5 Steps to Improve Your Google Ranking
Recognize that if it were easy, everyone would do it. And if everyone did it, still only 10 results will show on the search result page. In other words, Step 1 is recognizing the reality of the challenge so you can focus on what you really want to accomplish.
Decide on what you want to accomplish. Start small, because even small search engine optimization (SEO) projects require a lot of work. There is no blog or book that is going to help any of us easily reach top SEO results for “promotional products” or other very popular keywords. SEO at that level usually requires a team of people and a large investment over many months. Your goal needs to be more realistic and should focus on a few things, including your company name, or perhaps “promotional products” and your location (i.e., Tampa).
For the sake of simplicity for this blog, let’s look at picking an area of expertise that I tried several months ago to prove how difficult it is to gain SEO. I wrote a blog keywords-focused on “Tampa Orlando Technology Speaker.” Sadly, I don’t show up anywhere near the first few pages. Worse, I chose the keyword "speaker," which often returns results for “speakers” that play music rather than public speaking.
In choosing your first goal, you need to keep it very simple like I did, but avoid vague words. Try your name first. Go ahead and Google your name or your company name. If you aren’t in the top three, it’s a good project to focus on. Write down one key phrase (a group of key words) that you hope to show up in the top three if someone were to search in Google.
Google the phrase and visit the sites that are showing up first. See what they are saying and pick up cues that will help you drive similar traffic to your site. Now, write a blog about your keyword. If you don’t have a blog, start one. It’s critical to your success. I recommend LinkedIn blogging (publish an article), because it is an easy platform and is easiest for your connections to discover.
Next, make sure all your social profiles contain those keywords wherever possible. Now, for my example, I did not update my bio to include "Tampa Orlando Technology Speaker," but if I did, it would have helped my cause. You can read my blog to get an idea for what I did to try to get listed as a great public speaker on technology in the Tampa area.
Get the word out, and get people to like, link and comment on your blog. Just posting your blog barely gets Google's attention. Google pays attention to a lot of indicators, and one of the most important is how many links exist to your blog, as well as where they come from. Some of you have already realized that in Step 2, as well as Step 3, I provided a link to my blog post on Tampa Technology Presenter with different keywords. Each time any of you click that link, Google sees the activity and recognizes my blog as a bit more credible, as well as including the keywords you clicked.
I am happy for the additional traffic, but as my blog states at the end, the purpose is to explain the challenge of SEO, not to necessarily become a speaker in Tampa on technology topics. (Hint: notice the link…)
Beyond getting links from others, post the links on every social media site and hopefully get others to share the link. The more shares, especially with the keywords in the shares, the more likely Google sees your content as useful.
If you can get published in an online newsletter, the credibility and links that gives you will be worth more than your own posting. Having links from Promo Marketing to my speakers’ blog makes Google see my blog as more credible, because Google already decided Promo Marketing is credible. Find a way to get your blog or article published, and have them link back to you with keywords that will make Google aware of your preferred phrase.
Assess and Repeat
SEO is an art, not a science. It’s very time consuming, and no matter how much time you spend, there is no guarantee that you will have success. I wrote the Tampa technology speaker blog in April and I posted it a few places. I received very little traction. Part of the reason is because I chose very popular terms (Tampa, Orlando, Technology, Speaker). Had I chosen easier terms including my name, I would have had more success. For example, Google “Dale Denham pyscho clown,” and you’ll find a blog I wrote about Christmas and clowns. Very few people seem to write about me being a pyscho clown (thankfully).
If you Google my name, you’ll see multiple social sites come up, ensuring that anyone looking for me will find me. That’s relatively easy to do for you and for your company (although depending on your name, it can be significantly more challenging). It gets hard when you are trying to compete for common terms.
Remember to wait at least a week after all your efforts. It takes time for Google to see any activity and several weeks is even better.
After you’ve assessed what worked or didn’t, adjust your strategy and try the next phrase. Even if you don’t get on the top page, you will find over time that the blogs and other links pay off. Just the activity of posting improves your chances of being found.
SEO is not as simple as five steps. It takes a lot of work and usually more work than most people want to put into it. Many people never made it to this point in the article because they were hoping for a simple solution. If you want a simple solution, hire an SEO firm—ideally a firm that is local, and will work with you on a long-term basis and perhaps provide referrals to you. There are a ton of SEO firms out there, so why not chose one that you can develop a mutually beneficial relationship with as well as one where you can meet them and ensure you trust them. In fact, that sounds like a good reason people should be choosing a local promotional products consultant…