What does Google want?
There are a lot of consumers and businesses searching the web every day looking for products and services. Recent studies show that Google accounts for around 76% of these searches … meaning Google rocks. You may have an easier time getting a high ranking with Yahoo, or Bing … but why would you want to when they are fighting for the 24% that Google is leaving behind? Go after a high ranking on Google … period.
Google wants the truth. This is a fleeting concept in a lot of today’s businesses, especially with the mega-corporation that Google has become … but Google was founded on one simple premise – give the person looking for information the truth. To this point, Google has done just that. Google claims they are not “in bed” with anyone, and this means that when you search for lamp shades in Minneapolis, MN, Google will give you what they consider to be the best result for your search – and not just the name of a company who has given them a lot of money so that Google will point you in their direction.
Google calls it “truth” relevancy, and what Google is going to look for on your website is relevancy. If you claim to be a business that does a particular thing, Google will send The Google-bot to your site and examine your site for relevancy.
Google has determined a very specific formula for determining this relevancy. The formula is actually an algorithm that uses the information that the Google-bot collects from your site to determine how relevant you are compared to what you say you are, and compared to what others say you are (we will discuss this in a little bit when we talk about “Linking”). Obviously, with the volume of searches combined with Google’s 76% share of this volume and the billions and billions of dollars that change hands each day on the Internet … the Google Algorithm is priceless. The Google Algorithm might possibly be the most secure piece of computer code on the planet. So … if you run into a company or person who claims to know “The Algorithm” – simply tell them that they don’t and walk away.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is simply giving Google what they want
Google wants to give the highest ranking to the most relevant websites that match the search word or phrase typed in the search bar. Google’s reputation and future depends upon the relevancy of these searches! Of course, that’s exactly what the searcher wants as well.
So if you give Google what they want, which is relevant content, then it’s a win-win-win situation. Google gets what they want, the searchers get what they want, and you get what you want – a high ranking and exposure to more potential customers!
What Google and your prospects don’t want…
Google doesn’t want a website stuffed with keywords or other ploys that are used to try and trick the Google-bot and the Algorithm into ranking your site artificially high. And your prospects don’t want this trickery either. They don’t want a site filled with fluff and generalities that attempt to sell them on why you’re such a great company. It’s pretty simple … create relevant educational content that teaches your prospects about buying what you sell. If you do that you will make Google happy, but more importantly you’ll make your prospects happy–which of course is the ultimate goal!
Google’s new and exciting “Local Search”
If you have been a Google user for some time you may have recently noticed that it is now possible for you to get very accurate searches when you add the state, city, zip code or even the address to your search. If you type “shoes” into the Google search bar, you will get listings of shoe stores, shops and online vendors from all over the world … but when you type in “shoes Minneapolis Hennepin” your top results will give you shoe shops on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis. In fact, sometimes Google will know where you are searching from (because of your IP address) and will give you results that are close to your location without you even specifying it.
From your perspective, you need to know one important thing. Google’s local search is actually a separate database and because of that you need to register on Google’s Local Search database. If you register for Local Search with Google, you are much more likely to be listed when prospects search for your products and/or services locally. It’s free and easy to do.
When it comes to your site, you will hear a lot about keywords … and for good reason. When you build your website, one of the things that you can do is to identify the keywords right within your code. All of the search engines use these keywords as part of their analysis of your site. If your keywords are “friendly, customer oriented, bank”, then the search engines are going to examine your text to see if you really focus on these keywords within the content published on your site. If the content from your site focuses instead on “free checking and amazing rates on 6-month CDs”, then the search engines are going to see a disconnect – and you will probably not be ranked very high.
The 5 Most Common Questions Regarding Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- 1. Can SEO actually get me a #1 ranking on Google… or at least in the top 10?
- The answer to that question is ”probably” – it depends on your industry and keywords, but you need to understand it doesn’t mean that you need to use tricks or unethical tactics like keyword stuffing or link farms to obtain number one rankings. All you need to do is to create relevant content that your prospects are search for, and then put it in the hands of a SEO professional who has experience in achieving top rankings with Google.
- 2. How will I know if Search Engine Optimization is working or not?
- Here’s a list of questions and action you should take when interviewing prospective web companies:
- Ask if their service includes a real human consultant. It may sound obvious, but make sure the company you choose assigns one true SEO expert to your company. You would be surprised to learn that most SEO packages are simply automated search engine submissions.
- Ask what reports you can expect to see from the web company. Once your site goes live the web company should be gathering many different statistics from your site. You should get a report that outlines the progress in ranking, the number of daily hits, where prospects are going when on your site, how much time they are spending on your site and much more.
- Based on these stats, your consultant should assist you to modify your website to move you toward goals that you have defined relating to the success of the site. It is important to remember though that a high Google ranking does not pay the bills. If you used to be ranked #780 and this resulted in 10 people per day viewing your site which resulted in one new customer a month … that is one thing. If you modify your site and your ranking moves up to #4 and this results in 1500 people hitting your site every day which results in one new customer in a month you have basically just done the same thing in a different flavor.
- Ranking is certainly one thing to watch and track, but getting people to your site, keeping them there long enough to learn something, then getting them to take action so that you can try to make them a customer – this is the true goal that businesses are looking to accomplish.
- 3. Should I spend money on organic searches, pay-per-click, or both?
- Organic or natural searches account for over 70% of all internet searches. Why? Because many Internet visitors trust web sites that they find doing a natural search more than they do clicking on sites that come up at the top of pages just because they “paid” to get there. But you may have noticed some recent changes in the way that these results are displayed. The paid ads used to be very prominent at the top of each Google search page, but are more subtle now. Google is still a business and they want their customers who choose to use pay-per-click advertising to prosper. There is still a distinction between the natural organic search results and the pay-per-click results, but it is not nearly as distinct as it was a year ago.
- Additionally, well written, specific pay-per-click (PPC) ads can be very effective also. A well written ad that is specifically written towards a targeted audience will attract quality prospects to the site and will tend to steer casual surfers away from the site. Because the prospects are of a higher quality, they are more likely to take action while on your site. Additionally, a well designed PPC campaign can be implemented very quickly and can drive prospects to your site immediately – rather than waiting for your site to rise up through the natural, organic search rankings.
- If you want to see results from your website immediately, then you will want your web company to design a specific and well written PPC campaign to coincide with the release of your new site. This will get immediate, qualified traffic to your site while the optimization works to get the site a higher organic ranking.
- 4. How long will it take to get in the top 10 on Google?
- The answer to that question depends on the age of the website, size, complexity, keywords, size and competitiveness of the industry, and if the company is local or national. But with all that being said, you should expect significant progress within 60 days. But understand the search engine optimization is not a short-term marketing fix - it should be one of, if not the most important part of your marketing campaign. Consider it like a long distance run versus a sprint.
- You and your web marketing company should be able to see the progress through regular reporting. If your site’s ranking is not climbing, then further modifications should be made and content might need to be re-written.
- 5. How much does it cost to get a top ranking on Google?
- Usually the most important number that companies look at regarding their marketing dollars is, “lead cost.” What is your average lead cost for Yellow Pages, direct marketing, newspaper, magazine, TV or other marketing you are involved in?
- The cost to achieve high rankings on Google is determined by the size of the industry, the competition, the size of the web site and whether you’re a national, regional or local company. The largest upfront cost you could incur is the rebuilding of your site. The truth is 90% of all current web sites were built over 3-5 years ago, which can be a huge problem when attempting to obtain a high ranking. It’s like building a new race car with a 5-year old engine – not a good idea! The average cost for rebuilding a well written and SEO friendly website is between $3,000-$8,000, and is partially determined by the total number of pages that need to be created.