Midnight Quills

Just another writer’s page…

Tag: online marketing

Is SEO the right tool for your website?

Is SEO really the tool for you?

The email I received includes a paragraph that reads as follows:

 

“We are also experts at SEO and the ideal solution when it comes to getting websites ranking on page one of Google, we have achieved page one results for clients in a wide range of industries, no matter what business you are in, we can help you get to the top of Google.”

 

It sounds so great. You’re offered the top ranking on a Google search, or at least page one. It comes with promises of more calls, more sales, and more traffic to your website. Promises. Promises. Promises.

How do they do it though?

I spent five years working as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for an international recruitment company. Our aim was to be the number one ranking in Google searches across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and more. In those five years, we worked with three different SEO/Digital Marketing agencies who all promised us great results, and who all, ultimately, let us down. Sure, they managed to get us to number 1 here and there, but it was for obscure keywords that brought minimal traffic to the website.

SEO company frustration

Dealing with SEO companies brought about as much frustration as it did results.

The worst thing, though, was how difficult it was to actually get a response from them as to exactly what they were doing as part of this SEO strategy. We were paying a regular retainer which provided promises and a report every month to show what movement had been obtained in each of the keywords we were targeting, and what we’d find with those reports, was that on average, we would probably stay about the same. Moving up a few ranks in one area undoubtedly left us lagging somewhere else.

It took me some time to discover that the majority of this weekly retainer was being spent in creating backlinks.

You see, out of all of the key things that Google’s search algorithm uses to calculate page rankings, really the only thing that an external company can provide you with, are backlinks. These are links that use the keywords you’re targeting to link back to the specific page on your website where you want visitors to land.

For example: Let’s say I’ve created a tennis equipment website, and I’ve contacted one of these SEO agencies asking for them to get me to the top of Google when people are searching for tennis equipment. One of the main things they’re going to do, is have people write articles about tennis, which have a link back to my website that specifically uses the words “tennis equipment.” The theory being that with enough backlinks, Google will start to recognize my page as an authority on Tennis Equipment, and will therefore push me to the top of the search rankings.

The problem is, that my page isn’t necessarily the best authority on Tennis Equipment, and Google knows that, because none of the three hundred pages where these articles have been posted are recognized as any sort of authority on tennis either.

Because that is what Google is after. Authority. The brains trust at the Good Ship Google has two aims:

  • First: To get you to spend money on Adwords. It’s their major revenue stream.
  • Second: To provide people searching with the best results possible.
Google is looking for authority pages

The aim for Google and other search engines, is to provide the best knowledge resource for any given query.

SEO companies, in the meantime, have a single, slightly different aim: to get you to pay them to circumnavigate whatever rules Google has put into place to fulfill that second aim I just mentioned, to provide the best and most accurate results possible. An SEO company doesn’t care that my site isn’t the most comprehensive tennis equipment site around, they care about convincing me that if I pay them enough money, they can make Google think that I’m the most comprehensive tennis equipment website around.

Which brings us to the difference between an SEO company, and a Content Marketing Expert.

Instead of doing what they can to make Google believe my site is the best tennis equipment site around, a Content Marketing Expert comes in and says, “Let’s make this site the best tennis equipment site around!”

Do you see the difference there? One is trying to manipulate their way around the rules that Google (and Yahoo and Bing) have put in place, while the other is using those rules to provide a great result.

Put another way, one is working against Google, the other is working with them.

Why are you butting heads with Google?

Why butt heads with Google’s search formula, when you can work with it to provide the best results?

Do you realize that it’s a lot easier to work together than against someone?

I’ve had plenty of conversations with SEO companies where I’ve been told that Google have changed their formula again, and this is why our keywords had dropped. SEO companies are constantly working against Google, and in turn, Google is constantly working against them. Google keeps updating their formula to tighten all the loopholes that these people are working to exploit.

Why work against them when you can just as easily work with them? Why spend so much time, effort, and money in pretending to be an authority on your subject, when you could put that time, effort and money into actually being the authority on your subject?

This is why Content Marketing is so important.

But why listen to me? I have a not-so-hidden motive in convincing you to follow the path of Content Marketing over SEO strategies. It’s my business. I write for a living, providing great content for websites who want to improve their own rankings, get more traffic, receive more calls and drive more sales. That’s my bread and butter. So why should you listen to me?

No one’s saying you have to, but next time in, I’ll be writing in more detail about Content Marketing, and exactly what it is that people like myself actually do to help you reach those goals. Sign up to my email list below to make sure you’re notified when it’s posted!

Of course, if you want to get started before then, contact me today and we can discuss your individual requirements. Unlike the struggles I had with SEO companies, you’ll be consulted and included as we build a strategy together, and you’ll know exactly what it is you’re actually paying for as we go forward.

Why Your Business Website needs a writer

Why You Need A Writer

You know you need a website, and so you’ve gone out and spent the money to get one created. It looks great, and you’re really happy with the colours, the style, the layout, the graphics, it’s all fantastic.

Then what?

Next step, is of course, to actually get people seeing the website, so you start promoting it on your advertising materials, you’ve gotten your business cards redone so that they have the web address on there as well, it’s all great, but you’re preaching to the choir, you’re marketing to people who already know you exist. You want your website to bring in new customers as well, though.

That’s when you get a phone call or an email from someone promising something called Search Engine Optimization, and offering miraculous guarantees of being number one in Google searches, it all sounds spectacular. That’s just what you need, right?

Realistically, probably not.

Building a website is like building a house, and there’s three aspects that you need to blend together to create a great, engaging website: design, structure and content. A great website puts the right amount of time and focus into each of these aspects.

Design is the exterior appearance. You want your website to look fantastic when people are driving past on the street, don’t you? It’s all those external pieces, the way it looks on the surface.

Structure is the internal walls. Once you’re inside, how is it all laid out? It’s how you get from one room to another.

Content, though, is the furniture. It’s what actually makes this a place where you want to stop and sit down. This is what keeps people inside once they’ve walked through the door; it makes this an attractive place to be, rather than simply an attractice place to look at.

Too many businesses, though, go out and get a beautiful, architect-designed house that’s unique and noticeable, only to then drop into Fantastic Furniture and fill the house with the first $100 items of furniture they can find.\

Sure, it’s functional, and even livable; but realistically, it feels incomplete and unsatisfactory. After putting in the time and effort to get a beautiful house built, isn’t it missing something until you’ve hired an interior decorator to come through and craft the inside of the house? Isn’t that what really makes it a home?

The same goes for your website.

With all that in mind, let’s look at three reasons why you should have a professional writer on your team to create content.

Your Website is there to Build Relationships

Once upon a time, a website was a digital billboard for your business. All you needed to do was make it look good, put your contact information on there, and there you go! Set and forget, right?

Gone are the days where a website was a digital billboard for your website.

That’s not the case anymore.

Around ten years ago, the Internet started turning social. Websites aren’t just a digital billboard for people to find out how to get in touch with you. Your website is now a lounge room that you’re inviting your customers into. It’s a place where you can sit down and chat to them for a while about what solutions you can actually provide for them.

You want to make sure that lounge room is furnished as nicely as possible.

Provide your customers with solutions

The days have gone when I find a leaking tap in my house and go straight the Yellow Pages for a plumber. These days, my first stop is going to be online to see what the problems might be, and whether I can fix it myself.

The internet provides people with the option to seek solutions to the problems they have.

Whilst this may sound counterproductive to your business requirements by helping me to do things myself, remember, you’re building relationships here. The coffee that we had in the point above, means that when I have a problem, I’m going to give you a call because we already have an established relationship. It doesn’t matter that the relationship’s only been through your website and email newsletters, I know who you are, I’ve developed a level of trust with you, so why would I take a chance on someone else?

Quality reigns over quantity

I maintain a number of websites, and I therefore regularly get both phone calls and emails from people working for SEO companies making all sorts of promises to get my site to number 1 on Google for any keywords I want.

I’ve worked with these companies in the past, and they basically run with two primary means of attack in their area. Lots of keywords, and lots of backlinks to your website. You provide them with a list of search terms that you want to be number one for, and their aim is to make sure those words appear all over your website in just the right places, and all over the internet, all with a link back to your site. In the process of this, the actual quality of the content is irrelevant, which is how I once ended up receiving web content encouraging people to work in New Zealand because, and I quote, “working in a third world country can be highly rewarding.”

Wait, What?

This is not the content you want on your website. The end goal of these companies is to try and weasel away around Google’s formula for ranking websites to get you to the top. Google’s aim with their formula, though, is pretty simple: to provide people searching with the best websites for what they’re searching for. Why not just make your website the best one for what people are searching for, instead?

Google and SEO is a big topic, and I’ll be expanding on it in another entry very soon. Sign up for email alerts by entering your email address below to make sure you’re kept up to date!

So here’s the thing. You need an interior designer, perhaps more than you need an architect. You need a writer.

I’ve spoken to a number of people in the marketing business who have acknowledged a regular oversight in this area. What happens is that someone designs the website, and the content is left to the same people. It’s like letting the tradies pick the furniture for your house, not to criticize them, but everyone has their area of expertise. I wouldn’t go and try and build a house from the ground up with my own hands, because that’s not my area of expertise, either.

A good looking site will get people up the driveway and peeking inside, but what you need is for those people to actually open the door, come in and make themselves at home so that you can build a relationship with them.

When you’re ready to refurnish, contact me. I’ll work with you to discuss some of the best tactics that we can use to make sure that you’re getting the best out of your online marketing.

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