I’ve been ‘doing SEO strategy’ (search engine optimization strategy) for many years and I’ve seen the rules change like everyone else more than I can count. It seems like there is a new and different search engine optimization strategy or link building strategy, or….ugh.
Any small business trying to get found online is going to face a barrage of information about how to rank on Google using this method or that. It can be overwhelming, I know!
See, I’m a small business owner. I have a website and just like any other small business owner, I’d always prefer to have the opportunity to serve more customers. I’d like to be ‘found’ when someone truly needs what my company offers.
So, how do we go about implementing this super slick search engine optimization strategy I’m writing about?
If You Optimize, They Will Rank, Right?
In the past, a simple search engine optimization strategy was all about the physical optimization of existing content. That is, it was all about plugging in some magic phrases into the few pages we had sitting on our site.
We would take a look at each page in our site, figure out what the general theme was for each page (what the page was really about), and then we’d ‘optimize’ that page for the theme.
We’d put certain phrases that related to the theme in all the right places so that Google will notice and rank that page (hopefully very highly) against all the other pages out there. At that time, that was considered a search engine optimization strategy, not much more required.
Today, there is so much more to do to remain competitive in terms of a solid search engine optimization strategy…..there are countless checklists to stay on top of your game.
You’ve probably seen them, technical phrases like keyword density, proximity, alt tag definitions….it’s enough to make your head spin if you are trying to run a small business not related to technology.
Also, you can see how this might become prone to spam, right? I mean, if a legitimate business can ‘optimize’ his page for blue widgets, why can’t a spammer do the same?
Then, Optimization Alone Was No Longer Enough
To combat this issue years ago, Google decided that it wasn’t enough just to ‘say what you do’ on your site, at least not for very competitive phrases you want to rank for. They wanted ‘proof’ that you do what you say. They decided that a search engine optimization strategy involving only ‘on-page’ techniques…well, anyone could do that, right?
How could you prove that you were the blue widget king if simply optimizing your page didn’t help you stand out among throngs of spammer sites doing the same ‘optimization’ for their sites? Well, search engines decided they would check other sources to prove you were who you claimed.
If another site links to your ‘blue widget’ page, that counts as a vote so to speak. Let’s say 10 other business sites link to your blue widget page to share the information with THEIR visitors…that’s a vote of confidence, right? What if your business site page about blue widgets has 50 links to it and the spammer sites have zero linking to theirs? You get the idea hopefully.
The only issue is….these links could get replicated as well. The process, known as ‘link building’ could be artificially simulated either by building dummy sites, paying site owners to link to spam sites, you name it. For a while, getting back-links from other sites (especially high ranking ones) was the magic solution for SEO. Now, not as much.
So if site/page optimization and link building doesn’t drive your site to the top these days, what does? Well, they certainly can’t be ignored today! Optimization does tell Google what you think your page is about while links to your page confirms what other sites say your page is about.
However, there is more to our search engine optimization strategy.
The “Publishing” Search Engine Optimization Strategy
Recently, we’ve seen the best results from consistent content additions (content marketing). Yes, it does help if this content is planned…each page optimized with a theme, links built over time, etc, but the main strategy here is CONSISTENCY.
I’m sorry if this is a painful reality, but the days of sticking your little brochure site out on the web, optimizing a few pages (or not) and waiting for the phone to ring are over. You might be able to gain rankings for phrases no one is searching for (non competitive phrases like ‘green jello space monkey’), but what good does that do your business?
We want to rank for phrases people are using to search for what our businesses offer! This means that we stay in the game and consistently build our sites over time. This search engine optimization strategy is called building an ‘authority’ site, a site that naturally builds content consistently to answer the questions customers have within our business’s target industry.
If you simply follow this path, building your site up and up with value driven content, you are going to see results over time. You will begin ranking for phrases that you didn’t think were possible.
The concept is simple but steady and consistent execution might make you feel like you are working for the Wall Street Journal. You might feel like you are in the publishing business, but I promise you that if you just write about what you know, people AND search engines will find value. It won’t even feel like a search engine optimization strategy at all!
Well, people read the Wall Street Journal because it provides VALUE. People go to news sites to get the latest news about any number of topics, right?
Our Own Medicine?
I can tell you this. I’ve been far too lazy with THIS website, so it’s time to start creating value for OUR visitors. Yes, I get busy just like other business owners. However, I have to remember that staying in front of potential customers does take planning, patience, and hard work like any other small business site owner.
So, the big question is this. Does anyone come to your site for the latest news on your industry’s products, services or solutions? If not, you may not be creating the kind of value that potential customers can tie to you as an authority.
However, if you are giving your visitors a reason to come back, they’ll notice and SO WILL THE SEARCH ENGINES. You will rank, you will be noticed over time, and that’s the best, most genuine search engine optimization strategy of all.