Ever find yourself way over your head? Maybe you took on too many projects at work, or invited too many people to your house-warming party and didn’t make enough food.
I saw an online posting about a WordPress group meeting up at a local brewery to learn at SEO (search engine optimization, or how well you rank on Google search results). I thought, “Hey, I blog on WordPress and I’m interested in marketing so this could help my future career. What can it hurt?”
One beer in, I’m surrounded by business owners looking to boost the traffic on their websites. Not the personal blogging workshop I was expecting.
Fake it till you make it.
I did actually learn a few things while (likely) looking like a deer in the headlights, sipping beer in the corner of a brewery.
Google is constantly changing its algorithms used for ranking websites; you’re not going to outsmart it.
No one knows exactly what Google uses to rank pages higher or lower than others (but we have a guess).
Keywords – words your audience searches for on Google, and you should have on your website and blog posts.
The technology giant has consistently used keywords to try and deliver to search users what they are looking for, but once this was discovered, marketers and bloggers took advantage of it, and started keyword stuffing their pages, or using specific words unnaturally and too often on their website, in an attempt to rank higher on Google’s search result pages.
Google caught on.
Keywords are important, but only if they are relevant. Longer, more specific keywords are better than short keywords. For example, instead of naming your blog post “marketing tips,” name it “content marketing for healthcare professionals.” Sure you may not get as many website viewers – anyone not interested in healthcare related content marketing will likely pass you by – but those who are interested are going to stay on your website longer. Quality visitors are better than a higher quantity of visitors.
Content – Continually updated websites, with new content greater than 300 words in length, will rank higher on Google’s search result pages. Marketers know this; the reason they have publishing schedules is to remind them to add and maintain their websites on a consistent basis.
Aside from just pumping out new content on a regular basis, it’s always best to write unique content. If it’s something useful and relevant that your website visitors haven’t seen elsewhere, they’re more likely to view you as an authority, and visit you first when they are looking for quality information.
Backlinks – links to your website from outside sources.
You’ve done it on your own blog posts – linked to a page that goes more in-depth about a topic, back-ups a statistic with a study, or otherwise uses an authoritative site to support what you wrote. When someone does that to your website, Google like it.
Some backlinks are easy to get, and you may be doing already.
† Social media channels – Place a link to your website on all your profiles.
† Guest posting – link back to your own website when writing about industry topics on relevant sites.
The higher the quality of content on the websites that backlinks to your site and the more traffic they receive, the better it is for you.
Ultimately, the effectiveness of keywords, content and backlinks depends on your competition. If they are performing at a high level, you must as well. You can do everything right, but if you ignore your competition, you likely won’t come out on top.
So it turns out, being over my head worked out well for me. And the beer was good too.