Search engine optimisation can be very confusing. You can read through the endless articles that are on offer but you’re never left really understanding what it is. There are so many broad factors that can determine a good ranking it makes it hard to prioritise. When ever I tell people I’m in marketing (digital marketing specifically) they light up and ask why aren’t they climbing the front page? They’re doing everything from social media to directories but still not rising. It’s usually at this point, I sell them magic beans.
Not to grow a beanstalk but it is a way to get the golden egg that is a prime google ranking. I’ve dealt with many people who launch massive campaigns based of fragments of information and little understanding, which in turn use an insane amount of time for no benefit. Twice now I’ve been put onto a “300 websites campaign” once my employer heard that back links increase ranking. Those back links are completely useless if no one is clicking them. So for those websites to be useful, they would need a high ranking themselves and a high level of engagement, ie, people have to give a dam. If those back links aren’t being used, it is a waste of time. From there, google tracks the time and activity people spend on your page, so even if someone comes to one of these 300 websites, they’ll leave once they see it’s simply a cookie cut website with no real value which will decrease their rating. Before I explain more, let’s look at the beans.
Think of your website as one of these jars. The other jars are your competitors going for the same keyword (If you’re a hairdresser, that may be “hairdressers Perth”). Those beans are users and the jar with the most weight inside will hit the top spot. Simple. The longer those beans stay in your jar, the more they grow and the heavier they get. Ie the more users stay in your site and move around, the more credibility google gives your page. Look at the counter weights in the picture as a page rank metaphor if that helps. The heavier your jar, the higher your rank. That’s makes starting out so difficult. Once they’re on the front page, they’re going to get all the new beans for “Hairdressers Perth”.
Then how do I get more beans than them?
This is where Sun Tzu’s art of war comes in handy. Most of us has heard the story of the man with 3 horses. He put his worst horse in the first division race, his best horse in the second division race and his second best horse in the 3rd division race. He lost the first division race but was then guaranteed to win the 2nd and third divisions. An example of this principle in practice was when I was doing some work for a driving school. “Driving Lessons Perth” was very hotly contended and we were sitting on page 4. So we went around. We made a page for every suburb of Perth. Driving lessons Inglewood, driving lessons Daglish, driving lessons peppermint grove etc. We also had the benefit of 60 drivers on the road, we set up each ones address as a part of the business on “google places”. None of this was groundbreaking as some competitors had done the same, but we did it better. By branching out, we got beans we may have otherwise missed, and those pages that were suburb specific rose through the ranks within a month which was boosting our front page rank. Basically, get those beans where ever you can.
The golden question to ask before you do anything is, “Who cares?”. If the answer is no one, then don’t do it. Simple. A great example is our friends at Grub Hub. Each morning they send out an email with their specials for the day. Who cares? People who are starting to get a whisper hungry in that no mans land between 9 and 12. They care a lot, and sure enough the bags start rolling in come lunch time. What’s in these emails? Links to their website. More beans in Grub Hubs jar. If you’re a cafe, people want to see your food. If you’re the hairdressers, show people what awesome things you can do with hair. If you’re a brickpaver, give them tips on optimising a backyard layout with limited space. Blast this out over your social media channels (We’ll be doing a post on boosting your social media channels soon enough). If you aren’t getting that traffic then you’re not doing anything.
Different beans from different places have different values. You would have seen the chart below if you’ve ever googled SEO as it is handy when putting a plan together, or just to have next to a screen to remind you where to focus your efforts when making a new web page or making general social media posts.
If you’re using wordpress, I recommend SEO tools by Yoast just to make sure your keywords are on point. Otherwise there are plenty of “SEO check” sites to be found, most of which will give you one round for free. Some are a little outdated but still a good checklist to get a base of what to do next. Once your on page ratings are higher than your competitors, just focus on getting those beans. Just remember, who cares?
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Header image by normandapito.