Written by Michael Carr, Marketing Manager on January 22, 2015
Worse than no advice is bad advice. This is precisely the problem that small business owners are facing when it comes to Internet marketing. Never fear though, Netmark is here to lead the honest seeker out of the woods and into Internet marketing success. If I sat down with a close friend who was trying to make a valiant effort with e-commerce, this is exactly how I would explain it to him.
I’m going to approach these two goals separately because, while it may seem as though they are the same thing, the truth is they are very much independent of one another. Sure, they are indirectly connected. Success in one will absolutely help the other. But at the end of the day, they should be understood separately for what they are. The area of focus will be on the content of your site and how that can and will accomplish both getting more traffic and moving up in Google.
Getting More Traffic
It’s frustrating to look at your blog and not understand why you aren’t getting more traffic. Hopefully you have put the time and effort into making each post something good. So why is no one coming? After all, if you build it, they will come, right? Okay, maybe that only applies to magic baseball fields. So what’s missing then? What aren’t you doing? Usually it’s the small things that escape us, and it’s usually those small things that really make the biggest impact.
The 50/50 rule of Content and Promotion
If you spend 4 hours putting together a solid piece of content for your site, then you should be spending an equal 4 hours on promoting that piece of content. Sounds crazy, right? But think about how much content is produced on a daily basis for the same topic as your piece. Now think about how much time your target demographic will spend actually looking at that body of content. Forget search results for a minute, because you and I both know that is not the only way someone finds content.
How do they view this content if not on Google? Well, for starters, sometimes we have something recommended to us. Social media is a prime example of this. Each time you +1 or like or share someone else’s content, you are endorsing and recommending it to those within your circle of influence. We all do this on a daily basis. The real magic happens when you can entice others to want to recommend your content. It does not however, happen magically. You have to work at making it possible; begin by establishing your credibility with those within your influence. Then start to expand the size of your circle that you influence. For this to work though you have to make sure the actual content is good enough to merit the stamp of approval from your audience. When this begins to happen, more and more people will see your content. This section could take up an entire article. Thats why we had one of our in-house social media experts do just that so if you need a more in-depth look at social engagement and SMM then click here.
Gear the content to real people
Following the same rule as we already mentioned of “forgetting about Google”, you should create content that is completely geared towards a real person. What I mean by this is that when you decide the title tag, it should explicitly answer the person’s question that made a search in the first place. You have to be able to put yourself in their position and understand how they are thinking.
I want to point out that this doesn’t mean you can’t be creative and have fun with your title, because you should, but think about if you were the one searching. You’d want that title to connect perfectly with that search. This will require you to know what is being searched in order to complete this process properly.
The next step is to carry this into the sub headings of the content. Ideally, your readers should be able to skim the content and get the important points out of it. Sometimes this is how people will decide to read the entire piece of content. It needs to become abundantly clear that there is value here for them and it’s worth investing the necessary time to read it.
The meta description follows this same line of thought. It is the second piece of your content that every organic visitor will have read, after the title. This is your mini hook that has to tell the person doing the keyword search that they have found the right content. It should give them confidence that they are finding the right answer or resource. It should hold the keyword or terms that you hope to be found for as well. This will make it bold and stick out to the right people who actually searched what you had hoped they would.
The final point to be made about directing your content towards real people is that the content should offer unique value. Over at MOZ, Rand Fishkin has done a great job of outlining what that means, and you can access it here. For myself, when creating content that I hope will drive more traffic to a website, I ask myself some important questions: Is this unique enough that the same points haven’t been already made by various other sources my reader could find? Have I approached this in a different way that will shed new light on it? Will my reader leave having been truly educated by what was offered?
If two of those three questions come back with a strong “yes”, then I feel it has accomplished its purpose and is unique and valuable.
Moving up in Google
For the first section, I began by telling you to throw out Google and not worry about them. If you approach gaining traffic by gaming the system and catering to the search engine rather the people you aim to influence, you will surely fail and miss the mark completely. So why talk about how to move up in Google? Because now that you understand some of the things that will get the right people to your site, you can now understand how these things will influence your ranking in Google. And once they are mastered, you will begin to see your site move up in Google.
Social signals, especially in G+, have a significant impact on search engines for which results outrank other results. That is your first victory. Next comes your title tag. If it is on point and contains the keywords or terms of the search, it can improve the ranking. This concept always, always comes secondary to fulfilling the searchers needs though. Never forget that.
Now we turn our focus on content quality. If the quality is good, people won’t bounce from your page right back to the search results and find a different search option. This lower bounce rate or higher click-through rate improves your credibility with Google and thereby helps your rankings. If people don’t bounce back, this result must be really accurate for what people are searching for. That’s a huge win for you!
In the end, the greatest importance rests on making your website optimized for the users that mean the most to you as a company and fulfill your business goals. The natural result of that is more traffic, better quality traffic, and upward momentum in Google search results. But if you do everything right, you can let that part take care of itself.