I read a post on Google Plus that reported an experiment testing SEO principles and the idea that content is king. The report on the experimental post lead me to the experimental post. Because the conclusions are based on real (although anecdotal) data, I think its worthwhile to put the two together here for present – and future – rumination. If you find this insightful, make sure you check out the author’s blog (which may not be talking SEO or other tools at the time – his content is what he’s really excited about.)
Content Targeting; The Results
For example, I have an advertising, web design and local SEO business so the general category I picked for my content was “online business”. That term can have many applications beyond my actual areas of interest so it should reach a larger pool of viewers than the topic of “online advertising” or “SEO”. Plus it can reach people who may be interested in my specific services who were not specifically searching for them at the moment. I followed good on site SEO practices by including my topic and my target geographic area in the URL and title of the blog as well as in the content. Because I add new content regularly the search engine had my new blog post indexed and available within 3 hours of being posted. In this image you see the result. I have the number 3 position in Google search in my intended geographic area. Additional benefits are that I included my type of business in the search result by using the post category tag “advertising” which is incorporated into the URL displayed in search results. I used the search description to try to arouse enough curiosity in the searcher to make them come to my site to learn more (story description meta tag). I also followed good content management practices by distributing the story automatically to 35 RSS feeds and directories, my social networks, news bookmarking sites. In addition I ran a copy of the story separately in a somewhat closed group that is not indexed by Google but has a very large reader base that is by default interested in subjects that are related to what I do. This created backlinks to the story and my site. In addition, whenever anyone shares the story via my website or social networks more good backlinks are created (varies by social network). There will be more on that last topic in a future post. Finally I took advantage of the Knowledge Graph search model. I incorporated Rich Snippets into the story. I described the image I created in the story properly and as a result, if you repeat the search and click on the images category in the results you will see my image from the story is the number one result in Google search for the topic in one day after being posted. If I had wanted to I could have taken it yet one step further and created a Youtube video as a companion to the story. That would have given me a top position in video search results. I could have also released the story as a news item via a press release service that I know is picked up by Google News and so would have had a good position in the news results tab in search. I also believe that the story is quality content. By this I mean that it actually imparts useful information to the reader. At the same time it advances the concept that making use of my services might be a benefit for the reader if they have a business online. This is how to do content distribution properly. That includes every piece of content that you put on the web as a business. In this case I did a broad based piece that would utilize the benefits of organic search as much as possible. As I said, I could have taken it a bit further but for the purposes of illustration I think what I did was sufficient. I have good on-site SEO done on my website and on every piece of content I publish which is the foundation of content management. I distributed the content automatically, I utilized the Knowledge Graph search model to my benefit. I did not publish multiple spammy or spun versions of the story. I did not keyword load the story. I did a good piece of content and followed “best practices” throughout. The result is that I have the number 3 position on Google search for exactly the topic and geographic location that I wanted. You too can do exactly the same thing if you do as I suggest. Yes, it is a much bigger job than just writing a blog post or posting a photo but the rewards for doing it right are much larger as well.
Online Business, On-site Considerations
- Traffic Rank – Are the search engines even aware of the site and if so how much traffic is the site getting in comparison to competing sites in the businesses’ desired market?
- Back Links – Based on the amount of time that a site has existed, how many other, quality sites link back to the site?
- Page Rank – If I do a search for the product or service promoted on the site in the obvious market area for the site does the site show up? If so, where is it in comparison to competitor’s sites?
- Speed – the faster your pages load the better you look to a search engine. The home page of my own site has load times as low as 471 milliseconds. I looked at one the other day that took 15 seconds to load. If my site was competing with that one (all other things being equal) I would be on page one and it would be, well, out of business.
- On site – There is a host of things pertaining to how a site is constructed that have a bearing on how it is ranked by the search engines. These too have to be taken into consideration and are often not done or not done properly. Here is a partial list; metadata pertaining to page title, description and keywords. Images compressed and described, HTML to text ratio, local directories, linked social networks, mobile/tablet rendering, mobile load time, site code, internal links, external links, keyword consistency, flash, frames, number of css and java files, headings, robts txt, xml site file, www resolve, site cache, site backup, site security, rich snippets and more.
Every site should have all of the above aspects optimized. Whether you want to reach the world or just your own town, site optimization is a must. In addition, because “best practices” tend to evolve over time you need to be aware of changes and make adjustments accordingly. I know that seems like a lot (and it is) but there is no shortcut. You either do it right or accept the fact that you just won’t do as well as you could on the web. The second major area that every business can benefit from is the ongoing creation of Content. The search engines look for the best content to show whenever someone makes a query. That content should also be created in accordance with the same best practices that I referenced earlier in this article. This is true no matter what kind of content it is; written, photo, image, video. By creating content on a regular basis you keep your site fresh and the search engine will index your site more frequently as a result. In addition you will give existing and prospective customers more details on your products and services. By doing this regularly you become an expert source of information on your topic to your readers. These rules apply whether you are a large national company or a local pet shop. It is true that there are some differences in ways that you can focus more attention to local search as opposed to a general search but that is another topic. The point here is that maintaining a web presence for an online business is a complex process and many (if not most) business websites have not kept up with changes in best practices. As a result their owners are not even aware that they should be doing better than they are online. If you would like me to do an analysis on your website please email or call to set up a time to talk about your site and your goals in having it. If you are on Google+ I would be happy to review your site with you on video via Google Helpouts.