Solutions 8, based in Scottsdale Arizona, is a digital marketing firm serving the Phoenix valley and offering services such as SEO (search engine optimization), social media management and professional video production…see what I just did there? That’s called alienating your readers.
You can get away with it every now and again but, for the most part, people are well aware when they’re being key-phrased to death. So what’s the take home message?
Don’t do it.
Should you use your key phrases in your blogs / article / press release? Absolutely. But insertion of said phrases should never come at the detriment of the readability or the conversion-ability (a word I just invented) of your content.
You’re writing content for users, not for search engines, and the more you try to cater to the all knowing “algorithm,” the less likely it is that what you’re writing is engaging and informative.
If you’ve been schooling yourself on SEO recently, you’ve probably read things like “5% key phrase permeation” and “300 words or more”, etc. etc. Here the problem be: You’re trying to trick a multi-billion dollar piece of software and you’re going to fail. Time to take on a whole new perspective.
Search engines actually want you to be successful. Think about it – what does Google want? (Google, by the way, has over 80% market share in the United States, so when I say “search engine,” I really mean the Google machine.)
For each particular keyphrase search, Google wants to deliver the most relevant results. They’ve built their livelihood on their ability to deliver exactly what you’re looking for at, quite literally, the click of a button. At this point it has become a joke, a cultural meme: Google knows everything.
This leaves us with the following options if we desire high organic ranking:
1. Trick Google into believing that you’re the most relevant result
2. Be the most relevant result
Yup…I just blew your mind. Every SEO “guru” on the inter-webs swears up and down they have the magic key in their “proprietary” optimization technique, which will provide an all access pass to high rankings.
The truth of the matter is this: the more relevant the site, the higher it will rank. Why is this? Because Lord Google is phenomenal at what it does and it gets better every single day.
So where do we go from here?
First, let’s make sure we are 100% clear: There is no magic bullet. There is no back door. There are no “tricks”.
Sorry…in order to be seen as the most relevant website on a certain topic, you actually have to have the most relevant website on that topic. Can you believe something that happens online can be this straightforward?!
Now that we agree on what needs to be done, let’s talk about how we do it. It’s really quite simple and you already know the answer – please forgive me conjuring up the age old cliché: Content is KING.
You need to write great copy for your web pages, you need to blog (or hire us to do it for you) and you need to blast out a press release now and again. You need to create engaging and informative videos and plaster them across YouTube. You need to send consistent and targeted email campaigns that are a small piece of a larger strategic sales funnel. And you need to have an ongoing social media strategy.
“But what about link building?” asked the smartass in the back of the pretend room.
Yes, link building is important, even crucial. But here’s the truth: while link building is tedious, it’s not difficult. Content creation is exceptionally high level and, no matter how many links you build, if you don’t have the content to back up your claim of relevance, you’re not going to get the ranking. Period.
(Side note – a big pet peeve of mine is writers who end a sentence with a period – “.” – and then actually type out the word “Period” for emphasis. As though we’re unaware of exactly what just happened and require a verbal illustration. The first period wasn’t adequate and so he had to throw a second one in there to really seal the deal. Another pet peeve is people that use the phrase “pet peeve” – I believe they should be shot. As you can see I’m zero for two on my own scale.)
So how much content is “enough”? There’s actually a very practical way of measuring this…
Take a look at your highest-ranking competitors and look at the content they have on their site; now take inventory! This is what you’ll need to create to catch up.
Now, since you’re not in business to be number two, realize that “catching up” isn’t good enough; you want to win! Monitor your competitor’s site for a month (or longer if necessary) and determine the average rate of content growth, or how many articles / blogs / videos they add over a month’s time?
This doesn’t need to be difficult. Simply take inventory of their current content (you can use Google’s sitemap tool to make this easy) and then, in 30 days, take a look at what has changed.
Now let’s do the math. Take their up-to-date content total, determine their percentage growth over a month’s time and extend this number out for a year (12 months). Multiply this number by 1.1 (which will give you a 10% higher content yield) and then divide it by 12. This is how much content you’ll need to create on a monthly basis to beat your highest ranking competitor by a full 10% at the end of a year.
Confused? Let’s see an example:
DummyWebsite.com has 50 pages of unique content, 20 blog posts, and 10 videos for a total of 80 “pieces” of content. After monitoring their site, I’m able to determine they grew this number by roughly 5% in the course of a month.
Recurring Monthly Content x 12 months + Current Content = End of Year Total.
(80 x .05 = 4) x 12 + 80 = 128.
By the end of this year, DummyWebsite.com will have 128 pieces of content. We take that number and add 10% (multiply by 1.1) to get 141. We will need 141 pieces of unique and relevant content in order to beat out DummyWebsite.com.
That’s way too big of a bite to take at once, but if we parse it up over twelve months, we find that we only need to create a little under 12 pieces of unique content each month in order to reach our goal. This equates to about three pieces of content each week. Pretty feasible huh?
What if it isn’t feasible? What if you’re going after a site that has a few hundred (or thousand) articles and it grows by the day. Divide and conquer. Choose a single, isolated keyphrase that is targeted, yet still valuable, and go after it with everything you’ve got!
In one year’s time, you should be able to steal a targeted keyphrase from even the largest applications. Once you get some traction going, move to another and then another – over time you’ll find that the more relevant you are, the more relevant you can become (the win-win of optimization).
I realize you’re probably dozing off by now – I hope the math lesson wasn’t a total buzz kill. At the end of the day, we’re here to help and eager to earn your business. Contact Solutions 8 today if you’d like to discuss how we can get you found on the Google machine.