This is the second article on the changing face of SEO in a two-part series on. I think we can use many of the elements of emotional marketing within our SEO today as well. The last article looked at on-page SEO. This article will look at off-page SEO. The world of off-page SEO, or “backlinking”, has changed dramatically and this article looks at how a more emotive SEO strategy can help us gain higher organic rankings.
If we go back three or four years, pre the big Panda and Penguin updates by Google, the main focus within web marketing was always page one organic rankings. Attaining high rankings for chosen keywords was often celebrated as if those rankings had already turned into qualified customers! The practice of web marketing focused almost exclusively around whatever tactics could be utilised to gain high rankings for the “golden keywords” within our industry. A huge part of those tactics involved uncovering methods by which a backlink could be gained on a site that had “authority”, back then this meant high PageRank. The result? In a very simplified way, people with high PR domains began selling links from their powerful sites to people who wanted to rank their site higher in Google. This meant, you could literally buy your way to a high ranking
Since those days a lot has changed, as mentioned in the last blogpost mostly for the better. There’s a very simple rule we can now apply to our SEO strategy that comes courtesy of Google themselves. Google now tells us that any link we seek to obtain for the pure purpose of SEO is a link that they will seek to downgrade in value – if they have not downgraded that link already. A lot of well-known companies in the past 6 to 12 months have seen their rankings drop due to links that they obtained (often some time ago) which Google has now devalued. Earlier this year, even the mighty BBC received one of the infamous Google warning emails within their Webmaster tools account. Now, whilst I think it is perhaps a little too much for Google to penalise websites that have been around a long time for previously pursuing link building tactic which we’re (back then) effective, it is good to see the positive impact that these changes inspire us to have within our outlook on SEO and web marketing overall.
Earn, Not Buy, Our Success
Because no-one can now buy their high ranking, we instead have to earn it. Who do we earn it from? Quite simply, the people. Previously, high PR domains had ranking power and placing content on such domains would, in turn, help your ranking too. Now, ranking power comes from the people. The more they “like” your content, the higher you’re going to rank. Much more importantly, the more real people “like” what you do, the better your actual business is going to do too.
This is a great change of focus for the customer. They have the power to not only “like” but also to review and recommend what you do for them. Across the web marketing world, new philosophies and techniques that focus attention on delivering great things to the customer are appearing. Perhaps the most well-known of these is inbound marketing, a concept created and inspired originally by Seth Godin and now by taken forward by hubspot.com. It all leads to a much better Internet, now that we are rewarded for focusing our efforts on customers, instead of keywords and domains.
You Are Your Greatest SEO Asset
With the focus now firmly on customers, this in turn places greater attention on the most potent powerful weapon in the new world of SEO, namely you. Your message, your authenticity, your delivery and you passion are the most powerful weapons in helping you obtain great rankings. As mentioned in this post previously, the rise of social media has meant that we cannot separate ourselves from our companies, nor our values from the values of our company. Google actually reflects this outlook by encouraging us to connect our blogposts, and any other sites we create content for, to our Google+ profiles. Google can then understand that one author is contributing to the Internet in positive ways and in numerous places.
So, in this new era of SEO,
what can we do to attain good rankings?
1. Change The Focus Of Keyword Research
Whilst all these changes to SEO have been taking place, Google PPC has been growing and expanding. There are many things we can do now that we could not do via PPC two or three years ago. These might include targeting remarketing ads, or utilising Google Shopping feeds. As a result of these PPC expansions, PPC ads also now appear in more places than ever have before. For keywords with high commercial intent (eg. “buy new DAB radio”), ads now take up much more of the results pages, pushing organic rankings down.
This great article and infographic suggests that for what we term “buying keywords”, PPC ads are far more successful than organic rankings. This means there is less and less point in us targeting so-called buying keywords for our SEO work. We’re better off focusing on those via PPC.
On the other hand, when it comes to informational searches, SEO can be very successful. We should look to find the questions and queries our target audience ask about what we do and answer these queries via our content. This nicely leads on to our second point…
2. Be Useful. Be informative.
By answering “informational keywords” we discuss above within your blog posts and content, your demonstrating your knowledge and expertise to your potential customers. Content pages are longer in form and hence also provide the places for us to best opportunity to inform our customers about who we are, how we do things and what makes us different to our competitors out there.
Content driven pages are the kinds of pages within your site that are most likely to be liked/shared by “the people”. We have already discussed how this really, is the key to your SEO success going forward. An article by Neil Patel suggests that longer content has a greater chance of ranking high, because it is, in turn, more likely to be shared by being perceived as offering higher value.
To be truly insightful and aware of your industry, we cannot limit ourselves to our own knowledge. We have to read what other people think to in order to inspire and educate are own thoughts on how we do things too. In turn, if we are to be fully of use to people visiting our webpages, we should also share with them any 3rd party pieces of content we have found relevant and insightful to what we do.
By sharing such things, we may find that those same authors we share something from end up sharing our content too. that we wrote to. Secondly, there is so much information online these days and so much to learn that “the people” are often looking for a trusted source. Someone they trust to let them know which are the best articles to read this week. You can be that trusted source for your people.
By looking at how we can approach SEO in the current online world, we have actually ended up looking at how we can be a more use to our people. How can SEO company india be a better expert for our people? By offering thought out, insightful expert content that answers people’s common questions about what we do, by not limiting that content to our own views, we start to become a trusted source of information. Most importantly, we are not just doing this for the sake of organic rankings. Becoming a real expert in what we do can only be good for our customers and our business. Achieve that, and those organic rankings should take care of themselves anyway.