Whether you’re marketing dog food, car insurance or life-coaching services, you have competitors. And your competitors have web sites and social media property. Just like you. As a web marketer, your challenge is getting your pages ranked higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) than your competitors’ content. It’s really as simple as that. Here’s why.
Study after study has shown just how impatient we all are when it comes to getting results from our search engine queries. Not only do most of us restrict our web searches to the first of perhaps hundreds of results pages, but we usually only look seriously at the first few results on that first page.
How does that affect your business? It means if your top three competitors’ websites are ranked in the first three positions on a SERP based on a relevant query, your searcher is pretty unlikely to find your business if it’s in the fifth or sixth position on that same page.
If it’s on the 14th page of results? Forget about it.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do–or avoid doing–to better position your website in the top organic search ranking and get the attention it deserves from the audience that matters to you. Here are some of our favorite dos and don’ts.
Avoid SEO gimmickry
By now, everyone should know the risk of keyword stuffing, but web communicators still do it. Some think that you need a dozen keywords and for each to be used six to 10 times in a 1,000-word blog post to get noticed.
You’ll get noticed, all right. But for the wrong reasons. Messaging like that gets too often interpreted by search engine algorithms as content with little value, or even spam. As a result, your web page or blog post can now be found on page 54 of search results.
Build quality pages
Broken links, coding problems, pages and tags that aren’t optimized and slow page-loading speeds are among the careless and negligent digital practices that will just get you in trouble.
Google and other search engines don’t work for you or your company or your competitors. They work on behalf of their customers, who are the content searchers who use their services to seek out quality content on the web. Professionalism is key.
Create attention-worthy content
That’s always the best–and yet the simplest–advice any digital marketing guru could give anyone. Don’t try to read Google’s mind. You can’t. Instead, create content with your customers in mind, not the search engines.
That means offering relevant, user-friendly, informative and engaging content that keeps visitors engaged and compels them to ultimately take the action you want them to take.
Keep your visitors longer
Google doesn’t just care about the number of visitors your site receives. The algorithm is looking to see how long you keep them in your domain once you’ve landed them. After all, you might trick web searchers into visiting your site with questionable SEO practices, but they won’t stay long unless you give them good reasons to do so.
Again, that gets back to the creation of engaging content. You can also create internal links to keep traffic flowing from page to page or from website to relevant blog posts. The longer you can keep your traffic, the more valuable your site will seem to the search engines and the higher your content might rank.
Practice good link strategy
Search engines interpret your site as being more credible if other credible sources link to your content. Think of every one of these backlinks as a sort of testimonial from a respected source. That’s how algorithms grade those links to your site.
Conduct frequent searches based on your site and content and see if other websites and social media properties are mentioning your products, services or brand without linking to your site. If they are, and it’s in a positive context, thank them for the mention and put in a polite request that they link to your appropriate page. And do the same with them.
Keep track of your metrics. Google makes it easy with free tools such as Google Analytics and our favorite, Webmasters Tools. See which keywords are working best, and which aren’t. Check out your most successful pages. Which are being ignored? Those are the pages you might focus on now.
Creating, monitoring and improving your commercial website is a responsibility that never really ends. The payoff is a site that your customers want to visit regularly, and SERPs with your site ranked at or near the top of page one–the only page that counts.
Interesting related article: “What is Search Engine Optimization?“