Google is like the government. Slowly, but surely, they are making things more complex and expensive for small businesses.
Let me make one thing clear. I don’t actually like the word ‘SEO Marketing’. I think it is a terrible way to describe what is actually going on when you optimize your website for the search engines. I would prefer to call it what it is: The Big Rip Off.
If your business doesn’t write weekly blog posts or build links, your competitors have an opportunity to steal away a lot of business.
Yep, 50% of all purchasing decisions begin with a search engine, and if you are not willing to invest in your website, then you miss out – big time!
The good and bad news is that the 50% keeps growing every year. It is estimated, by someone (I can’t remember who), that by 2020 more than 75% of all purchasing decisions would start with an online search. The rest perhaps by Facebook recommendations, who knows? All you can really count on is that people will increasingly use search engines to find the products and services you sell.
So you have to do SEO Marketing otherwise you will fall behind, if not now, then later. If Google was perfect then it will just look at your website and judge that it is valuable, and rank you. On the flip side of the coin, a website with spam and crap all over it is easy to spot and won’t rank very well. Believe me when I say that Google is far from perfect. It relies on several factors to determine rankings. I describe most of them in this video.
- Frequency of content
- Quantity of content
- Meta descriptions
- Number of links
- Link naturalization
- Link diversity
So there you have it. To survive SEO Marketing in 2013 you have to pay attention to each one of the 8 things mentioned above. Here’s the guide.
The Survival Guide
Content – landing pages, blog posts, and homepage
Your website needs to have all of the above. You need a different landing page for each keyword you are targeting, a blog, and a homepage which consists of more than 15% text. I personally have sacrificed my Google ranking for a homepage with a very small amount of text, because I feel it is user friendly. If only Google knew how much people hate reading.
Frequency of Content
Google likes to see that you update your website often with new and fresh content. Rule of thumb is 1 blog post per week, but the more you do it, the more Google will reward you. When my website got hacked and I dropped out of the rankings, I wrote a blog post every day. Google rewarded me with higher rankings and more traffic.
Quantity of Content
Google loves it when you have a lot of content, both the number of words per page, and the number of pages all together. At the time of writing I have 30 blog posts and 11 pages. That gives me a total of 41 pages for Google to munch on. The more content I write, the more pages I have, the more Google will reward me.
To be honest, doing your titles the right way has been compulsory since 2001. It isn’t new, but still very important. You need to ensure that all your page titles match the content on that page. A mismatch, besides confusing the hell out of visitors, also upsets Google. It is paramount to have the correct keyword within the title.
This is also nothing new, but you have to make sure your keyword is featured in the description of your page, whilst enticing people to click on your listing.
Number of Links
The more links you have to your website the higher you will rank. However, it is getting more and more irrelevant. Google now looks more at how many links are built over a period of time. Slow and steady is a lot more valuable than blasting your website with 100,000 links. That is what makes SEO Marketing such a long term commitment.
Building 100 links per month for 12 months is better than building 1,200 links in one month.
Yeah… only a super geek could have come up with a name like that. Having a natural link profile is the one element which sank millions of websites. Google rewarded websites for using unnatural link building techniques for 10 years, and then all of the sudden just punished them all. Sounds a lot like the government right?
Google figured that if someone links to your website they are more likely to say ‘Click here’, ‘see website’, ‘read more’, etc. Instead people have been building links which say ‘Home Builders’, ‘eBooks for Sale’, ‘Wedding Dresses in Prescott’ i.e. whatever they were selling. That isn’t natural. The best bet is to build the majority of your links with generic words, and use your keywords on just 25% of your links. This way Google looks at your link profile and says ‘Ok, this looks el-naturel’, because Google has really bad Spanish – obviously. If you didn’t get that joke then don’t worry… it wasn’t very funny.
This is another one of those crappy updates Google did after rewarding people for years. Building links from one source doesn’t work anymore. It used to be the case that you can build links by posting articles around the web. However, now you need to diversify:
- Article submissions
- Blog commenting (don’t spam, contribute)
- Forum profile creation (do very few of these, because they suck)
- Press release submission
- Web 2.0 blog posts
- Social bookmarking
- Social signals (do as many as you possibly can)
- Video creation
- Web 2.0 property
- Wiki submissions
There you go… you need to get links from at least 10 different sources. Otherwise it looks unnatural, and Google will punish you… again.
BONUS TIP – Tiered linking
Link tiering was not mentioned in the list, but you will see some awesome results if you do this. I thought that I should reward people who have read the 1,000 words up to this point. Basically, you have to build links to your links. Weird right? Yeah, if Google sees all the pages linking to you have no links themselves, it will be suspicious. Your move up the rankings will be slow and hard. The best way to do this is to create YouTube videos and link to them. You can also use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterist, or any of the social sites.
A parting thought…
So there you have it. Those are the 11 things you have to do to survive SEO Marketing in 2013. If you don’t, your competitors will. The real kicker is that Google changes the way it ranks websites constantly, due to their ongoing pursuit of the perfect algorithm that can accurately judge a website’s value. That is why it is extremely important to stay up to date with the search engines. I am subscribed to about 3 different DAILY newsletters which sole job it is to update me on the movements of algorithms. I also join webinars once a month to listen in on the results of new kinds of SEO Marketing. Time consuming, but worth it!