SEO is not as difficult as some people make it out to be. I mean, only a few years ago you could rank number one for whatever keyword you fancied by making sure you used that keyword as many times as was humanly possible.
The fact that you had no content beyond the keyword was lost on Google. If searchers were looking for cat content, you wrote ‘cat’ 14 million times and Google swooned. If you’d written ‘cat’ that many time it MUST be what the searcher wanted!
Google’s moved on.
Google is a tool at the top of its game, and its game is provided users with what they want. How it determines that depends on a variety of factors, which Google keeps pretty close to its chest.
There are ways around this. A few years ago backlinks were the thing. If people linked you then Google took this to mean that your content was so good that other websites referred to you.
Backlinks are still useful to a certain extent, but the work involved getting decent ones without, you know, just providing the useful content Google wants makes it a pretty unsustainable strategy.
What Google wants now
Whilst we’ll never know exactly what Google uses to decide where you’ll rank, there are some pretty non-negotiable things:
This is the biggy. Make sure your website is mobile friendly, it loads quickly, doesn’t bombard your users with ads, is pretty secure, and is well-formatted.
Well, kind of. What Google doesn’t want is some idiot that barely scraped through school dishing out medical advice. So if you’re an expert, give expert advice.
If you’re not an expert, tell your readers that. If you can explain basic points to them and back that up using someone else’s expertise, that’s enough for Google.
This is linked to the point above but Google LOVES unique stats, especially if you present them in a user-friendly way. Get acquainted with Google Sheets.
The best information
The way to rank is to provide the best information. In Google’s mind that can’t be achieved in 500 words, so aim for detailed, long-form content. Don’t waffle though, Google will stop reading.
The bad news
It takes time to produce content that will rank on Google, and then it’ll take time for Google to rank it. A lot of bloggers will give up before Google has started to rank their site because they’re only getting a couple of views.
You have to be patient.
The good news
If you create great, well-researched, long-form blog posts, you don’t have to worry about Google’s infamous algorithm.
You don’t need to create backlinks or do any black hat stuff. Don’t worry about keywords beyond searching for your blog post topic.
Google’s not that bothered about that stuff any more.
Google will only get better at working out what users are looking for. The new BERT update is preparing for AI-level usability tests, so it’ll be better able to decipher questions users pose.
If your content is good enough, and there’s enough of it you will rank.
How I use this information to improve my website
For a start, I dedicate almost all my time to research and writing.
I’ve more or less thrown in the towel when it comes to social media, and my blog stats haven’t suffered.
I still use Twitter and Instagram, but as networking tools, rather than promotion. It feels like less of a chore and allows me to actually enjoy my job. Groundbreaking, no?
I no longer waste hours a week making Pinterest pins and filling up my Tailwind scheduler.
I’m definitely NOT saying these tools are a waste of time and money, just that they didn’t deliver the results I wanted in comparison to the time I spent on them.
I still waste a lot of time in Pinterest, but it’s in my free time and is almost exclusively home decor-centric.
Let me let you in on a secret: no one actually knows the exact number of keyword searches, despite some companies charging you a small fortune to access their data.
I prefer to use question and answer platforms like Quora to find out what information people are searching for. Then I plug it into Google and find out if I can do a better job of answering that query than anyone else. A pretty simple keyword research strategy, but it’s free and it works, and that’s all I’m after.
Beyond finding out what information people want, I don’t worry much about keyword-related SEO. Google is intelligent enough to understand synonyms and abbreviations and all that jazz. I don’t need to plug phrases like ‘how to be vegan on a budget’ x amount of times into each post. If I stay broadly on topic, Google will know and be happy.
How I can help you
If writing isn’t your strong suit, I can do that bit for you. Producing blog content is a great strategy to bring customers to your website, but it can be huge time suck that is ultimately wasted if your posts are a scribbled down afterthought written in at 4.45pm on a Friday afternoon.
I love writing, and it shows (I think. I hope!). I’ve been blogging for nearly a decade so I know WordPress, I know how to properly format blog posts to keep people on the site, and I can sell without the hard sell.
I can bring customers to your site by writing strategic blog posts that will appeal to people who are actively looking for your website and therefore are already primed to buy.