The Secret To Beating Google’s Algorithm Changes
Once again, Google, the evil empire, is altering the deal. The deal was, we put up websites, and Google sends us traffic, right? Yet we’ve learned that on April 21st, Google is making another algorithm change, and we just have to pray they don’t alter the deal further.
Well, frankly, Google is not the evil Empire many make them out to be. In fact, Google has a singularly user-centric approach to doing business, which I elaborate more on in this week’s SiteSell newsletter (and why aren’t you subscribed, by the way?).
This, and virtually every other algorithm change from Google, should be a reality check for solopreneurs. If you’re building your online business the right way, frankly, these changes should not be an issue.
What’s the Right Way?
I’m glad you asked. It’s a subject I’ve written about, presented on, and one that Ken Evoy and SiteSell have been preaching for 18 years.
The secret to getting great traffic, regardless of Google’s algorithm changes?
That’s the process, the plan, and the advice that all businesses who want to thrive in the online environment need to follow.
Take Taco Bell, for instance. For years, the Mexican food chain tried to keep franchise locations open 24 hours a day. They ran advertising campaigns stressing how they were “Open Late” and available to feed those late-night hungers. Yet for many, if not most locations, sales were dismal during those early morning hours. Because honestly, who wants tacos at 5AM? But Taco Bell executives clearly saw that there was a real need for fast food during those late-night / early morning hours, so what did they do? In 2012, they introduced breakfast foods. They created new menu items specifically designed to appeal to their audience and be more closely aligned with the expectations of people who are hungry and out during those times. Now, more and more locations are expanding their hours and driving more sales during those times when most of the competition’s doors are closed.
That’s great Mike. Now I’m hungry, and no closer to understanding Google.
Right. So here’s the point. Taco Bell failed to drive orders and sales because they failed to create the content (menu items) needed to succeed.
Taco Bell wanted to compete for business during the breakfast time slot, but wasn’t offering breakfast items. Similarly, businesses who want to rank in search engines, whether for mobile or for desktop, need to have quality content. As SiteSell President Al Abrahams said, “You’re not even in the game if you don’t have good content.”
What is Good Content?
Good content doesn’t necessarily have to be long and arduously prepared. The best content answers a question, one that people are actually asking, and does so with as many words as it takes to do it well.
For your business, that means tackling questions and issues that your prospects are asking and dealing with, and doing so in such a thorough way as to leave no doubt in their mind that you are the authority in that subject area.
That’s the tactic. Regularly create content (pages, blog posts, podcasts, video, etc.) that completely addresses a topic. If the topic is extensive, that’s an opportunity to break your content up into a series or perhaps sub-topics.
Determining exactly what to write about? That’s the strategy. You need to carefully select topics that will be interesting, helpful, and will lead readers to want to do business with you, either immediately or down the road.
You see, there’s often an argument against publishing online that goes something like, “Why should I give away all my knowledge and information for free? Aren’t I losing business as a result?” And if you did exactly that, published everything that you know, you probably would be shooting yourself in the foot.
Instead, what you share online and publish for free should be carefully calculated. Try this as an exercise:
- Think about your business and the topics you can talk about.
- Begin writing down everything you can do or talk about, and group them into three columns:
- The last column should be topics and tasks that you want to be paid to talk about or complete.
- The first column should be basic information. The kinds of questions you get asked all the time by people who are just learning about your business or industry.
- The middle column should be more advanced information – not yet revealing everything that you want to be paid to do or talk about, but approaching that level.
- Column C should align with your business products and services. Column A is your source for online content, and Column B can be a great source for “premium” content, like eBooks or webinars, that you might offer in exchange for an email address for lead generation.
That should give you a very high level, strategic view of your content plan. To know exactly what to talk about in your published content, to know what people are searching for, you’ll need to do some research and observation. Social Media activity, blog comments, questions from customers and prospects, Google Analytics… those are all good places to start to get a sense for what your audience is interested in. SiteSell members take it a step further and use the Brainstorm It! tool to dig into actual volume and interest for specific terms and phrases, helping them to know exactly what questions and content people are searching for within their niche.
Winning, With Google, Not Against Google
With a strategy for your content in place, you’ll be in a position to win with your online business. But it’s really not about “beating” Google, rather, it’s about taking advantage of the service Google offers to ensure that great content you’re publishing gets in front of the people who want it most.
Your target audience.
Having the perfect piece of content in place, in advance, to help answer a prospect’s question and lead them further into the buying cycle is the ideal opportunity. I refer to it as The Golden Moment of Content Marketing. Sometimes it happens directly: you get asked a question via email or on social media and can provide a link to a piece of content you’ve written that thoroughly answers their question, positioning yourself immediately as an authority. And sometimes it happens indirectly: when someone finds your content via search or a social share. That’s where Google will help you, if you let them. If you regularly create interesting and helpful content, Google will recognize that and rank you accordingly.
Having a mobile-optimized website, and adhering to Google’s myriad of other requirements and recommendations for the configuration and construction of your website are all good things, and will help your website get indexed and ranked. But none of that matters if you aren’t offering the kind of information that your prospects are looking for. That’s where your focus should be, and if you do that, you shouldn’t be too concerned the next time Google updates their algorithm.
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