I’ve been in the digital marketing space for over ten years now. Every year the rules and search algorithms change. As the digital space evolves, my team always plays by the rules, deploying white hat SEO tactics and steering clear of shady black hat ones. It all goes back to a singular belief that Google and other search engines have one job: Give users the best result for any given search query.
When you keep that in mind, it takes the mysticism out of SEO and leaves you with a clear set of rules by which you can win in search. In this article I’ll lay out the seven ways to win online search, simply by helping search engines do their job.
The rules for winning online search
1. Build content hubs.
Content hubs are webs of content containing information around a single subject. For example let’s say you own a HVAC company and want to grow your yearly AC maintenance contracts. You would want to build a series of pages or posts that prove to Google and the other search engines that you are the one-stop-shop for AC maintenance knowledge. You might have heard people refer to this as thought leadership. It’s what search engines feed on.
Don’t want to write content that no one is looking for. Using the Google keyword planning tool, you can find the monthly average search volume on any keyword. Use this data to decide if writing content around a specific keyword is going to have an ROI.
Here is what a content hub about AC maintenance might look like:
- Parent: AC Maintenance
- Page/Post: Why is AC maintenance important?
- What happens when you don’t perform regular AC maintenance?
- Your total AC Maintenance guide: What happens during a routine AC checkup
- How must does AC maintenance cost?
- How to choose a company specializing in AC maintenance?
- How to protect your AC units in the winter.
- How to prepare your AC units for the fall.
- 5 important things to consider before you start running your AC in the summer.
- How does air conditioning work?
2. Organize your content.
Once you’ve created the content, it’s important to organize it in your site architecture so search engines can easily connect the dots. Lining up those dots is simple. This means that all the pages are organized (filed) and linked together. Linking all of your content helps establish that you are the thought leader on a given subject. Linking pages together on one site is often called intra-linking.
When you load the pages onto your website, make sure the pages meet technical SEO standards. This means your meta information is plugged in, images are optimized for speed, and your site maps are updated. I also think that it’s important to ping all the search engines to let them know that you have added content to your website. Below is my personal ping list and sample of good meta titles and descriptions.
- Meta Title Sample: Why AC Maintenance is important in Atlanta, GA (Geographic locations help you show up in areas where you do business.)
- Meta Description: Maintaining your air conditioning system is critical. Mot performing annual maintenance could cost you thousands of dollars and cause hot sleepless nights.
- Ping List:
A powerful content hub is one that’s updated at least once a month. Search engines want you to edit existing pages regularly, especially if information changes. Make sure the content is fresh. This becomes very important — and more difficult — when you have hundreds of pages. (One tip here: keep a spreadsheet with the dates that pages were last updated. This is very helpful when remembering what older page content needs some love.)
It’s important to get your content in front of people. If your content is well-written and provides valuable information, people will share it. The more it’s shared, the more social signals it sends out, which isn’t just important for attracting prospects — it’s also a ranking factor in most search engine algorithms.
5. Engage with your audience!
If your content is picked up and shared, you will get comments both positive and negative. Respond to all of them. In most cases this counts as add adding new content to the page and makes the page more relevant in the search engine’s eyes.
90% of all searches end on page 1 of search results. The longer you wait to build content hubs, create and optimize content and connect with your audience the harder it will be to get on page one. Too many people keep putting this off. It’s a long game, but those that are playing now will be reaping the rewards in the future.
Brain Bytes Creative is a full-service digital marketing agency in Atlanta, with clients around the country. We’re obsessed with all forms of inbound marketing, from search optimization to content strategy and beyond. In fact, DesignRush recognized us as one of the top inbound marketing companies out there. Thanks, DesignRush!