As you may or may not have read, search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, isn’t what it used to be. This is both good and bad for those of you who already have a website. It’s good (actually great) because only the most credible websites that contain the most valuable information rank at the top. Spam websites are no longer able to fill their website with keywords that aren’t relevant and take the top rankings, and you can no longer fake having the best website by adding meta-tags. The bad news is that it isn’t easy to rank now for those of you who are relying on old SEO tactics and haven’t updated your website in years.
Many businesses are finding that their website has actually dropped in rankings. I’ve had many of our own prospective leads tell me that they used to be ranked on page one and two a few years ago, but over the past several months, they’ve noticed a tremendous decline. In haste, those in charge of keeping up the website are actually applying old SEO strategies that can now actually hurt the website and have the opposite effect. Instead of increasing in rankings, they are actually decreasing, or worse yet, not showing up at all. If you are wondering why your website isn’t ranking in search engines, we may have some answers.
What’s the deal?
Google, along with other major search engines, have changed their algorithms. An algorithm is basically a very complex formula that they use to calculate which website actually ranks on top. Prior to this change, rankings greatly depended on links and meta-tags. Today, rankings are based on relevant content. As the old saying goes, “he with the most valuable content wins.” (Okay, maybe that’s my version!)
In order to have a chance in ranking high in search engines, you must be creating great content. Though many companies understand this, they often get frustrated because they eventually realize that creating quality content that generates the right kind of leads and allows you to rank takes a lot of time. Instead, they half-ass it, and create content that actually takes away from the value of their website. This can lead to many problems. First, their customers or clients will eventually realize that they have nothing important to say and will stop relying on them for valuable information related to their business. Second, what makes matters worse is that they will no longer share the information with their own network of friends and family. They may even go elsewhere to get the information that they need, which may include going to a competitor, but even more problematic is that companies really do need their information shared in order for search engines to realize the value of their website. If your content isn’t being shared and no one is reading your blog or website pages, what’s the point? And that is exactly what search engines think too!
So how do you create great content that is being shared, thus helping search engine rankings?
First of all, follow the KISS rule (keep it simple sally). You don’t need to write a book or do loads of research that takes hours to create quality content. Here are some other tips:
- Keep your content to a minimum— 400 to 600 words will do just fine.
- Keep it related to what you are selling. There is no need to write about cooking when you are a veterinarian. Instead, write about things that are industry related such as the best types of organic pet food, the best resources on keeping your pets healthy, etc… These should be things that you already know but just need to put down on paper.
- Don’t overload your content with keywords. This is a huge problem for many companies. They think that filling their page with keywords will help with SEO. Instead, websites will actually get dinged. Search engines will calculate a website’s keyword use. If keywords are used too many times, the website will go down in search engine rankings.
- Write authentically. You can avoid most problems related to bad SEO tactics by just being authentic in your writing. If you think about it, it’s completely unnatural to use the same word twenty times in your content. By writing authentically and in a style that comes naturally to us, we churn out better content.
We know that creating quality content takes time. It’s often a struggle for many of us to make the time and devote it to writing. If you look at it this way, there are forty hours in a given workweek. Take three of those hours and devote them to improving your search engine rankings. It’s not always enough, but it’s most certainly enough time for you to start seeing improvements in your rankings.