Dear Franco: SEO has been good to me. Our business drives a significant amount of revenue from organic Google traffic. I am worried because recently one of our top competitors starting ranking above us for a handful of important terms. What is the most important SEO technique we should focus on to regain and maintain our rankings in the coming year? – Searching For Answers
Dear Searching For Answers: I feel your pain. It is amazing how much traffic you can lose by slipping a few spots in Google’s search engine search engine results pages (SERPs).
As you know, Search Engine Optimization is in a constant state of change. This is a good thing for searchers because Google is making their search product better. However, as you know, this is a constant challenge for businesses who rely on organic visibility in Google’s organic search results.
My perspective is unique because I spent several years riding the Google algorithm waves. Remember the Penguin and Panda updates? Those were big waves. Imagine waking up and 30% of your organic traffic was gone. I had to figure out how to get it back.
The SEO best practices have not changed that much since 2010. Google still generally likes the same things. The most significant changes are what elements Google weights the most.
My best advice for SEO in 2017 is to focus on the quality of the content. Think from the perspective of what people who are searching for a certain keyword are hoping to find. Then deliver.
Here’s some more concrete steps to take. Let’s imagine you want Woodridge Growth to own organic real estate on the first page of the Google results for the search query ‘growth hacking’.
- Search ‘growth hacking’ to see what pages Google deems worthy of the first-page real estate.
- Observe content themes. The first page of results has guides to growth hacking, comprehensive lists of growth hacking tools and growth hackers to follow. This tells me that people searching growth hacking are generally seeking answers to what growth hacking is, how they can use it to their advantage, and where they can continue to learn more.
- Now we want to apply these insights to a content strategy. Specifically, how can we create unique content that offers the same type of content while also offering something totally unique and equally valuable? Where are the white spaces? What additional value can you add?
This approach will help you against your competitors in the long-run. Unbeatable content builds a barrier between you and your competition. You can’t ‘growth hack’ great content.
I look at everything like a product. This blog post is a unique product. It has a life of its own. It is part of a bigger product (our website). Provide a valuable experience and people will take note. If people take note, Google will, too.
Here are some other SEO links I find useful. Hopefully you will, too.
21 Actionable SEO Techniques You Can Use Right Now: I do not know Brian Dean, but I appreciate his content.
The Short Cutts: If you know SEO, then you know to listen to Google’s Matt Cutts. This content is great and also exemplifies my response in this post. Matt publishes video-answers to people’s SEO questions. Someone extracted the “short” answer from all of “Cutts” videos, and turned it into a helpful website. Look at me linking to it. Great content gets links.