Creating content and sharing with a community of like-minded people is the fun part for most bloggers. Where many bloggers struggle is in the SEO game that comes with being a successful blogger. Google is constantly working to improve the quality of content their users receive. To understand how to rank you need to understand a few things about how Google works and what their business model is. Google makes money in a variety of ways. A large portion of their income is from paid advertisements targeting specific keywords whether that is in the search engine or within websites. Google is very serious about positive user experience, as you can imagine it is very important since they have some tough competitors like Bing, Yahoo and many others that would love to take their users. Quality experience comes from users getting the best content available for each search. Google has complex algorithms that dictate which pages will rank and where, according to dozens of qualifiers. They don’t publicly release the exact information about those qualifiers but we know from case studies and bits of info that are released that certain website qualities matter. To keep it simple lets focus on 5 key indicators that you can manage every day.
As mentioned in the introduction paragraph, user experience is one of the main focuses for Google so you must, I say must, play that game as well. For more reasons that ranking in Google user experience will take you very far in this industry. People will leave a poorly done website so fast you can’t believe it. Some people will bounce in and out of a website within a few seconds. Nearly 70% of people don’t go past the top 3 results on a search and only about 2% of people ever go to the second page of a Google search so if they don’t get the results they want immediately they are moving on. You need to catch the traffic available every time. You cannot afford to have a poor user experience. Google is always watching, and your viewers won’t hang around to get your pitch even if you have an amazing product or service for a great price.
One way to improve the user experience is to provide quality content. This goes along with Google getting the best results for their customer’s searches. Over the years traffic seekers have always done whatever they can to get around the algorithm’s quality factors to try to rank quickly in specific key words. Their reason is usually to sell a product or service just like most websites. Google has consistently found patterns within websites and user data to help them get the best quality information for each key word. This is a good thing if you are passionate about your business because that means you are probably in it for the long run and you provide the type of content that Google would like their users to see.
There are a few simple rules to creating good content. Typically longer pages and posts do better because viewers spend more time on each page, which is tracked, they usually get more links driving toward them and it may indicate that you are a one stop shop for that specific topic. However, length isn’t king. Do not ramble on with high keyword density, poorly written repetitive content will run people away very quickly and nobody will link to your page.
I’m not sure I can make this clear enough. Your brand is everything! Think about some of your favorite companies and their products. They have created an emotional experience for you and you gobble it up like a food addict at Golden Corral. Good branding pulls the emotional strings of the customer. There are entire companies that focus on this aspect of businesses. Just think about Apple and Coke for a minute. Two very different product lines with different price ranges but they are some of the best at branding in the world. Coke usually takes relationships and makes really powerful commercials around that emotional drive and attachment, and then they have a really classy shot of someone drinking a Coke or sharing one and it pulls your heart strings. The logo and look of Coke have pretty much been the same for more years than we have been alive.
Apple goes for the high class very clean and expensive feel. All of their online and physical stores are the same, extremely well organized, modern, classy, clean and user friendly. From the quality and appearance of their high end computers to the sound the mouse makes when you click the button to the boxes their headphones come in, it all looks very sexy and nice. It’s more fun to open an Apple product than similar products from different companies. Their brand is known as the upper end line of technology even though most of the features you get on their products are pretty much the same as competitor’s products. They have created their own price range and business line and people obsess about getting the next gadget.
Social media has taken the internet by storm. In many ways social media is the new search engine. People are spending more time on social media and search for advice and tips on social platforms more than ever and it’s still growing at an incredible rate. We are in the infant stages of social media use. Big search engines like Google have obviously taken note of this and have put social signals in their algorithms for rating and ranking websites. However, likes and shares can be fairly easy to get and it may not be from real users so even if it doesn’t hold a ton of weight there are other major reasons to use social media with your website. It is free marketing, it increases your virality, meaning people can share and like your posts or site. You can get links, and exposure to people and places you would never get yourself.
Google gives every website a certain amount of transfer weight. Transfer weight is the power your site has and is the determining factor of how high you will rank in comparison to the transfer weight of your direct competitors. You gain transfer weight when other websites put a link directing traffic to your website. The bigger and better the website that links to you the more transfer weight you get. The assumption is, if a high quality, reputable website links to yours then your site must be quality as well. The more sites that link to you the more transfer weight you will have. It’s not all about transfer weight and ranking though. You’ll also be getting traffic from each of the links others put up for you. So if you have 5,000 backlinks out there and you’re ranking well in your keyword then you’ll have traffic coming from 5,001 locations.
So why would another website link to your site? Well, because of all the things we talked about above, if you add value to other people’s businesses by producing quality content on a regular basis, have a good brand have social media connections and provide a good user experience it looks good for the other guy/gal as well.