Yes, there is an “R” in SEO
Let’s face it, the best place to hide a dead body is on page two of Google because no one ever looks there. If your company does not come up on page one of a Google search it is unlikely that anyone besides the most dedicated searchers will find you. So how do you get there when every business in your industry is trying to get there too?
SEO IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT
The first thing you have to accept is that SEO is an ongoing project. You can’t optimize your website today and then forget about it for 2 – 3 years. In that time, Google will have updated their rules multiple times and your competitors will have passed you by. Instead, you need to plan incremental updates, continually revisiting different aspects of your SEO program including all of the ‘R’s:
- Realistic Targets
- Real Estate
- Relevant Content (Rich and Recent)
- Relationships (Related links, Reputation, & Reviews)
- Revenue Not Rankings
So let’s take a look at each of these elements.
Start with Google’s keyword tool. To access this you must have an AdWords account. You can set one up even if you never run an ad.
As you start making a list of keywords put yourself into the mind of your customer. What words would they use if they were looking to buy a product like yours? Some phrases are likely to be used in the research phase while others are closer to buying intent. While all are important, experts suggest starting with phrases that are closer to the purchase.
Consider the following example: Day spa near me or best facial for acne. Which phrase would you choose? The location-based phrase (near me) is likely to be used when someone is close to purchasing, while the search for “best facial” might be used by someone doing research and not ready to buy.
Look for words with moderate to high Google search volumes. If no one ever searches for a particular word or phrase, it does you no good to rank highly for that.
Some words are extremely competitive and the page one listings are dominated by one or two large players in your industry. It is unlikely that the corner grocery store is going to win a key phrase against Wal-Mart. Instead of wasting time hunting a unicorn, select phrases you can win such as neighborhood market, local, family-owned grocery.
In real estate, there is the phrase “location, location, location.” It refers to the fact that a property has dramatically different value depending on where it is located. The same is true for SEO. If you are in a very competitive category narrow your focus and dominate the term for your state, city, or county.
But what if you are not geographically constrained? You can still narrow your focus by selecting specific niches. When you limit your focus there will be fewer Google searches each month, but you will have less competition for your keyword position. As you focus on more specific keywords you have a higher chance of being considered relevant when a potential customer is ready to make a purchase.
This is the guts of your website. When a person (or a Google search bot) follows a link to your website do they find quality content? This is information that answers the questions they’re searching for with detailed information. These days Google is looking for a minimum of 500 words per page.
Stuffing keywords to raise your word count may improve your rank temporarily, but sooner or later it will catch up with you.
Search engines also value “new information.” That’s why your blog is so important. It allows you to create a steady stream of relevant, keyword rich content using primary words and related alternative phrases (like air conditioner service, ACrepair, and cooling system repairman). You can produce a series of related posts each answering individual questions potential customers are likely to have.
On the internet, you are judged by the company you keep. Who links to you and who do you link to? While not as important as it once was, backlinks still send strong signals to search engines about the content other sites find valuable. Regularly commenting on posts on other sites, sharing information on social media, and posting content to high authority sites like PR Web and YouTube create invaluable links that drive both people and search engines to your site.
In the relationship category, I would also put reviews. The more people who write positive comments about you on Google Review, Facebook Review, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Angie’s List, and other review sites, the more positive ranking information is sent to Google. Take time to ask customers to write positive reviews, thank them, and share the love with companies you work with.
GOOGLE SEARCH IS ABOUT REVENUE NOT RANKINGS
SEO is important, but a page one ranking is irrelevant if you don’t convert visitors once they arrive at your website. Be sure your content answers their questions and then clearly tells them what they are supposed to do next. Link to related information, offer a download, video or an opportunity to talk to someone to learn more.
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