“You can’t rest on your #1 ranking – because the guy at #2 isn’t resting. He’s till improving his site.” – Ryan Jones
Here is the scenario: a website owner approaches you for help on getting exposures on Google. Your offers will be either PPC short for Paid-per-click advertising or SEO (Search Engine Optimization), almost everyone I speak with favors the latter. Simply because it is free and they came up with clueless justification “No one really clicks on ads anymore” and alleged that clicks almost came from non-prospect. Well, they must have a second thought after looking at this chart:
However, it is another story at another time. My interest for this post lie on “Is free traffic from Google really FREE?” It comes at a price, not the money the SEO agency charges you, but the true costs of SEO that your SEO in-house geeks dedicated to ensuring you always won on a losing battle.
Back in 2012, when I started off my career as a travel blogger for Citypassguide, I was encouraged by Charly, my mentor who lately became Regional Product Manager at Lazada, to create content that is unique and intriguing to read or at least maximise the exposure of its brand on Google.
The advice was to stuff my content with keywords of choice and triplicate them on meta tags, titles and assure at least one in header tags. It worked extremely well; I didn’t bother to reach out to ubiquitous link farms thanks to the sake of Google’s algorithm. Like others, the website enjoyed the fruitfulness of free traffic which increase 100x within three months. But Google days don’t last. We saw a plummet of traffic overnight after the new algorithm backfired our initiatives.
Tip#1: Dealing with SEO, you are likely dealing with life crisis. Because life isn’t always outside forces controlling you. You can get back in control of your life. So does SEO.
My personal advice is to learn all tricks from black to white and pick the grey areas where most likely you can quickly respond to the algorithm. Remember, you’re are not alone in the SEO world. Therefore, at some point, you might be better off during the recession, and if you quickly engage to the updates, you can harshly strike your competitors and literally “in their faces!”.
You may wonder how much traffic that we lost. The answer may take the winds out of your sails. We lost nothing from the optimised content that we created, traffic was consistent, and rank even climbed up due to the fallen spammy contents. Don’t get me wrong, traffic across the board reduced because mentioned tactics were only applied for static pages. I played the safe card when filling the titles and meta tags as you can see from the screenshot.
Tip#2: Experiment whatever you learn from the SEO world is the key to success but test it wisely by following the Pareto Principle. Apply 20% at first then scale up when the result is solid over a period.
Put yourself in customer’s shoes is the must to create engaging content. It is like a sale pitch, and you’ll have only one chance to trigger their needs and wants for respected products or services you provide. Google becomes more clever every single day because it learns everyone single micro-moments but we don’t. It doesn’t mean we cannot manipulate the search engine. Again, don’t get me wrong! Manipulation is applicable in the sense of how much efforts you put into learning and analysing customers’ insight so that your piece of content becomes the answer to their inquiries.
It’s no secret that Google encourages you, yes you, create high-quality content in Google guidelines. But how to create wonderful juicing recipes for content seekers? It’ll take me another day to write up my stories but for now, please get your head around this “5 ways to create content that Google wants to rank”. Send me inquiries if you need clarification.
Whether you are struggling with content creation due to lack of time, not your competency or you just can’t, a solution is to reach out to bloggers and or content provider services catering your niche market, who can leave no stone unturned until your site gets traffic. But if you feel like you can create content on your own, please get it out of your system. The sooner you do, the bigger chance to rank yourself amongst the giants.
Tip#3: Just like humans, Google like contents that are structuralized with specific points you’ll present. so the syntax “ Top # …. “ will be preferred. But imagine when everyone applies the same tactics, You know that time to change. 🙂
Last part, I would like to credit Ted Chong for introducing the SEO paradigm for 2016. You can read the entire story at TechinAsia.
1) SEO is no longer a science but an art as well. It used to be more about tinkering with codes such as robot.txt, meta tags and anchor text, etc. Automated link submission software were prevalent. With the rise of Facebook and social media, Google has another weapon in its arsenal to gauge users’ preference. Marketers swear by the impact of social signals on SEO. Geeks like us have to learn how to be social as well. Things like building relationships with influencers on social media and producing content that flames peoples’ motivation to share are all part of the learning curve.
2) SEO shouldn’t be thought of as a silo anymore. Its results are closely intertwined with that of several other facets of your business. Brand searches, site architecture, social media signals, usability of the website and content production will all have an impact on Google’s opinion of you. There is an article in Searchengineland by the title of “Your job as an SEO isn’t actually SEO.” The takeaway for startup founders is that you either do SEO in-house, or use a provider who understands your business (and not just “build links”).
3) Do not target keywords, target user intent. Create content that solves users’ problems, because if you please users, you please Google. A more concrete way to put it would be to conduct longtail SEO. Longtail keywords are phrases longer than 3 words and generally in the form of questions. They are getting more common, especially with the proliferation of Google Now and Siri. This graph shows that 70 percent of search traffic is longtail!