Everything You Think You Know About SEO Is Wrong

I’m Kenneth Vogt, Commercial Director of Bitesize Bio and founder of Vera Claritas Inc. I play the role of Richard Roeper, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert all rolled into one, reviewing and highlighting the webinars and video presentations found at the Life Science Marketing Society.

Today I’m commenting on the presentation entitled:

Why You Need to Rethink Your Search Marketing Strategy

It is described this way:

Organic Search is an important part of any company’s digital marketing strategy. The opportunity for targeting visitors, particularly from Google, continues to grow. Ranking positions on Page One represent invaluable digital real estate.

Google is unleashing interdaily changes that are making a monumental difference in how websites are ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). What worked twelve months ago may now be the very thing that harms your online presence today. You have to be ready for each new Google algorithm change.

Failure to keep up with these changes can result in you losing valuable positioning in the SERPs. Online projects you have invested significant resources in can get stuck as a result, never getting fully off the ground. Taking advantage of these changes can help catapult your business ahead of the competition.

This webinar covers:

  • Vanity Keywords — Why focusing on ranking for keywords that make you feel warm and fuzzy may mean you are ignoring potential customers
  • Cannibalisation — Why your website may be its own worst enemy, and how to discover if it is eating itself
  • Build It And They Will Come? — Why creating great content isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of ranking on Google
  • You Can’t Get To Where You Want To Go If You Don’t Know Where You Are! — The importance of tech audits for your websites

This presentation is brought to you by Stephen McTaggart. Stephen is owner at Build Business Online Ltd., and an authority on organic search rankings, traffic generation and lead generation. Much of his time is spent testing and keeping ahead of Google’s changes, all with a view to ensuring his clients achieve, and sustain, great results.

What I learned from Stephen is that I don’t know anything about the Google algorithm; you don’t know anything about the Google algorithm; nobody at Google knows anything about the Google algorithm. The singularity has already happened and the machines have well and truly taken over.

Not ranking highly at Google is bad. If Google doesn’t recognize you, you effectively don’t exist. But chances are that is not you and not your company. So the real issue is making sure you don’t lose your ranking. It can be devastating, both financially and reputationally, and it has happened to the best of them. How will you keep up with Google when even their own engineers can’t?

Fortunately, our machine overlords are benevolent — if you approach them in a respectful way. But you must give Google what they want. And what do they want? Content that is trusted, authoritative, and relevant.

Google loves brands it can understand. So it is your job to make Google understand that your company is a true authority in your market.

So how does google vet you? They do it by asking two simple questions:

  1. Who is recommending you? To figure that out, they look at what other websites link to your website. And it is all about quality over quantity. In other words, the more trusted, authoritative and relevant the linking site, the better. It is Google inception here, folks…

    But it cuts the other way too. Links from untrustworthy, unreliable, or frivolous websites actually hurt you in the eyes of Google.

  2. What do you have to say about yourself? To figure that out, Google literally crawls all over the content — and structure — of your website.

    Google allows you, nay, encourages you to structure at least some data for the benefit of its bots. The pay off can be big.

One of the things Google presently does with that structured data is to create a Knowledge Graph. A Knowledge Graph is assembled relevant information about your company to display in one data-rich, compact place to the right of the search results. So on relevant searches, the result is you get your data displayed in a graphically attractive box, on a third of the page, above the fold, on the biggest search engine in the world. Cha-ching!

Another thing Google creates from structured data is Featured Snippets. These actually are displayed before the search results and they are click candy. An interesting facet of Featured Snippets is that the first search result with a decent snippet wins. In other words, if the top search result doesn’t offer Google such structured data, Google is on to the next one until it finds a winner. You can actually leapfrog the top results it you do the work others don’t bother to do by giving Google the data it wants.

So here are some key takeaways:

  • Regularly schedule technical audits — You have to start from where you are, and if you presently aren’t starting from a great place in Google’s eyes, find out now and fix it. Then do it again later because the algorithm updates never end.
  • Detoxify links — Find out if there are any links dragging you down and deal with them.
  • Ferret out crawl errors and spider traps — Our machine overlords are still just humble machines. If they can’t figure out how to traverse your website, fix it.
  • Deliver fast page load speed — Google cares about its user’s experience. Slow loading pages make for a bad experience, and Google is paranoid about that. They aren’t going to let your site give their site a black eye.
  • Be mobile friendly — The world has gone mobile. Google has taken notice, therefore so must you.
  • Expunge duplicate content — You can’t just be the Amen Choir online. You have to say something unique and authoritative.
  • Don’t cannibalise yourself — Wouldn’t it be great to have trusted, authoritative, relevant content that is so similar in multiple places on your site that is gets multiple front page listings? Nope. Google only wants to put one link in the top search results per site. If you think you are going to game the system with cannibalised content, Google may actually punish you by not listing even one of those similar pages in the top results. Ouch.

Stephen may not know everything about how Google works (because no one does), but he is tirelessly tracking them. And he knows more than me. And you. And probably a lot of Google employees. Watch the rest of what he has to share on the topic here:

Why You Need to Rethink Your Search Marketing Strategy

For more analysis, observation and witty repartee, be sure to check out our podcast featuring myself and Harrison Wright, plus interesting and exciting guests. Here is the specific episode examining the presentation above.

But you know you want more. Subscribe to the Life Science Marketing Society podcast here: iTunes | SoundCloud

Photo credit: JJ Merelo

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