SEO, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization, is so intriguing isn’t it? It’s this idea that you can outsmart an algorithm and consistently outperform a moving target.
The concept behind SEO is not much different than the concept behind trying to consistently beat the S&P. Most people (and professionals) can’t do it.
Your chances of standing out with Google don’t have much to do with SEO anymore. Short-term SEO strategies designed to game Google are becoming a thing of the past. In fact, you risk stiff penalties if you do attempt to game the system. It’s just not worth it.
If you’re slapped by Google, your site sits in the penalty box until you can get out of it, and that could be costly.
Web traffic in and of itself that is not targeted is worthless. Being found online by the right audience is about building credibility and influence through publishing great content. It’s also about connecting with and cultivating a trusted network with the right people.
Your efforts (and your resources) should be going into creating great content and building a trusted network if you want to win favor with Google today…not SEO.
7 Tips for Winning Favor with Google
#1)Don’t believe everything you read online
Get your information from reputable sources online. Reputable sources are those companies and people who are in the trenches doing the real work versus touting get rich quick and easy strategies. A digital marketing company or professional with a reputable online strategy is consistently producing high quality content that is helpful and truthful. They aren’t promising a pot of gold or a silver bullet strategy because they understand that these don’t exist.
Here are a few reputable resources that produce content you can trust for building a powerful online presence:
#2)Start blogging AND consistently produce relevant content
Just starting a blog won’t get you anywhere. You have to own it, commit to it, and infuse it full of value for your ideal customer or client. This means thinking of every possible question, problem, and concern that your existing and potential clients might have today.
To get good at this requires one simple tool; listening. Additionally, the more personalized and “1-on-1″ feel you can create when communicating with your audience through your blog, the better for building trust and becoming more likable!
#3)Implement Google+ Authorship on your site
When Google speaks, you should listen. Google has been ramping up it’s “authorship” program for quite some time. What this means for you is that if you are the authentic contributor behind the content, and you’ve let Google know this, your credibility and discoverability online will grow. (Learn more about how to integrate Google+ with your WordPress site)
#4)Share your content on Google+
The Google+ network is clearly here to stay. The network is becoming a more viable. Whether you are a fan or not, you should consider embracing Google+.
Sharing content on Google+ gives your content the opportunity to get a “+1″, which is Google’s version of a Facebook “Like”. If you are able to participate in Google+, you should be growing your network of connections there as well while sharing your content. By doing so, Google is able to gain some intelligence about you and better decide when to show your content and who to show it to in online searches.
#5)Build your network on relevant social channels
One of the tremendous advantages of social media is the ability to build a targeted and trusted network. I’m a big fan of building a network on any and every social networking channel that matters. If your ideal clients and customers are there, you should be there too cultivating relationships!
You can work on building your network in literally 5-10 minutes a day and immediately begin to expand your visibility and influence online. It’s the members of your network who will like, comment on, and share your work ultimately. This is the present and the future of getting found online and growing your business.
#6)Share your content on social media sites
If your content is awesome and helpful, why shouldn’t you share it? Why shouldn’t your network benefit from your insights?
If your content is self-serving or promotional, which unfortunately is still the case with so many bloggers, no one will share it. When you begin to see your network sharing your content with their connections, you know you are on the right track. Measure it. Figure out which topics resonate and then rinse and repeat.
Social sharing creates social signals, and this is something that Google is paying close attention to (as well as Bing). The wonderful people over at Buffer (the BufferApp is a great social sharing tool) have even made a great case for reposting your content to social networks (you can read it here)
#7)Don’t spend a dime on ongoing SEO services
If you get blind solicitations and offers for SEO services, run the other way. This might include promises to get you to the top of page one in Google, offers to build links to your site, or even to provide keyword strategy (and stuffing) services with your content.
Your best link-building strategy is to create great content that will earn you links from trusted sites and mentions from online influencers.
Your best keyword strategy is understanding the language of your prospective clients and customers, and using that language in your content!
The fundamentals of SEO are simple:
-Create a page or post title, description using the language that your target audience would use to learn more about that topic
(there are a couple of WordPress SEO plugins that can help with crafting meta titles and descriptions for your posts that are worthwhile to install. Both WordPress SEO and All-in-One SEO are simple to use, free, and effective for this purpose)
-Create alternate text descriptions for any of the images you post on your site (Google can’t read images, only text. You need to tell them what the image is about)
-Publish and widely share your content across the social web. This will earn you well-deserved links, shares, and mentions over time assuming you are doing the work to position yourself as an influencer with your network.
WordPress software makes it easy to publish, optimize, and share your work. (Learn why I think WordPress is the best choice for advisors to publish online)
I hope this post helps you to better understand how to win favor with Google. Every action that you take online visible to Google should be natural as if you are in the real world. Buying links to your site is not natural. Stuffing keywords into your content is not natural. Google has matured from an infant to a young adult in their understanding of content, and it’s only getting better. It won’t be long before the technology is smarter than all of us. Do yourself a favor, and don’t waste your time trying to game something that you ultimately have no control over.