January 4, 2015
As I mentioned in Birth of Organic SEO, the search engine rules centering on gaining an audience for your website have changed. Google, in an attempt to stop black hat SEO artists from gaming the search system, leveled the playing field and reworked its algorithms. Essentially, you need to adopt time tested brick and mortar attitude: relevant products trump gimmicky storefront window displays. If you want to lead users into your store, make sure that your shelves actually display quality products.
The good news - you no longer have to rely on paying a group of quasi-hackers a monthly stipend to push your site’s rankings. The bad news - it’s back to basics by having to put in the time and effort to create a solid stream of content. You don’t need to be a coding genius, but it helps to be able to define various aspects of what ‘content’ - as relates to Google - actually involves. Let’s break it down to into 5 easy steps:
1. Create relevant content.
Yes, your business offers an amazing service or you're an expert at something. Great. Unfortunately, this fact won’t bring up your search rankings unless you use the right words to tell your story. What are the right words? Well, the easiest first step is to think like one of your prospects. How would someone that is not in your business describe your business? Each sector has its ‘keywords’ and jargon and Google knows that. Most likely, these are words that people put into its search engine. Use them on your home page; but remember, use them with discretion. Don’t stuff keywords into every sentences of every article. Think elevator pitch: concise statements of what you do and the benefits of your product or service. Good rule of thumb: 3%-5% density ratio of keywords to content. Google can sense when you are stuffing the ballot, and punish you with lower rankings just as easily as rewarding you. Google loves fresh, unique and conscious content.
2. Appropriate titles and labeling.
Properly labeling your online content is one of the easiest ways to rank well for your targeted terms. Let's say you're a plastic surgeon and one of your keyword phrases is "rhinoplasty." When you write a blog, press release or article on one of the benefits of undergoing a procedure for rhinoplasty - or on a topic that is directly related to similar procedures, work "rhinoplasty" into the title, headline and first paragraph. Fairly simple, yes - I get it. But, sometimes the tendency is to write cute titles that you think might get people’s attention. You’re not trying to get their attention, you’re trying to get Google to listen as you shout your message.
3. Develop a robust social media presence.
Social media is the vehicle, SEO is the driver. Today more than ever, Google's search algorithms prioritize tweets and other social media updates over other forms of recent information. Why? Because there are over 1 BILLION people on Facebook, half a BILLION people on Twitter, 300 MILLION people on LinkedIn, and the list goes on and on. And they share worthwhile content 100s of 1000s of times every day. That's why. Again, you’re trying to shout information out, Google wants to make sure that the largest number of people is listening - and if you use accepted platforms, you will be rewarded.
4. Build your thought-leadership position.
In the world of academia there is an old saying: Publish or Perish. If you’re going to teach a subject, institutions want to ensure that you reflect the thought-leadership role of your employer, by being one yourself. The online concepts of reputation are following suit.
Conversations - answering questions in a ‘comment’s’ thread is a perfect opportunity to showcase your expertise. Most blogs, magazines, news and social sites welcome, practically invite, actually, participation from their users. Offer to contribute an article or blog post explaining something related to the service you offer; or product you sell. Major caveat: make sure that your commentary, answers, opinions are authentic and informative. So, sit down and find sites that you think your prospects might be using. Think secondary, even tertiary interests and likes. What are their hobbies, areas of interest outside of your product or service? Find a site that deals with that and get busy.
5. Create outside links to your site.
Not only can contributing to other sites help generate awareness about your personal and company brands; it's also an effective way to get high quality links back to your site. This is called "inbound linking." If you do it right and people like what you write, this will establish you as an industry expert and your social following will grow accordingly. Good content will breed outside links. Other examples that breed links: Free resources, white paper downloads, informative videos act. People will appreciate what you are doing/saying and link back to your site because you are contributing value. Google appreciates value and your rankings will slowly improve.
So there you have it, a basic primer for creating organic SEO. It takes a bit of work, brain power and continuity. The results of your organic SEO efforts may take time and you need to be patient. And, once people get to your site, they still need to do what you wanted them to do: buy, subscribe, register, etc. This is why your site design and organic SEO building go hand in hand. They are not autonomous functions; but require expertise
and awareness of intent from the information architecture phase forward. Make sure that during your research phase, you get a clear understanding from your future agency that they understand the big picture, not just bits and pieces. Your business’ success depends on it.
Authored by: Attila Sary