The Coveted Spot At The Top - And How To Get There
It's time to continue our discussion on ways to be found online. Last time I wrote about PPC ads and Google Adwords. Today I want to talk about SEO/SEM and how to come up at the top of Page 1 organically (or, without having to pay to do so).
Google and other search engines are manically obsessed with Relevance. When you search for a keyword, they want to display the most relevant results possible for that keyword. Why? To keep you coming back! The more people who use their search engine, the more eyeballs they have on their pages. That allows them to attract more advertisers and charge more for their ads.
How Does Google Determine Relevance?
It's a very complicated mathematical formula that they do not publish and that changes frequently. SEO/SEM is a bit of a game to keep up with the smart guys at Google to show them that your website is the most relevant source of information about your products and/or services.
But, BE WARNED: Tricking Google Doesn't Work!!! Google will blacklist you if they find that you're doing illegitimate things to make your website rise to the top artificially. There are SEO companies out there who use these strategies (called "Black Hat"), and they will get you in trouble! Once your website is blacklisted by Google, it doesn't show up anywhere for any search term, and it's almost impossible to reverse!
If it seems to good to be true, it usually is!
Here are a few of the ways Google decides how relevant you are:
Traffic - the more traffic you have coming to your site, the better. Google assumes that you must be an authority on something or people wouldn't visit your site all the time.
Keyword Density - this term refers to how many times on a given page a particular keyword is used. Common best practices say to use a particular keyword and its derivatives at least 3 times on the same page on your site if you want Google to rank you for that keyword. It needs to be written in a way that makes sense to a real reader, though, because in the end you're still selling to a person, not a search engine.
Links - the importance of links is ever-changing. But, in general, the more sites that link to yours for a particular topic, the more relevant Google believes you are on that topic. Again, there are pitfalls here! Links to your site from sites that don't have authority with Google themselves are pretty much worthless. You need valid links from sites that have more authority than yours. How do you get them? I'll cover that another time.
Content - the more content that exists on the web about your business, the better. Particularly if it associates your business with a particular topic, like one of your products or services. Content can be articles you write and post online, your blog, someone else's blog who mentions you, press releases, blog comments....the list goes on and on
The bottom line is that you need to be the authority on your subject online. That's not something that can be easily faked, and it doesn't happen overnight. It requires a dedicated strategy and a long-term commitment. Not unlike succeeding in business, right? :)
Next week I'll talk about designing an effective website. I won't go too technical, but more along the lines of how to effectively sell online.
I'm currently accepting ideas for my next series of blogs. If you have a topic or a burning question about marketing that you'd like me to cover, post it on my Facebook page!
To Your Success,