As one of the main content contributors at Evolve, I learned pretty quickly that visitors to the site aren’t going to fill out a contact form just because Derek has created a cool company culture. The Evolve culture isn’t for our visitors; it’s for us. Visitors to the site care about the value we can give them, whether that’s a blog post about using Google+ or a detailed explanation of a website audit. Visitors want to know:
- Why should I spend my valuable time on your site?
- What can I get out of this relationship?
That’s really what it comes down to. No one cares if our only advantage over other search marketing companies is that we drink craft beer like water. Or even that we love what we do. They just want a fair exchange a whether a social share for new insight or a check for consultation.
SEO 101: Give ’em a reason to visit your site
Nearly two years ago we released the first edition of our SEO Guide for Beginners. Unlike other similar resources, it was written by someone who was new to the intimidating world of SEO a and that gave us an advantage because not everyone reaching our site is familiar with the phrase “anchor text” or the difference between organic and paid results. So earlier this year Derek gave me the go to revamp the guide. I wanted a more appealing presentation and an easier way to share specific chapters. And I wanted to explain SEO in a big-picture way a because thatas exactly how we see it, as just one piece of a deeper digital strategy. If you’re looking for an all-inclusive list of steps you can take to rank higher, you won’t find that here.
Things Change. But we cope.
Search engine marketers tend to dwell on the perpetual fluctuation of SEO effectiveness a and we’ve been guilty of that, too. Just this week, we found out Google is going to start encrypting keyword information from website marketers. Weave known it was bound to happen eventually; Google has been hiding keyword data of users signed in to Google products (Gmail, Youtube) for nearly a couple years now. But over the next several months, anyone who reaches your site through organic search results will be “protected.” Weare not going to know which search queries were directing consumers to your website. Itas frustrating because Google is essentially forcing digital marketers to invest in Paid Search a which still provides lists of keywords that yielded clicks. But it’s okay. We will cope! The good folks at Moz have already released a video that shares some suggested ways we try to bridge the gaps by looking at other data.
Big Picture: It’s still about quality
Still, while specific tactics dwindle in effectiveness as Google tweaks its algorithm, we’ve noticed one overarching reality of digital marketing that doesn’t change: quality converts. Google has invested in developing technology that measures user behavior and draws conclusions from that data. Keywords and links arenat sole indications of why a website ranks favorably in search engine results pages. Do they reflect the quality of a website? Do they convey the subject matter of a web page? Absolutely. And of course we recommend completing technical SEO tasks:
- Assigning a unique title tag to each page
- Fixing duplicate content issues
- Updating your sitemap
- Improving URL structure
These Google-recommended tactics, explained in the SEO Basics chapter of our guide, help search bots understand what your site is about so search engines can more effectively provide solutions to queries. But you have to remember that Google is a business, too. And the only way it has accomplished such exceptional brand awareness (the company name is a verb, for crying out loud) is by consistently churning out valid recommendations for search queries. Google wants to only feature websites that 1) are paying for placement or 2) are providing consumers with a pleasant online experience.
The keyword encryption news is disheartening for sure. We have processes in place that relied on keyword data to identify needs of consumers and improve on-site content. But you can’t expect to thrive in this industry if you’re not willing to adapt and understand how these changes can play a positive role in the bigger picture. Evolve’s story of adaptation started before I joined the team in 2011. And it continues to unfold as we find new ways to connect with consumers, ours and our clients’, and ultimately discover new ways to increase revenue through a website.