SERIOUSLY? HIGH SCHOOL?
Once you understand what it means to be "popular" in Google (and other search engine eyes) your organic search results will improve quicker than your teens can binge this beloved series. That explains my choice of leading off with an image of the high school from the Wilmington, NC-filmed TV series "One Tree Hill."
Google wants to see who the "cool" sites are and share that content with more people.
Google does this by ranking sites they like higher in organic search results.
First, Google likes sites that are what they say they are. (Okay, this is better than high school.)
Your search ranking goes up when Google crawlers hit your site and cascade down a waterfall of headlines, content and key words that all support your name and what you do.
Be sure to include the most important words and search terms at the top of your home page, in the first headline and first sentence of copy.
For a donut business in Charlotte, "donuts" and "Charlotte" should show up consistently throughout the site. A post on whether it's "doughnuts" or "donuts" also helps people find you that don't know how to spell your name.
Who's Talking About You?
Second, Google loves it when sites with strong readership link to you, and you link back to them.
Links from media outlets to your site attract Google's attention. Those links tell search engines that you are "popular" and that others might want to know about you. Links to and from partnering business sites, associations, CVBs or TDAs count here, too. When you land a media placement, ASK the writer or blogger to link to your website.
The larger the media outlet and the more frequently you are included in media stories, the higher your site will rank in organic search results.
Act Like Homecoming Royalty
My high school's homecoming queen had a nice word for everyone. Show your site visitors you value them, and Google will deem you most popular:
A. Regularly post new stories of VALUE to your visitors. A 500-word piece works great for a blog post. (This length tends to change, depending on what SEO expert you are talking to--search online for the latest recommended lengths.) It's better to do a short post than to do nothing. Add content at least once each month.
B. Use video and pictures to tell your stories. Keep sentences short. Be sure to include search information called alt tags on your imagery, too.
C. Attach your brand's active social media accounts to your site. (Remember the value of links? Social sites are huge!) Use social media to share your content--more than once.
Targeting the right social channels and advertising your post in those platforms can help get the link in front of the right people. Buying Google Adwords works for some clients, depending on the competition for the keywords.
Follow these basic concepts, and your next honor will be "Most Likely To Succeed."
True confession: I was a nerd in high school. -- Susan