LESSON: Give Google What it Wants, When it Wants it and How it Wants it!!
If you are in business, your business is also online – or at least it should be by now – and if it is online chances are you rely on Google to give your business visibility, traffic, leads and sales. That makes Google a Very Important Partner in your business strategy.
It also means that when Google changes it’s ranking algorithms or processes, it can have an immediate – and dramatic – effect on your business. Rankings can tumble from the first page to the tenth page with little or no warning. Businesses that may have been getting 10 – 15 leads per day can drop down to just 1 or 2 – or even none.
The worst part is – there is very little you can do about it!
Traditionally people think of SEO as an after thought, something like ‘we should really get our website to rank for this keyword’ and then go about trying to find an SEO specialist to help get them there. And mostly this used to work out ok.
Only now, Google has changed the game – forever.
The following are only the 5 most obvious ways that Google has changed the game, and we are a long way from keywords ranking on page 1 now.
Killer #1: Personalised Search Results
This one is the Atomic Bomb! The old game used to be a level playing field, if your website managed to get a #1 ranking for your keyword “Perth Social Media” for example, it was a fair bet that no matter *who searched for that term, they would see your listing.
Not any more.
Now, Google shows Person A a ‘personalised’ list of search results based on a huge number of factors, including: recent search history, past search history, recent sites visited, recent stories liked on facebook or other social media – and a dozen other indicators.
Google also shows Person B a completely DIFFERENT set of results, based on Person B’s recent search history, recent visited sites and so on.
So now every single person sees a completely different set of Page 1, Top 10 results! The default top rankings are a thing of the past.
Killer #2: Local Search Results
Building on the previous killer, but expanding into the geographical region you live in, this killer means your results are now geolocated to the searchers location! Searchers have always been able to add a city name or suburb name into their search result to get more localised results, but this is now the Default behaviour.
So if your website isn’t specifically optimised for the location you do business in, the searcher will be shown your competitors sites that ARE locally optimised.
The solution is easy however, you need to add the local geographic information to your site meta information and contact pages (among other areas) and ensure you can find your business when you do a search on Google Maps.
Killer #3: Social Signals now Rank
I have been banging on about how social media can boost your website rankings and bring awesome amounts of extra traffic to your website but it’s mostly been a secret SEO tactic. Not anymore!
Google has the ability to connect the content on your website to anywhere it gets shared online – and it tracks those links and shares and likes, adding them to it’s ‘Authority Profile’ for your website. Knowing how to get this to work to your advantage is extremely powerful – but its a death knell for those who dont or arent.
“Love it or hate it, this is a real thing. Google is definitely measuring your website’s “pulse rate” on social media channels. How often do you share content on social channels? How often do people visit your website for social channels? How many fans/followers do you have? Does your website have social sharing elements available for visitors? Social signals really is the new “link building” metric you should be concerned about and worried about. Forget about how many links you have — especially if you’re building fake links — and start worrying about the health of your social media presence.”
In short: If you dont have share buttons on your pages/posts people cant share your site out easily. This means less shares, which means less Authority, which means less rankings. Building in social sharing to your site is a must do, right now. Creating content that people WANT to share should now be your primary content creation strategy!
Killer #4: Mobile Responsive Rankings Required
Google announced last year that it was going to start penalising websites that don’t have a mobile-optimised view available for mobile readers on various devices. They know that mobile-traffic is accounting for up to 40% of web traffic on the internet, and they want to make sure that content is able to be viewed and used on mobile devices.
Is your site mobile-responsive? Have you looked at it on a mobile device? If not Google is silently promoting your competitors sites above yours for mobile viewers, and sending your listing down the rankings.
In fact Google even tracks the size of the buttons on the menu of your site – to make sure it is big enough for the average thumb to click on! Seriously! I couldnt make this stuff up. Webmasters are notified if their website is not up to scratch and sent a list of items they need to comply with in order to pass their mobile-responsiveness test.
Killer #5: Fresh, Timely and Relevant Content
I have been telling my clients this one for quite some time now, and thankfully more than a couple of you have listened and taken this advice on board.
Google WANTS regular content. Regular! This means you MUST post new content to your blog every week/fortnight/month. The days of having a website with your Services and Portfolio on it as static pages that never change or get updated are gone. Now Google listens to what is happening on the internet, and posts recent content to the top of it’s listings.
Want to get seen? Get writing!
But not just any content – watch it! The keyword here is Relevant! The regular posting content MUST be relevant to your website content overall.
Google knows what your website is about.
Google has read your site, indexed it, analysed the grammar of it, followed all the links to it and out from it, counted all the shares of it, likes of it, tweets about it and has a very in depth understanding of what your site is actually about. So there’s no point blogging about some other information just because you think it will get shares, or go viral.
The strategy is to setup a regular blogging schedule as part of your business practise, and stick to your schedule. Create informative posts that people like – so much they share it! Thats the simplicity of it. Google actually WANTS that kind of content, so give it what it wants, when it wants and how it wants and your rankings will increase as well as your visibility across the internet from being shared.
After all it’s what we all really want in the end.
Let me know what strategies you are currently using in the comments below.