'Googling' has become a verb. Talk about brand equity. There is much to be said about the 'dark art' of getting to the top of Google's search results, but most of it is garbage. Here we dispel the myths, advise on best practice and illustrate examples of a job well done. We're not going to include Pay Per Click (PPC) or any ads.
Just a small tweak
What's the difference between 'gift cards' and 'gift vouchers'? Not a lot. But once it made a difference in search (things have changed since). After analysis, it turned out that users were searching for 'cards' as much as they were looking for 'vouchers'. Pied à Terre focused on this small tweak and gained a £100,000 uplift in income. How did that happen?
We are experts in annual reports, a market heaving with big agencies and big invoices. Navig8 has a solid reputation for annual report design, but finding new clients is always an issue. We focus on the term 'annual report design' – we are still number 2 on page 1 on Google. To get there took some work, content and a little effort, but no dark arts.
Analysis is the key
Looking at what users actually search for is the key to new markets. Competing for 'nice trousers' will not work. The big boys will have every area covered and – unless you have a dedicated team – you can't compete. Or maybe you can. Like the Pied à Terre example, pinpointing a search term that is being searched for but not supported by other companies will deliver business.
What you might expect to be regular serach terms for your business may not turn out to be what people are searching for. People are fickle like that.
Meta data and URLs
If you want to find a 'vintage duck egg blue tie from Hermes', that is a very specific search term. Few websites will have that as their keyword phrase. No matter: whatever your term might be, the main thing is to create a page that has right meta tags and URL that deliver up that term. To give you an example – www.i-like-ties.com/duck-egg-blue-ties. With good meta data, the descriptive text of a web page that search engines use, and a focused URL, you are on your way to being top of the listings.
Backlinks are just what they sound like – links back to your site. Google looks at who is linking to your website and, if it is a respected source, it will rank you higher. Notice the word 'respected'. There are a lot of companies that will sell you backlinks from very poor and dodgy sites: Google will penalise you for that. Get a link to your site from a university or a government site and your rankings will shoot up.
Keyword-enriched content, that is updated regularly makes a huge difference to your ranking. Once you have done your analysis, writing keyword-rich blog posts really helps. You have to keep at it. Depending on the keyword or phrase, it can make for some interesting headlines, and misspellings and plurals all need to be included if you want to get the most out of your content.
Embedding social media into your site, making regular posts and including those keywords helps. Remember Google can't read pictures – so if you use images, use them to illustrate your post but include your keyword(s) in the 'live' written text. More on images below.
Alt tags perform several jobs. They help blind users understand what the accompanying image to an article is – so they should describe what the image shows. In addition, alt tags are read by Google. So writing an alt tag like 'British Council annual report design' describes what the image is, but also contains the keyword phrase 'annual report design'.
To make all of these different activities work in your favour, you'll need a strategy and enough resources to implement them – and keep implementing them. You can do it all in-house, or you can pay people like us to do it for you. Or a bit of both. SEO is highly competitive and the criteria change all of the time. If you want to stay at the top, you have to work at it.
IKEA nailed it
An estimated one in five children is conceived in an IKEA bed. An astonishing achievement in both respects. IKEA re-named their product – a bed – to include the key phrase 'my partner snores'. When users searched, the results delivered their bed as a solution to snoring. Talk about thinking out of the box!
If you don't believe me: https://goo.gl/zueRil
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