Every business wants to be on the first page or at the top of Google search results. But making it to the top of a search engine result with low-quality content isn’t going to result in anything positive. So while you should be thinking about what you’re doing to get there, it’s essential to think beyond search engine optimization.
We always hear about how content is king. We know Google’s algorithm rewards webpages with consistent, high-quality content that have relevant, useful information and smart, strong SEO. That’s not rocket science, though it can be hard to do in practice, especially with today’s resource-strapped marketing departments.
A lot of businesses just want to take an oversimplified shortcut to the top – throwing some money into a short-term PPC campaign, keyword stuffing pages, paying to boost social media posts or producing clickbait-y content. Or they try a #contentmarketing strategy for a little while but give up too quickly because they aren’t getting instant gratification.
Achieving real improvement and great positioning in search engine results pages (SERP) takes work. Many businesses are realizing that outsourcing this type of content creation to experts — brand journalists come to mind — can deliver results that not only drive SEO, but also strategically position brands as thought leaders. Your business or brand needs to create and publish great organic content that is informative, interesting and answers actual organic search queries. And you need to be committed to this approach and build a long-term plan. Constantly changing strategies, chasing supposed new trends and perpetually pivoting doesn’t make for good business, so why would it be good marketing?
First, you need to understand the principles of SEO, content marketing and what you’re actually trying to accomplish with your brand publishing strategy. SEO is built around keywords, but it is important not to get overly focused on data and metrics at the expense of the value you provide to your customers.
There is no instant solution that can send your pages shooting to the top of Google search results. Instead, you need to commit to a sustainable strategy and build a long-term plan.
Here are four common reasons why companies aren’t getting onto the first page of Google search results, along with tips for what you can do to address each problem.
1. You’re not using your best keywords
When it comes to keywords, bigger search volumes are not always better. If you go after broad, non-specific keywords with seemingly huge search volumes, your web pages will face competition from brands that may be some of the biggest in the world – with marketing budgets to match. Or, you may just be shouting into a noisy, overcrowded online void.
Rather than playing the old game of competing on a non-level playing field for the most highly sought-after keywords, it’s time to come up with a new game plan.
Find keywords that can help you rank
Using keywords that are more specific to your brand can help you seek out customers with the highest conversion potential, not only improving your SEO but also turbocharging your lead generation strategy to deliver you prospects who are more likely to become buyers. Particularly when there’s a lot of competition in your market, focusing on long-tail keywords can be a great SEO tactic.
More specific and usually longer than common searches, long-tail keywords and keyphrases “get less search traffic, but will usually have a higher conversion value,” allowing you “to gradually get more traffic to your site and be found by new and motivated audiences. However, it’s important not to go too niche. Be sure to check the monthly search volumes of all keywords using a tool such as Google Keyword Planner.
2. Your front-page content lacks impact
If your aim is to draw customers in through search engine marketing, does your home page really need to “wow” people? The answer still is yes, without a doubt. Powerful front-page content is an essential part of an online brand publishing strategy. If customers click through to your site and do not find front page content that offers clarity and seems authoritative and professional, they are likely to click away, losing you a sale and possibly harming your site’s standing in the almighty Google algorithm.
Create powerful front-page brand content
Your website is the online home of your business. It must convince customers that your brand is trustworthy and reputable – and it must do so within the space of, at most, just a few seconds. Invest in powerful brand content for your front page to keep customers on your site and improve your conversion rate.
3. You’ve lost sight of customer needs
When you’re distracted by reams of data about keyword search volumes, page rank, engagement time and other SEO stats, it’s easy to lose sight of the real needs of your customers or clients. Too many businesses lose their way chasing capricious metrics that may have little actual effect on the overall success of their brand publishing strategy.
Put customers front and center
Customer needs should be at the heart of any content marketing strategy. Every piece of content you create should serve them, first and foremost, educating them, entertaining them or answering their questions, while also being accessible and interesting. Reach out to your customers to find out what problems they face and create content that offers them information, support and advice.
4. Your customers don’t leave reviews
In today’s world of online opinion-sharing, reviews can make or break a business. Having too few customer reviews can make your business look poorly established or illegitimate. Businesses with few online reviews are also especially vulnerable to negative reviews from disgruntled customers, which have a disproportionately large impact if you do not have enough positive assessments to balance them out.
Incentivize customers to leave reviews
So, how do you get customers to review your business online? Simple. You’ve got to ask. Many people who are perfectly happy with the service that a business provides never get around to leaving a positive review simply because it never crosses their mind to do so. Just by reminding customers to leave reviews after they interact with your business, or by offering them a perk for doing so, you could dramatically increase the number of positive reviews your brand receives.
Bear in mind that some of your customers could have more impact than others when it comes to online reviews. Never underestimate the importance of influencers for giving your content marketing strategy a boost. If you can identify those of your customers who have the most online influence, you can leverage them to provide highly effective marketing for your brand.
Become a powerful brand publisher
Now that you understand the basic principles of Google search results and the main reasons why companies don’t rank as highly as they want to, it’s time to get started. And it sounds easy: put in the work, be patient, trust the process, get results. But how exactly do you do that? What is the first step? Where should you focus, when should you expect to see results and who can help?
If developing and executing a sophisticated, successful and search engine-optimized content marketing strategy feels a bit overwhelming, don’t worry, we’re here for you as a creative, affordable and direct solution. With PowerPublish you can outsource all your content needs, from blogs and articles to e-books and white papers, infographics and email marketing to social media posts, landing page copy, short-form video and more.
Utilizing our virtual editors and newsroom software, we leverage our professional talent for brand journalism and thought leadership to create, produce and publish compelling content to bolster your SEO and send your webpages soaring up the SERP. Don’t just do content marketing; become a PowerPublisher today.