If you want to get the most out of your blog post and website content, focus on your readers, not Google.
So you’ve spent a lot of time and effort to build what you consider to be a pretty good website. There’s just one problem: It’s not performing for your business the way you wanted or expected it to.
It’s probably not any comfort to you, but that is not only a common occurrence, but a nearly universal one for most small businesses. Your “great” site sits there, unloved and unvisited. Traffic sits stagnant; products remain unsold. And you get discouraged – especially when you look at your Google results.
If you see your site listed at all, it’s clinging to the bottom of the first page results – if you’re really lucky. If you’re not, it’s buried in the no-man’s-land behind page two, where no one dares (or bothers) to tread.
Typically the problems don’t have so much to do with the site itself as they do with expectations – particularly as related to what a site is supposed to do, how search engines work and the actual value search provides.
First of all, there is a widespread – and erroneous – perception among many businesses that a website is a form of advertising. It isn’t. It is a marketing channel; it does support advertising initiatives; it can be a powerful way to draw attention and customers to your business. But it isn’t advertising.
Advertising is necessarily interruptive; it appears before your prospective customer without them having to do anything. TV spots, banner ads, print ads, marketing emails, sponsored social media posts all qualify. Your site does not. Your site just sits there until someone takes an action in order to visit it. That can be typing in a URL or clicking on a Google link. That Google link, even an unpaid one, is advertising – the advertising you need to get people to your site, and make it work for you.
So how to get Google to cooperate? The most frequently heard answer is SEO. Search Engine Optimization is actually a catch-all term for a whole lot of somewhat-related practices, some of which work much better than others. It’s a lucrative business to be in: A lot of business owners are desperate to get traffic, and are willing to pay a lot for an expert – or a self-proclaimed expert – to try and get it.
The number of potential mistakes a bad SEO specialist can make, and the amount of damage one can actually do to your site’s search ranking and performance, is too lengthy to go into in detail about here. The biggest SEO mistake is probably the most common one: Putting search ranking above more important considerations.
If your site’s only goal is to attract Google’s attention, no problem – but that’s usually not the case. Your site’s real purpose is to engage with, and communicate to, people rather than algorithms. A human visitor to your site has a different set of expectations than Google does. Humans want:
- An enjoyable reading and viewing experience
- A logical navigation structure
- Clear, complete, and informative content
- Not to feel that their time is being wasted
- Not to feel confused
- Not to find themselves frustrated when they can’t find what they’re looking for, or find themselves looking at irrelevant information
These are User Experience considerations – and they are seldom foremost in the minds of most SEO consultants.
What most SEO consultants won’t tell you is that the most important thing that determines your Google rank isn’t the magic combination of keywords, tags, links, and optimized images that they’re selling – it’s the people who visit your site. How many there are; how long they stay; the number of pages or sections they visit; the links they click on; the number of times they return. So what’s the best way to rank well in search? Create a site that people want to come to, want to return to, and repeatedly use. Sure, links and keywords count – but not at the expense of user experience. The best way to optimize for search is to optimize for people first.
PGN Agency has a powerful track record of creating web marketing solutions that deliver outstanding experiences to all users – both search engines and human beings. To learn more, visit www.pgnagency.com.