Making SEO Relevant: Why Google Rankings Aren’t Everything
by Dave Langdale on May 23, 2012
Many SEO companies out there will promise you the earth: number 1 spot on Google, top 10 rankings for all your keywords and enough resulting wealth to buy your own earth. But they’re missing the point – Google rankings aren’t everything. Why? Because Google only care about providing the most relevant search results for users.
Let’s say you’re a pizza restaurant ranking number 1 for pizza. That’s great – the company you’ve paid have done their job. But it doesn’t really matter – even if you’re getting hundreds more visits because of that ranking – because if most of those users clicking onto your site are actually looking for pizza takeaway, then all you’ll have achieved is a high bounce rate.
So what should you be looking for when making SEO relevant?
Making It Easy for Google
Google aren’t trying to trip you up with their algorithms, or seeking to make life difficult. They just want to get the right search results for the right searches in the shortest time possible. And if you can make that easy, they’ll appreciate it.
That’s why you should always make sure your site structure flows properly. If you struggle to find your way from the products page to the homepage in 10 minutes then how do you expect a robot flying through your site in seconds to do it?
Similarly, if your site is a minefield of broken links, duplicate pages and poorly optimised content, Google isn’t going to give it a second look.
Making It Relevant for Your Users
You might think that all you can do is make sure your site’s content says exactly what you do and pray that Google will do the rest.
That’s not true. Google are constantly introducing features that you can use to pad out your site’s relevancy.
One of these things is rich snippets, a handy tool we’ve mentioned in detail before, which allows you to add extra hidden data about your page that will appear in the search engines. This could be a track listing for an album, a review for a restaurant or just a quick ingredients list for a recipe.
It might seem a small, insignificant detail to include, but they significantly increase click through rates and conversions, purely because there is a higher chance that those that click on your link will actually have been looking for your link.
Be a Part of Your Community
There’s nothing Google, or in fact users, like more than finding an authority on a topic. Whether it’s laptops or courgettes, a site that regularly participates in the community is going to be sought after.
Answer questions on forums, start your own blog, write tutorials – whatever you can think of to contribute to your online community, just do it.
The more you do it, the more authority you’ll possess with your audience and the more likely you’ll be their first stop if they have a question. Better still, the wider you spread your web of expertise, the more Google will think your site is relevant for that particular industry. So there really is no downside.
And if you’re reading this thinking “there’s no way my business has a community”. Think again. Everything has an online community- and I mean everything. All you have to do is look for it.
That’s What SEO Is All About
It’s something we’ve known for a long time at Strategy, and it’s why our results are so exceptional. If you focus on rankings you’re doomed to face a constant battle against Google. But if you have these three things:
Relevance: People clicking your links have a higher chance of wanting your link
User friendly: Give people and Google an easy ride through your site and they’ll find what they want (including the checkout) faster and without giving up
Authority: Make yourself the authority and people will recommend their friends to visit the site that answered their question.
Then you’re more likely to not just get those rankings, but conversions, loyal visitors and more sales. That’s exactly what we focus on and it works for our clients. And it can work for you too.