Hacking Today’s SEO to Improve Your Company’s Rank on Google
GOOD SEO IS MATH
SEO Foundation + Staying Up-to-Date + Good User Experience = SEO
Recently, I was at a WordPress meetup with a variety of digital professionals, along with some who were new to the business. As the discussion went around the table, I noticed that the topic kept circling back to SEO, Google, and the confusion surrounding it. Though Google is a constantly moving target, I can shine some light on this topic that will help your business. Hopefully it will de-mystify SEO for you, or possibly, help someone avoid a fast-talking salesman that would charge you a lot of money for little return.
If you’ve been in digital marketing for a number of years, you already know that 2019 SEO tactics look worlds apart from those used in 2005, or even 2018 (Really? 2018… Yeah! Think indexing podcasts, the chatbot explosion, etc…). The big brains at Google are always making changes, and I believe it is to prevent those who have deeper pockets from being able to constantly crush the little guys.
A Tip Worth Mentioning: If Google Moves, You Move
Constant changes are frustrating, but if you look at it with the right perspective, you will see that today’s SEO elements have evolved to give the consumer a more valuable search result.
Do you remember the days of cramming as many keywords into a website, with the hopes that it would increase your chances of being in the top 3 spots of a search result? I pray that no one reading this still does that on their website. If so, change it now!
That is the type of trickery that Google has been frowning upon for years and can lead to Google blacklisting your site. Keeping up-to-date on all the metrics Google uses to rank a business and their website. (we’ve compiled a short list to get you started below). We recommend signing up for daily blogs from Search Engine Land, Google, and more to stay informed with the ongoing changes.
The 4 Main Puzzle Pieces:
1. WEBSITE DESIGN & CONTENT
This is the most obvious, and often, the only element that is focused on when discussing SEO. People spend many hours or tons of money on writing “special content” with all the pertinent keywords, crafting new services pages and writing blogs. This is important, no doubt, but it is just one piece of the puzzle. The requirements to having strong SEO is much broader. If this is the only piece that you or your SEO company is focusing on, you won’t see a lot of gains from your efforts.
TAKE AWAY #1: Even if you think that your content is better than sliced bread, if users don’t stay, the page loads too slowly, or looks like it came from a Game of Thrones era… YOU ARE LOSING CUSTOMERS. It could be time to rethink your website and get a marketing audit.
2. “GOOGLE MY BUSINESS” PROFILE
This has always been head-scratcher for me. More than once, I have worked with an established company that has been around for years, only to discover that they never created their Google business listing. Listen up people! Make sure that you have a Google business profile that it is set up, verified & categorized correctly. According to Google, searches for “_____ near me” has increased by 150% in the last year. This is the most common starting point for a consumer who is looking for something, including what you have to offer. If you do not have a Google profile, you won’t show up. It is equivalent to not being listed in the yellow pages back in 1984. Without it, you are simply invisible and this is a tragic mistake. Second, your Google My Business profile should be well built out, and you should post OFTEN!
TAKE AWAY #2: Make sure your Google My Business Profile is alive, verified, and well-built. Post often, and get reviews from customers. Do you think that yours may not be good enough, or do you need one? We can help! Get a Free 10-Minute Discovery Call and have us review it!
3. SOCIAL MEDIA
Some industries do not directly profit from an active social media account, whereas others generate much of their business from one. However, everyone needs a social media presence to some degree because it legitimizes you in Google’s eyes. If they see that you have a website, plus a Google listing and social media accounts, they will rate your company higher. The more credible that you appear to Google, the stronger your ranking will be. You do not have to have all of them, but it is recommended to be active with a couple of the main players – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, etc – whatever fits your industry best. Make sure that your information on these matches what you have listed on Google and that you have a small amount of ongoing activity on them.
P.S. – You could use a tool like Yext to give you a broad look at how you are appearing over the internet. It’s a little pricey though, just a heads up.
TAKE AWAY #3: You need social media profiles that match your information on your website and Google. Be active, and don’t try to sell, sell, sell… or people will just ignore you. Thinking your social profiles are a snooze fest? Take advantage of our Free 10-Minute Discovery Call and have us review it!
4. BEHIND THE SCENES OF YOUR WEBSITE (PUT ON YOUR NERD PANTS)
This is about the source code that your website is made up of and what Google “reads” to determine where your webpage should appear in their index for a search result. Unless you are very comfortable with making back-end changes, this might be a good area to allocate some budget for a professional. If something important is broken, it could cost you a lot more paying someone to fix it.
If your website has been around for a while, odds are that you may have some deep cleaning to do. Some of the common things that need attention are back-link cleanup, updating/merging/deleting plugins, correcting keywords & alt text, indexing or 404 errors, having a clean internal linking structure, etc. On a site that is a few years old and has not had on-going clean up done, this could realistically take a professional a few hours or up to a few weeks, depending on how big your site is. You want to make sure that this is up-to-date, because Google serves fresh, fast, fascinating websites first. If your code is unreadable or corrupted, your website may get skipped over.
TAKE AWAY #4: Make sure someone who is well-versed and up-to-speed on all things websites and Google is actively maintaining your website. Always get a third party to occasionally check it out to make sure those guys in the basement your hired are actually doing their job… If not, it will cost you business, and that’s what you’re online for. We do Website Audits, and we can answer that question for you.
5. AWE… WE ARE AT THE END
This list isn’t doesn’t cover everything you’ll need to improve your webpage’s SEO, but it’s a great place to start. Typically, when we do a marketing audit for a client, we find that they are only focusing on 1, maybe 2, of these areas, which is why they are not seeing returns on their digital investment.
FINAL TAKE AWAY: Take some time and critically look at where you rank. If you are not performing strongly, make a plan on how to improve them and follow through. I bet within about 3 months; you will see a great uptick in your digital traffic. Unless Google makes another drastic change, that is… DUN DUN DUN!
If you have any questions or would like some advice about your SEO, feel free to contact us at Twofold Marketing.
Always happy to help!