Large websites (think Wikipedia) and those that have been around for a long time, often have a leg up in the competition for the top search result spots in your favorite search engines. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a shot though. In an effort to bring their customers – the people that type in the search – the best results possible, search engines like Google are weighing relevancy quite heavily. And that’s what you can use to your advantage even as a small guy. Here’s how:
Be Specific – Go After The Long Tail And Niche Down
Don’t go after a top keyword for your niche. Let’s say you’re selling blue widgets. Don’t go after the term “blue widgets”. Yes, it gets the highest search volume, but not everyone searching will be ready to buy blue widgets from you. Maybe they are looking for blue widget images because they are curious what they look like. Maybe they are looking for instructions on making their own blue widgets, or they want to find someone who can manufacture a lot of these blue widgets for their own shop.
Instead, go after the long tail. Use key phrases like “where to buy blue widgets online” or “best place to buy blue widgets in Springfield”. Even better, find a way to set yourself apart from the competition by becoming the place that sells blue widgets for bicycles. Make yourself the expert
Stay On Topic
Relevancy is all about staying on topic. A small website dedicated to share great content exclusively on one topic will rank higher than larger sites that share everything. That’s why despite its huge authority, Wikipedia doesn’t rank for everything. Even though there’s a page on just about everything on that site. Let’s say you decide to build a site about gardening. Pick a niche within that and stick to it. That’s how you may become one of the authority sites about something like rose gardening, or building a year-round herb garden.
Each time you work on a new piece of content ask yourself if it is on topic. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Relevancy matters.
Go Local Where It Makes Sense
I touched on this earlier, but it’s an important topic, so let’s dive a little deeper. Where it makes sense, it can be very beneficial to make your content local. Instead of becoming one more seller of yellow widgets online, you could become the seller of yellow widgets for your state or your town and rake in the profits.
Of course this doesn’t make sense for everyone. But let’s say you are great at email marketing. Instead of putting up yet another site and offer yet another course to everyone in the English speaking world on the topic, go after the small businesses in your area. Become the expert for email marketing in Springfield. Not only will it be much easier to rank for this longer tail keyword, it also opens up all sorts of new options for local marketing. And don’t forget about higher priced products and services that you can offer locally like in-person workshops and consultations.
Let’s Talk About User Behavior And What It Has To Do With SEO Rankings
The best SEO campaign and high rankings won’t help you if you don’t take user behavior and preferences into consideration. It starts with things as simple as what keywords and phrases you choose to rank for. If you pick something that your ideal customers and client aren’t looking for or the phrase, your content, and your offer don’t match, that keyword ranking is doing you no good.
But it goes much deeper than that. What the search engines – Google in particular – want to see is that when someone clicks on a high ranking search result matters. They want someone to click on that link, go to your site and spend some time there consuming your content. What they don’t want to see are low clicks (in comparison to other search results on that same page), or worse have someone click through to your site, hit the back button, and then go look at a different site.
What does that mean for you as a content provider? Always create your content for your target audience first. If you’re looking at a list of keywords that you want to create content around, ask yourself if a particular search term matches your audience and the content you share. If so, go ahead, if not, move on to a better keyword choice.
Then sit down and write your content for your readers first. Then, when it’s written and polished, go back and look at the title. Are you using the keyword in the title? If not, can you rework it and still have a compelling title. Remember this will be the headline that shows on social media and in the search results. The same goes for metadata like the description and the URL. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, go do a google search and look at what those individual search results look like.
Last but not least scan through the content and ensure that you’re using the keyword once or twice in the content and also related words and phrases. Search engines are smart and these latent semantic keywords help them determine what your content is about.
With well-written, targeted content you will ensure that your audience clicks and sticks, which will help you move up in the search engine rankings. Not sure if that’s the kind of content you’re creating? Ask your readers if this is what they were looking for. If it isn’t, they will tell you.