SEO still exists, but for the vast majority of businesses ( who aren’t HUGE corporations with BIG advertising budgets ) it’s difficult to get a decent return on the investment – especially when compared to pay-per-click ads on Google or other networks.
The reasons …
- The amount of effort it takes to get your website doing well in search results has increased,
- and most businesses don’t have the amount of money needed to outsource all the work that’s involved.
- As well, the chances of making it onto page one for the shorter lucrative search phrases has decreased, with big corporations and publishers knocking everyone else down further.
If you can do it, it’s still very worthwhile making it onto page one of the search results for things to do with your business.
But what’s the solution?
Google ranks their search results by deciding which pages provide the most relevant answer to the the searchers typed phrase – then listing the most relevant page at the top, and down from there.
These longer phrases that people type when they’re searching are far more specific than shorter ones. It’s much easier to be extremely relevant when answering a more specific question or search phrase.
Appearing in search results with a relevant answer to a specific search increases the likelihood that the searcher will click your result – particularly if there’s a good call to action ( read How to Put an Effective Message in Your Search Result.
As well, the competition to make it onto page one for these longer phrases is less, so you have a better chance of getting there, and it takes less effort.
The solution to appearing on page one more frequently is to write a good number of pages that each target a longer and more specific phrase.
This strategy leads directly into content marketing, which involves increasing exposure by putting good information out there that helps people solve their problem ( and as a sideline, lets them know that YOU can help them ).
In the case of SEO they’ve been searching for a solution and clicked on your search result.
There are 3 things that need to be done well …
- Locating a search phrase that enough people are typing, where you can beat the competing pages onto page one of the search results.
- Making sure that you set up the website page as well as you can ( and related site-wide things too ) this is META tags & a speedy page load etc.
- Writing a good page. Google dislikes pages that don’t provide quality information for the searcher. If it looks like it’s written only in an attempt to game their results you can get penalised. They have a large team who manually review pages if a red-flag is detected.
Here’s a good solution for people with WordPress websites …
Add the Squirrly SEO plugin to your site.
It provides a Keyword Research tool right on the page you’re editing, analyses what you write based on the phrase you’re targeting and guides you though all the steps of formatting the page for SEO.
Squirrly also handles the site-wide factors in a similar way to other SEO plugins and provides website audits that include help with external factors ( like backlinks ).
The Squirrly plugin’s free from here, or you can upgrade to get the better one.
Notice this …
When you type content marketing and seo in Google trends, you get this graph …
In the last 6 months since mid-2017 interest has been going up and up.
I can speculate that it’s for a couple of reasons that each coincide with that trend.
- The weight of Google’s ranking factors has shifted more towards on-website content and less on external factors. Advances in their machine learning that understands the meaning of what’s written has evolved. People who know a bit about SEO have become more interested in writing good content.
- People in general are starting to realise that it takes a full marketing strategy to close someone on an offer. There was a good stretch of time earlier when this wasn’t the case and selling something was different to how you’d approach it off the internet. The internet is now duplicating the real-life the sales routine.
What you write about is important for 2 reasons …
- You are creating good, relevant articles that target longer, more specific phrases, resulting in your pages being found in search results more often.
- A full content marketing strategy, that encourages people to read your pages and creates good will, with them returning to your website. Creating new content regularly is the basis of an entire marketing channel and strategy. It sets you up for the long haul, without being dependent on search engines.
Writing good content
Just as the relevance of a website page is important for SEO, it’s just as important for any marketing strategy. Think of what’s written on your page as part of a conversation, because more than likely you wrote or said something earlier in an ad or Facebook post that resulted in the person arriving on the page.
A page that is sequitur and continues talking about the specific thing mentioned earlier will keep someone moving along and not dropping off your site.
A note about duplicate content.
This come up a lot when talking about page text and SEO and concerns whether content on a website page is the same as on another website page – either of the same website or another one.
What I’ve observed is that Google, as usual, simply chooses the most relevant of the pages and places it highest of the lot, and pushes the losers way down the results.
So it doesn’t particularly harm your SEO efforts, it’s just that there will be a winning page, as normal. If you have a couple of duplicate-content pages on. your own website, then Google will select on of the other as being most relevant.
There’s a lot more to write about a full content marketing strategy, which will be covered in a later post.