high. It’s not that backlinks as a single ranking factor isn’t one of the most heavily weighted compared to bounce rate, page speed, and social signals – it is. The trouble comes in backlinks for the sake of backlinks; not all backlinks are created equal. Paying directly for backlinks is just as likely to hurt your rankings as they are to help. If they’re the kind of company that sells backlinks, their domains are unlikely to be deemed reputable by Google.
Good Content Changes Everything
What gets the backlinks you actually want is content. All roads lead to content. If the content is worth sharing, people will reference it on their blogs, throughout their website (resulting in backlinks), and on social media, on the internet and by word of mouth for that matter.
And when you think about it, high quality content will directly or indirectly improve many aspects of SEO. What’s more likely to decrease bounce rate other than content that people actually want to keep reading or watching? If people are talking about and sharing your content online, that will improve your social signals.
It’s not just about the words on the page either. Whether for a post or a page on your website, think about the user experience – it’s almost as important that the actual content itself. If I click on an article and see and a huge, unformatted chunk of text, I’m probably going to click off which will hurt that website’s bounce rate and dwell time (the average amount of time people spend on a particular page or post). We live in the attention economy; respect people’s time by answering the titular question right up front, add headings so they can skim and jump around with ease, and add infographics for those we best interact with information visually.
Just like SEO and organic search, think about content in relation to your overall marketing strategy. Visualize your potential customer/client as age and other demographics give you insights into how to best reach your audience.
Email and newsletter marketing are likely in decline given that they’re not as popular with younger audiences. But if your audience is primarily in the 55 and up range, then it could be the perfect strategy for you. There are best practices, but there are no right answers for every endeavor.
Gary Vee created 33 unique pieces of content from one speech!
You may not be giving keynote speeches and you’re certainly not Gary Vee (maybe the most proficient content creator alive today), but all you need is the will and some time. The very popular content pyramid is the perfect way to make work that took one day last all month. It’s all about creating long form pillar content and using that to create micro content to be distributed through all platforms over the coming weeks.
Any long form content will work. The simplest way to do this is to Google frequently asked questions about (enter niche that you have some insight about here), turn on the camera, and spend a couple minutes answering the questions as best as you can. Google is the #1 most popular search engine in the world. The second most popular is actually YouTube. Everybody’s customer base is different, but these people generally prefer videos.
Don’t have a professional camera or audio equipment? No problem! Take out the phone that’s undoubtedly in your pocket, prop it up on your desk, and hit record. Don’t have a set or lighting? Go outside and find something aesthetically pleasing to stand in front of (whether natural or man made). The sun just after sunrise and just before sunset will provide better lighting than any studio could.
Think about social media as a powerful publishing tool; like your WordPress blog, but even better. I think everyone has found themselves five minutes into the automatically starting Facebook videos without even realizing what’s happening.
It all comes back to reputation…
Think about the ultimate goal of a company like Google. They want people to keep using their service so they can sell ads. People will keep using a search engine if they reliably and easily find the most accurate, credible, engaging, and entertaining information.
Aside from the technical ranking factors (page loading speed, a HTTPS website, etc), Google ranks search results largely based on reputation. Just like in real life, it takes time to build a reputation, and it’s not easy either.
So where do you start? Make sure you treat your real life work with as much integrity as possible. Then, apply that same mindset to the information you put out. Make sure it’s credible, engaging, and (very importantly) original. Simply put, if you’ve put out no information on a subject, there’s no way you’ll be deemed an authority in that field.
It can be frustrating because it takes time to develop organic search as a profitable element at the top of your sales funnel. But if your goal is to build for sustainable success in the long run, figure out how far you need to go and start working towards page 1 today!
I and the rest of Optimal Reach media believe in having a goal and getting there as efficiently as possible. With enough time and resources, you can increase a website’s ranking on Google. And, a little bit of expertise allows you to meet the same goals with less time, money, and energy.