White Hat, Black Hat, Red Hat, Blue Hat!
The year is 2018 and search engine algorithms have never had such a fun time screwing with small business owners. Before we get into the meat of this article, let’s go over some definitions.
- White Hat: Legal, professional methods of developing traffic, user relations, and as a result, an increase in search engine ranking.
- Black Hat: Illegal, spammy methods of “attempting” to attract a large audience. This can involve purchasing links, spam bots, fake traffic and other despicable acts.
- Red Hat/Blue Hat: Total nonsense. I thought the title would be funny.
- Backlink: A method of Increasing PA/DA. Website “A” has an article written by site “B” which contains a hyperlink which directs traffic to site “B” There are many forms of backlinks and learning how to obtain and manage these can be a tricky endeavor.
- Domain Authority (DA): Moz developed Domain Authority (DA) which is “a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.”
- Page Authority (PA): Page Authority (PA) is a score developed by Moz that predicts how well a specific page will rank on search engine result pages (SERP). Page Authority scores range from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.
- Keywords: These babies help search engine’s decide what your site is about. Seeking to increase traffic on ones website, one will want to obtain a stronger ranking in keywords that fit the business’ niche.
Recently, Google proclaimed RankBrain as their third most important ranking factor: “In the few months it has been deployed, RankBrain has become the third-most important signal contributing to the result of a search query.”
As RankBrain ages, it will become more and more relevant. Spooky! Fear not, you are here reading this well-rehearsed post.
What is RankBrain, exactly? And how can you optimize for it?
RankBrain is an algorithm that Google is using to determine how important your website is. It does this by measuring search engine user’s actions and reactions. For example, one might decide to look for a web designer online. Designer “A” has a cruddy website with outdated graphics and far fetched promises, so you leave the site quickly. Next you find Designer “B” and decide this is your new best friend. After reading some of his blog posts and reviewing his services, you send him a message (or not.)
This prolonged reaction will give designer “B” a boost in their web rankings, meanwhile Designer “A” gets virtually nothing for your short visit.
So now that we understand Google is ranking websites based on organic traffic quantity and dwell time, we can go over what your SEO campaign should focus on.
To successfully create an SEO optimized business page, you’ll want to focus on a few major points.
Creating Quality Content
These three factors play (debatably) the biggest roles in driving traffic to your website – and keeping it there. You can spend all the money in Kim Jong Un’s underground vault and it wouldn’t keep a knock-off jewelry site high in the rankings for long, because search engines care more about quality content.
Your website should contain unique, valuable information. This excludes your purchasable products/services. People need a reason to be on your site without spending money, it builds relations, which build trust, which drives sales. Ask yourself- Would you spend $100 on a few pounds of gourmet coffee from a website that doesn’t have any information about the type of coffee, its background, or why it is different from coffee at Dunkin? NO! In order to succeed, you must stand out.
Keywords tell people and search engines alike what your website is all about. A medical marijuana dispensary might focus on keywords like “medicinal marijuana, cannabis, CBD” It is important to research your competitor’s keywords, in order to understand what is available. See, telling search engines you are about medical marijuana is easy, but getting them to rank you near the top for a popular keyword is a lot tougher. This is because there are two hundred other medicinal marijuana dispensaries competing for the same niche! Find keywords that describe your business, without going with the obvious and practically synonymous options.
Credible and valuable backlinks can be hard to come by. Many times, the answer is to simply invest funds into purchasing worthwhile backlinks. Doing so can save time, however links to your website from patrons who genuinely enjoy your service are invaluable. To check the value of a website’s backlink, you’ll want to check on the site’s Domain Authority and Page Authority. These will give you an idea of the site’s popularity.
In summary, search engines are making it more difficult to “attempt” to rank highly. Search engines want to decide for themselves which websites deserve to be ranked first, and they will decide mainly from how long a user remains on your website, as well as by the quantity of organic traffic reaching your site. By providing visitors with quality, unique content to consume and by making use of your niche’s less competitive keywords, one can create a successful SEO campaign. Backlinks (through guest posting or paid posting) can be extremely beneficial, however the process is hard to begin, costly at times, and likely requires some unique, interesting content already available on your site.