I was talking with a prospective customer today about SEO, website content and Google. I’ve had the conversation multiple times and I often run into the same questions (and the same misconceptions) about search and a company’s ability to rank on page 1 of the search engines. The discussion finally triggered me to write this post. With that brief introduction, here’s the post…
I think there’s one big misconception out there about Google and it goes as follows:
“Google has so much content to work with that it’s impossible for normal businesses to rank for anything.”
There are millions of ultra “long tail” searches
What people don’t really understand is that there are millions of searches each day and that a large portion of them are very unique, ultra “long tail” searches. These searches are for very, very specific things that many of the big sites either don’t cover or that they’re not well-optimized for. For example:
- “fix Mercedes San Mateo”
- “big data startup venture capital”
- “ayurvedic yoga class san francisco”
- “best seafood restaurant las vegas”
- “wine industry job site”
- “maserati forum”
- “restaurant marketing conference 2013”
Some searches are hard for Google to find good results for…
So the reality is that for Google to find good search results, it sometimes has to look pretty hard. In these cases, it must dig deep within sites to find the right combination of keywords that actually qualify a site to rank for the given search. For example, one of my clients started ranking for, and getting significant traffic from, words in the caption of a picture on their site.
It’s in Google’s best interest to pick the sites that really deserve to rank for these long tail searches or that have at least tried to communicate (specifically in writing) that they’re a good match. They want Google searches to find accurate results.
Also, remember that there are 10 or more results (depending on layout of the page, whether there are local results, etc.) so there are multiple spots for which you can rank.
So the point is that Page 1 is achievable if your website describes your business specifically – especially for any unique aspects (including your specific location or service area).
So here’s the one essential mind shift you need to grasp and implement on your website and blog:
“You need to (in writing) specifically mention the unique and specific items on your website that differentiate your site from other websites and that accurately, and precisely describe your company.”
via Right Mix Marketing
Now, there are some specific areas on your site where you can place your target keyword phrases that will send stronger signals to Google. But for this exercise, even including them within your site’s titles, headers and content is a huge step forward.
Three Areas To Differentiating Your site Online
Here are three areas to help you think about specific keywords to include on your site. If these three sets of phrases are not included in your site, you’re definitely missing out on an opportunity for Google and the other search engines (and your potential customers) to find you:
1) Your Target Markets.
Are you selling to hospitals, universities, restaurants, tech startups or other organizations?
Are your ideal clients coaches, architects, lawyers, accountants, salespeople, teachers or other clearly defined roles?
Pick the main types of organizations that you deliver products or services to and make sure to include these on your site (and with individual, targeted pages if possible). Or, pick the types of clients that you work with and describe them on your site!
2) The Geography You Serve.
This is a prioritization process. If you can technically sell anywhere in the world, ask yourself a different set of questions. Where do I find the best clients? Where do I make the most profits? Where do I want to sell more?
If you’re a very local business, then draw a circle around your business for a realistic service area. Make sure the major cities, towns and areas (the most important few) are highlighted on your site.
3) Your Specific Products or Services.
If you sell lighting, that’s not enough. Is it industrial lighting, consumer lighting or event lighting? Do you carry special technologies or types of lighting? Again, you can prioritize – which products are most profitable or do you want to sell the most of? Also, does your lighting especially appeal to one of your target markets? E.g. designer lighting for modern homes.
Has your mind made the shift?
If you’re hoping to rank nationally in Google for keywords like “consumer electronics”, “airline tickets”, “business coaching” or “credit cards”, good luck. But, if you’re trying to rank for “San Jose car stereos for Ferrari’s”, “Palo Alto South America travel agent”, “San Francisco PMP Project Management Professional” or “San Mateo credit card debt resolution services”, you’ll have a much better chance. Make sure you apply this same targeted logic to the content for your Yelp, Google Places or online directory listings (or Adwords if you’re going that route).
And by the way, you don’t have to just rank for one main phrase. Each page of your site gives you the opportunity to rank for one or more (hopefully similar or related) search phrases using the concepts above.
Let me know your thoughts or questions in the comments!