At this point, every business owner who has a website knows organic search engine traffic is important for success. Understanding how to optimize a site for search engines is a different matter, and many turn to SEO specialists to position their sites as high as possible on Google, Bing and Yahoo results pages. The boom in e-commerce and mobile connectivity has made SEO more meaningful than ever and created a boom in the industry, but as with any rapid-growth sector, not everyone in the SEO business is equally qualified. These phrases are warning signs for SEO content developers who may not give you the best deal.
“We guarantee #1 rankings on Google.”
A blanket guarantee of the most coveted spot on the search engine that accounts for more than 80 percent of searches is the very definition of over-promising. For one thing, it’s vague; taking the top spot for “yoga” is very different from achieving that ranking with “hot yoga class in Long Island.” If you’re first to market with a service and localize your content, you may well land the top spot for your chosen keywords, but a general guarantee of high placement is one no SEO company can deliver every time. Moreover, because Google changes its ranking algorithms hundreds of times a year, even a page that hits number one now could slide into second or third place next week.
Instead, look for SEO content providers who promise specifics: “We guarantee page-one ranking” and “we optimize your site for local traffic” are reasonable statements that a quality SEO content creator can back up with real results.
You may have heard the joke about the dog who chases cars: “Sure, he goes after them, but he wouldn’t know how to drive if he caught one.” In marketing, your efforts are often aimed at increasing your reach, expanding into new markets and generating new leads, but acquisition is only part of the story. Your content strategy must also address customer retention. Once you’ve upgraded your SEO to draw more traffic, what’s your customer retention plan?
Content marketing should be featured prominently in your retention strategy because it’s one of the biggest things that keep people coming back. Great content is sticky; people return to it often as a reference, a source of inspiration or a link worth sharing. Once they know they can rely on you to give them usable information, entertain them or inspire them, your visitors will come back. Break that trust with low-value content, and you may have done lasting harm to that relationship.
These tips aren’t tricks. They aren’t short-cuts, and they won’t work instantly – but they will work and increase your customer retention dramatically.
Fresh, timely content signals authority and relevance to search engines, and it’s absolutely essential to your SEO. On the other hand, articles that aren’t time-sensitive slowly accrue greater authority and value. Somewhere between up-to-the-minute news and timeless articles are seasonal pieces that bring in new traffic cyclically. Where should your content strategy focus to get the most SEO value and garner the greatest interest from readers? The best plans incorporate a little of everything. One of the best models for growing your best blog could be right outside your front door: your garden.
The Evergreens: Content That’s Meant to Last
Content creators refer to articles and blog posts that aren’t time-sensitive as evergreen pieces because the content’s utility never fades. These articles support long-term growth, and over time, you can use them to build up a significant content library that can then become an e-book, a research library and a signal of authority to search engines. Evergreen pieces need no further pruning once you’ve published them, and they can enhance your site for years.
While evergreen content is valuable, it also generates traffic slowly. It isn’t trendy or eye-catching enough to leap to the top of search engine results pages as news, and it isn’t subject to seasonal searches. Most blogs benefit from a certain amount of evergreen content, but the specific ratio of evergreen to time-sensitive content you publish depends on your business and clientele. Fashion blogs, for example, tend to follow trends as they happen while law, healthcare and B2B industry blogs lean more heavily on evergreen copy.
When Google releases a major update, it’s big news for content creators and SEO specialists. The search engine giant’s latest release may not be as large as some, but it’s still big enough to affect site rankings noticeably. Although Google hasn’t named the algorithm update as it typically does for major changes such as Penguin and Panda, the Search Engine Land blog has given the new update its own animal-themed name: Google Pigeon.
Google Pigeon’s name is a nod to the localized nature of the update. As homing pigeons can unerringly find their way to a given destination, Pigeon gives users a more fully localized experience. Unlike Google’s biggest and most famous – or for black-hat organizations, infamous – Panda and Penguin updates, Pigeon isn’t here to penalize low-value sites. It rewards local listings and ties rankings more closely to traditional search signals, including domain authority, quality backlinks and rich site content.
To make the most of Pigeon’s power to boost localized content, your site should reflect where you are as well as who you are. Potential customers don’t care about the best Indian restaurant in Ypsilanti if they’re in Yonkers, but they’re eager to know more about businesses in their area. By serving up more local content, Google hopes to offer its users greater relevance.