Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Give Google What She Wants!
We look at SEO a little differently than those folks who keep emailing you guaranteeing to get you to the front page of Google.A Ferrari is a nice car but without the engine it’s quite useless. This is how I feel about most search engine optimization strategies, they’re like a Ferrari with no engine. They look good to the casual consumer but the skeptic will always check to see what’s under the proverbial “hood” before buying. You can’t lie to people.
At Strategy Lab we may not look as beautiful as a Ferrari but the engine behind what we do will get you long lasting results that will help grow your brand.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
At the centre of search engine optimization has always been provide the user the best search engine result possible. If Google didn’t try to do this they wouldn’t still be in business. How they determine the best search engine result is the key. We break it down into 3 basic steps. Be findable, be trustable, be remarkable.
1. Be Findable
If Google can’t crawl your website with ease you aren’t going to come up for anything. Secondly, if you haven’t written or created any content around the search terms you want to come up for, you guessed it, you aren’t going to show up (IE: If you’re a roofing company and you don’t publish new content regularly, don’t expect to come up for searches about roofing!). The number one way to increase traffic to your website (that has worked on over a dozen case studies) is to increase your domain authority (DA). Read more about what domain authority is here. Basically it’s a measurement of the odds you have of your website coming up in Google. The higher the DA the better.
To increase domain authority we do three things: optimize, acquire links, create content.
Optimize your pages. We use a company called Moz to measure our online campaigns. Within Moz they have a 37 point test for any page if you’re trying to optimize it for a specific keyword term. The better optimized your pages are, the better chance you have at climbing the Google ranks.
How do you measure on-page optimization?
In Moz, any page on your website can be measured for optimization based on their scale of 0-100 (yes just like school). Moz uses 37 different data points to measure how well your website is optimized.
To increase domain authority we do three things: optimize pages, acquire links, create content.
Acquire links to your website. This tactic used to be gold but in recent years has been the ugly step child of SEO’s. While acquiring low quality links is relatively useless, high quality links still makes a big different to domain authority. There is nothing that improves organic search traffic over the longterm better than link acquisition. Ignore the advice at your own peril.
How do you measure the inbound links to your website?
Simple, a tool like open site explorer will tell you. If you know your links, you can track them for the near future. Not only should you know your own linking websites, you should look up your competitors too. Moz has a neat little option in the paid tool to compare your website against three of your main competitors. This way you can benchmark against your best competition, you’ll know what they rank good for as well as what they under-perform at (developing opportunities to steal search traffic).
Links correlate with domain authority and the higher domain authority the more organic search traffic your website will get from Google.
More links = higher domain authority = more traffic
Create amazing content. If you really want to take your SEO efforts to the next level you’re going to need to start telling amazing stories or sharing some brilliant content. If you have the best page for a given topic, in time you will be on the front page of Google. We can help you get there.
How do you measure how “good” your content is?
How much traffic do your efforts bring in? Does your blog get read and shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.? What are your most popular pages? Why are they your most popular pages? What if you put your sale message or best offer on your most popular page?
Google analytics will tell you your most popular pages based on traffic but Moz can tell you your most popular pages based on page authority.
Coming up on the front page of Google isn‘t going to help your organization if people don’t trust you.
2. Be Trustable
When a visitor arrives at your website, what reason do they have to trust you? What reason do you give to get people to want to email or call you for more information or a quote? What projects are you part of that would help people build trust? What are you doing in the community that would make people trust who you are? Do you have social media profiles that could show trustworthiness?
Provide Social Proof. Show the people or organizations that have purchased or done business with you in the past. Give examples of what people purchase and their feedback after they’ve purchased it.
Show the organizations logo’s that you work with regularly. Ask for reviews! Reviews online are powerful and you never know when someone is going to leave you a bad one. Best to ask your favourite customers if they wouldn’t mind helping you get a better review score. Most people (if they actually like your business) will help you out when you ask.
The ultimate is the next step, get testimonials.
Nothing builds trust more than testimonials. Start asking all your customers for feedback, ask the people who love what you do to give you a testimonial. In the future everything we buy will have a 5 star rating that goes along with it that customers in the past have rated.
Put faces of your people on your about us page. Nothing is worse that a company calling themselves a “fun, friendly” workplace and yet they don’t want to put their employees and themselves on their about us page. It’s 2019 people, we’re going to find out who you are and who works for you eventually. Make it easy on us. When you don’t put your people on your about us page it seems like you’re hiding something even if you’re not.
When you put a face on a website (hopefully a smiling face) it humanizes it a bit more. And EVERY organization is going to need to humanize themselves more in the future. It’s the best way to build trust.
Showing your people (or dog) on your “About Us” page is an easy way to build trust with potential customers
Once you’re findable and trustable the final step is to do things worth talking about. Your “Caring” strategy.
Or “being remarkable”
3. Be Remarkable
If you’re a non-profit you should already be doing things that are remarkable, tell that story on your website. If you are a for profit company, eventually you’re going to need to make the world better in some capacity, define what that is, better yet, let your employees define what’s important to them and create a movement around it. How are you going to attract the best team in the world if you aren’t working on something bigger than any one individual at your company?
What would someone share from your website? When people go to your website, do you give them something to print off, save, download or bookmark? If you don’t create anything worth sharing, why do you think people will spread your word? And no it isn’t just creating one or two amazing blog posts, its about creating lots of posts and some become very popular (usually the ones you’d never suspect). Creating “evergreen” content or content that doesn’t get old quickly is a great start to your content strategy.
How do you standout in your market? Why do customers always remember you? Why are you always top of mind? What do you deliberately do that makes you standout amongst your competition? In the next 10-20 years, starting a business will become increasingly easier, creating much more competition in most markets. How will you standout? How will the user experience on your website standout? How will you make information easier to access on your website?
“Determine what your competitors aren’t willing to do and do just that.” -John Morgan, Brand Against The Machine
Why would your audience talk about something your did? Are you giving them enough reasons to talk about you? Do you even know what customers say about you? Remember, the opposite of remarkable is “very good”. Most businesses are “very good”. It’s not hard to build a product or offer a service that is very good. But very good doesn’t get talked about. Very good isn’t what people bring up at cocktail parties and around the water cooler.
We only talk about the remarkable. The different, the sexy, the cool, the wild, the amazing, the awesome, the thought-provoking. Anything that isn’t normal or close to being so. You have a vested interest in doing things on your website that no one else can do. Tell your story, let your customers fall in love with your brand.
BONUS: How Do You Measure Your SEO Strategy?
How do you measure what you’re doing?
This is what sets us apart from most. We measure everything. With Google Analytics you can measure a lot, the report below is percentage click through rate on the Strategy Lab homepage, this report is free and if you have Google Analytics hooked up you can see what your website looks like.
Google Analytics is good but it’s more of a lag measure. It tells you the outcome of what’s happened, no necessarily what you need to change in the future. That’s why we use Moz, they’re one of the best Online Marketing companies we’ve ever come across, they’re great.
Using Google Analytics and Moz is alright but it still doesn’t guarantee success, you have to set a simple goal. What page on your website is more important than any other page? What page do people go to before the perform the number one actions you want them to?
Below are examples of the Google Analytics Reports we use. The first one if the Traffic report. It shows where the traffic to your website is coming from.
Google Analytics Traffic Sources Report
Google Analytics Top Pages Report
We use this report to understand where people are going on the website, how long they’re staying on each page, and the traffic source they came from to land on that page.
For most website, the most valuable page is the “Contact Us” page. Think about it, the second someone goes to your contact us page they’re ready(or almost ready) to buy. You’ve almost converted them, your job now is to finish the sale (which you will of course). What we do is increase the amount of people to your Contact Us page.
Whatever your number one page to get people to view is, we measure it and increase traffic to that specific page. We monitor our efforts in a dashboard similar to the one below.
Have some questions about Search Engine Optimization or online strategy? Don’t be a stranger, call, write, fax (ok don’t fax), let’s grab a coffee or frozen yogurt and talk about it!