Create great content – Simple as that.
Anyone who is trying to stay in business understands one thing, marketing matters. Now that we live in a globalized world, the effects of technology are more apparent than ever. Back when Yahoo, Google and Microsoft began to index the world’s content, it became apparent to marketers that understanding how these indices worked would be critical to their success. As the internet continues to network consumers and businesses, the competition to rise to the top of a search page is fierce and often challenging. Let me assure you, the privilege to appear in a search index organically is a privilege we should all take a moment to appreciate. Considering that search engines are run somewhat democratically, even the smallest of business have the opportunity to compete in the SERP rankings with very little financial input (comparatively). Let’s look at how search engines work.
1. Search Engines work slowly
I know this sounds like a mistake, but let’s take a look closer. A search engine is a remarkable device. It can search through millions of links in a fraction of a second and deliver the answers you desire with amazing accuracy. But in order to index all of these links and provide meaningful feedback to your queries, a search engine must be discriminant. Google has created an industry based on the sole need for accuracy. This is why a lot of black hat tricks that deliver short-term search rank increases will only end up diminishing your website’s reputation (and rank) later down the road.
Ranking well on Google is a marathon and requires an absolute devotion to delivering the content your customers actually want. Search engines are businesses and they owe their clients a product that performs. If your ‘eyepatch’ website reaches the top of Google’s search page for ‘toy cars’ then Google’s users will not be very pleased with the results. So based on this, Google requires a website to be accurate about what it is that their service provides. Providing great content will allow Google to properly rank you.
Google loves you, they want to rank you!
But they owe it to their customers to provide accurate results. This is why it may take months for your website to truly rise in the search results. Google will put a new website through a pseudo probationary period. But as you add content, and that content jives with not only your other content but the content of the websites that you also link to, Google will begin to place you within what is called a link neighborhood. Just like in a real life neighborhood, you should strive to move to a neighborhood with good neighbors who follow the rules and also assist you when you are in need.
Black Hat Seo:
A lot of media agencies will assure you that they can ‘get your website to the first page of Google’. Promises like this should raise a red flag. If someone says they know how to place you at the top of the search results then they are making a very disingenuous claim. Black Hat SEO is a trick that is used to temporarily and artificially boost your page rank. Typically these tricks involve antiquated techniques like keyword stuffing, hidden text, and fake backlinks.
2. Search Engines know a lot about you
Search engines know a lot, it is their nature. A search engine is very good at creating networks and by associating different sources of information with topics and categories, a search engine can create what is called a link neighborhood. This is important because it helps your business rise in the search results based off of a couple of factors.
Google, Bing, and most other search engines factor in where your business is located. This is an important aspect of your online presence and is certified through your declaration of your NAP, i.e your name, address, and phone number. As search engines crawl the web they are trying to put information into boxes. As the name of your business shows up in directories, on websites, in an article, Google will take note of any address or contact information that is provided. By creating a more consistent profile across the web you create more certainty for Google when it is trying to decide who should show up in a local search result.
Local searches are very important now that mobile devices control a large percentage of the market share. Consumers using a search engine are not so much asking who, what,when, but where something is. More often than not when someone is googling a business they are looking for their contact information or physical address.
How does this relate to your link neighborhood? Local listings are very prominent in Google searches. You can easily score a high ranking position on a local list in your area if Google recognizes what your service is. Additionally, you will also have a better chance of ranking in your area compared to competition from another area, and vice versa. The days of keyword stuffing and fake ‘location landing pages’ are rapidly coming to an end, and for good reason. A user wants accurate results and a business wants to be represented on their home turf.
As Google separates businesses into different industries and networks, it also tries to associate companies that will usually be searched for together. This is easily seen in the Google business profile box. At the bottom of the box you will see “People also search for“. If you type in Perfect Setting Catering you will see that Google also suggests Duportail House. Now, Duportail House is not a caterer but a venue that caterers frequent. This association is Google’s way of increasing the user experience. It also happens because Google parses both companies’ websites and finds links from one site to the other. This link association creates a bond that is enforced when both companies link back and forth.
As we have seen with locational cues such as NAP values, and link neighborhood networking, the consistency of your content and the length of time that your website has been active for can greatly help your positioning in the Google rank. An older site has had more time to accrue a large link neighborhood. With a lot of quality backlinks an old site can maintain its position against newer sites even if the newer sites are better optimized, optimization being a factor in Google’s rankings. But longevity is the least important aspect that we have covered.
For instance, a new website from a hot new catering company can also bring in a lot of great quality backlinks such as raving reviews from local media generators. These quality backlinks can easily bump an older website that is poorly optimized, uninteresting or irrelevant content, or maintains outdated or inconsistent backlinks.
3. Great content is key
Major search engines have been redefining their algorithms for years. The goal of a search engine is to provide the best result for your query. These algorithms combine many ranking factors that try to surmise the best results. Everything from where the user is located, to past search queries, to how long a user stays on a web page is counted by Google and other search engines.
In the past, when search engines were in their infancy, it was possible to trick a search engine into ranking your site for keywords that you desired. Many different methods could be employed to associate your content with specific search topics. Things such as keyword stuffing, meta description stuffing, invisible text, backlink networks, could all be employed to unethically game the system.
As search engines evolved they began to counter these particular methods and implement machine learning. Most recently companies like Google have taught their algorithms to analyze the content of a web page and discern whether the search query that led you there is actually descriptive of the content therein.
Because of this paradigm shift, the number one method that is sure to maintain a strong ranking in a search engine is to create great content that answers the question that the user sought to answer. By tailoring your content to the user, and not just to the robot crawler, you benefit your potential customers and also tick off a number of ranking factors. If the user stays on your page, or even navigates around your website, it indicates that your content is a correct match for that desired keyword.
Content is king, but a king needs a sturdy castle to reign from; you may have great content but does your website deliver that content efficiently?