Creating a Win-Win-Win for Search Results
Everyone is fighting for the top spots in the Google search results pages. What’s the best way to get to the top? Create a win-win-win situation among the user, Google, and your site.
How Does Everybody win?
- A win for the User – A user wins when they find a website that is useful to them. When the user clicks a link and gets a website with the content that they are looking for, the first time, they win.
- A win for Google – The bottom line for Google is money. When users get what they want and have a good experience, they return to Google’s site. The more that people use Google the more money Google makes in ad revenue. Google wins with happy users.
- A win for your Website – This one is fairly obvious. The website wins by getting a high ranking on Google and subsequently more traffic. Remember, over 50% of all clicks happen on the first three Google positions.
How to Create a Win-Win-Win
If you want to make Google happy (and get a high search engine position), you need to make the user happy. Google wants to provide the best results for the user, and it’s your job to make sure that your site is the best and most relevant site that Google sees. This is the bottom line in SEO. Google looks at hundreds of factors in an attempt to provide what they believe is the best result for the user. Rather than try to manipulate these factors on your site, which we’ve already shown is a bad idea, there are several steps you can take to create a situation where everybody wins:
- Provide Content that People Want. If you’re writing content just for the sake of writing content for Google, you’re already missing the point. Updates to Google’s algorithms have made it near impossible to achieve a high ranking by creating random pages flooded with keywords and buying spammy backlinks to support the page. Write content that people want to read. This encourages links (think about it, who is going to link back to garbage content?), and gives your site more credibility with Google. Remember, the engineers at Google are incredibly intelligent. They can tell when content is written poorly or is “spammy.” Think about your users. What do they want to know? What do they need to know? What information can you provide to them that is truly going to help them? Not only will this help your ranks, but it will help your business. Trust us, customers appreciate when you provide something of value to them.
- Create a Great User Experience. Have you ever visited a website that feels like it was built in 1999? You didn’t stay on that page very long did you? A poor user experience doesn’t retain visitors. It’s also no longer Google friendly. Remember, it’s in Google’s best interests to send users to pages where they are going to have a good experience. Google uses human editors to review websites. These reviewers look for spammy websites and poor user experiences. If your site is difficult to navigate, looks terrible, and doesn’t provide useful information, it is not going to be the type of site to which Google wants to send visitors. Look at your website and think through it like a first time visitor. Even better, have a neutral third party take a look at it. What works well and what doesn’t? Ask yourself, “Is it time for a redesign?”
- Use Tags to Identify Your Content. You want to send very clear cues to both users and to Google to let them know what your content is about. That’s what tags typically do. Title tags are typically the single most important on-site signal to Google to show what your content is about. They also are highlighted in blue on the search engine results pages, and therefore send a strong signal to the user as well. Because these tags send such strong signals, don’t just stuff keywords in your title. However, you want to make sure you put keywords in if they help to identify the content on your page. Think, “If I read this title, would I know what this page is all about?” Make sure you’re doing the same with alt tags and titles for images as well. Note that the “meta description” tag is no longer used as an indicator to Google for search results. However, Google will often use it in the Search Engine Results Page to help the reader see what the content is about. Take the time to make sure this is well written. It may be the biggest factor whether or not the user clicks your link or someone else’s.
Creating a win for the user creates a win for you. Give Google a reason to send someone to your site. The stronger the reason, the stronger the chances they will try to do just that.
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