I do a lot of prospect calls with small business owners every month.
I always start with one question: What makes you unique in your industry?
These are the answers I invariably get (apart from, “What?”):
- “I’ve been in business for __ years.”
- “I’ve been in this industry for __ years.”
- “My competitors offer a cheaper , crappier version of what I do.”
- (Actual response) “My competitors stole my idea/product and sell it cheaper.”
Google doesn’t care about any of that.
In fact, NO ONE cares about what you have done or how you’ve been wronged.
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When it comes to succeeding in organic search, keep this simple formula in mind: Pleasing your audience = Pleasing Google.
How To Please Your Audience
1. Learn About Them
I could give you all kinds of tactics, tools, and strategies I use to conduct audience research and become entrenched with your customers. But I’m still an outsider.
Point is, you know your audience best. What do they complain about? What common questions do they ask? All of that information can be turned into…
2. Blog Posts
Find out what annoys potential customers when it comes to your industry. Write blog posts addressing those annoyances and how YOU avoid them. Focus on quality, not quantity. Check out Hubspot for great insight on starting a blog for your business.
3. Consider Your Landing Pages
Use pages (this includes your homepage) that deliver what potential customers want: An answer, a solution, or a product/service offer that delivers BOTH.
For example, if someone is looking for a lawyer online, they’ll want to know if the lawyer practices the type of law they are looking for, if they’re located in their area, if they offer a free consultation, and if they look legit. Kind of like the landing page below:
Check out Unbounce.com for other great landing page guides and tips.
4. Choose Keywords With
Search Volume Accurate Intent
Add your keywords to Keyword.io to find relevant and related keywords. Then take those suggestions and start Googling those keywords.
What ranks for your target keywords? If it’s all articles and blogs, write articles and blogs.
If it’s product and service pages, make sure you have a rock solid page for your product or service (see #2 above).
If nothing related to your product/service ranks, then you’re using the wrong keywords. Call Us.
5. Show Off
- Testimonials: Create an authentic “Testimonials” page. Check out 6 questions to ask to create a strong testimonial.
- Case Studies: Case studies give you a chance to show potential customers just how good your actual work is based on results. Check out 8 tips for creating a great case study.
- Answer Questions: Find industry forums that your potential customers use and try to answer their questions there. Head to Quora and search for your product or industry name. See what questions people are asking and try to answer them. Be sure to create an account and link to your website in your bio.
Now test, Test, TEST
Too often businesses are scared to lose their current rankings by changing something on their site. What you need to understand and accept is that your website is liquid.
If you don’t test, modify, and improve your site regularly, expect to see your competitors slowly creep past you and your leads/sales to fade away.
Everything I mentioned above needs to be A/B tested on a regular basis. Work out a schedule based on the element. Here’s a suggested testing schedule:
- Blogs: Focus on an audience segment for 3-4 months and see if new organic traffic has been generated. If not, adjust your focus.
- Landing Pages: 0-100 organic visits/month = Adjust landing pages every 3 months
- 100-500 = Every 2 months
- 500-2000 = Every month
- 2000+ monthly visits = Every two weeks
Never run an A/B test on anything? Start here.
Always keep in mind that Google is a business, just like you. They want to make money. They want to provide quality search results.
Prove to them you belong in those search results.
Image Source: http://wisty101.deviantart.com/art/Forest-of-Love-332835309?q=gallery%3AWisty101&qo=0
Brian Thomas Clark
Owner, Auditor, Janitor
I'm a Dad, Husband, Brutal SEO Auditor & BBQer. I do SEO, Analytics, Backlink, and Local Search Audits in Orange County, CA, where no one uses turn signals and there is a Chase Bank on every block for some reason.