How to dominate Google (and a couple of other search engines) – yes; we are going to teach you just that, and we can also actively help you achieve the desired result.
We’re not going to reveal any tricks or gimmicks here that would allow one to fool Google into displaying links to your website all over the top of the first search page. Instead, this blog post by Van West Media offers you a practical, actionable strategy and a set of tactics and techniques to improve your search engine ranking and make it easier for people to find you. If you follow our advice, and especially if you enlist our everyday help, your business will rule search engines the way ancient Roman emperors once ruled the entire civilized world.
One crucial thing to realize about SEO strategy for your business is that it cannot be treated as something separate from your overall business strategy. Good SEO is the result of many factors, both online and offline, and should be correctly integrated within the overall marketing plan of your business with how you advertise, with how well you network, what types of customers you engage, and so on. Good SEO comes from smart business decisions.
There are two key factors to SEO applied to your website:
Relevance is determined by content. You have to define your market, create a list of specific things that your business does, and continuously generate high-quality, high-relevance content to express your expertise and usefulness in these areas, to give your potential readers valuable knowledge. There can be significant overlap in the categories you define, and that is fine, because search engine optimization is not an exact science, it’s somewhat haphazard and evolution-like in its essence. For example, here’s a broad and incomplete overview of what Van West Media does well, and you will see the overlap here:
- inbound marketing
- digital marketing
- traditional marketing
- social media marketing
- content marketing
- website design
- web application design
- web development
- php programming
- wordpress programming
- magento programming
- wordpress e-commerce
- responsive web design
- digital marketing for nonprofit organizations
This list is only an example. It could be expanded, and structured better: categorized by broad areas and drilled down to small details. For the purpose of providing an example, it will suffice. You should create a complete, exhaustive list like that, for your own business. Then you should start generating real, valuable, user-friendly content on all these subjects. You should publish such content on your main website, on the landing pages you create “around” your website, on your social media pages and (this is the most neglected but perhaps most important tactic!) on other people’s websites. A bit later I will tell you why it is so important to publish your content on other people’s web pages, but for now let’s move on to the second key factor of SEO: popularity.
Popularity is determined by traffic and the number of high quality links from other websites to yours. Popularity is related to relevance; if your website has a vast amount of useful, practical content on the subjects that are relevant to what your business does, owners of other websites will link to yours.
Content is extremely important because it increases both relevance and popularity of your website, and promotes it via search engines.
There is a Catch-22 here, though. Your website may have a lot of great content, but if people do not know your website exists, they may never read it (or link to it). In order to be popular, you need to already be popular, it seems.
This is where you do need a bit of strategizing. Search Google, Yahoo, and Bing for SEO in your area. Van West Media is located in New York City, so I would be searching the terms “SEO NYC” or “SEO New York City,” or even “SEO Manhattan” – but you could be using the key phrase “SEO Boston,” or “SEO Philadelphia,” or “SEO LA,” and so on. The assumption here is that if a local SEO firm truly knows its stuff, the firm will be dominating the search engine results locally. It would be somewhat useless to search just SEO, without the locality associated with it, because the search results will be dominated by websites that provide information about SEO, such as moz.com and, wikipedia.org, and – well, Google itself.
Having searched for SEO <your geo-location>, take notice of the company that dominates Google. Then, search Google for the business name of that company!
For example, a firm called Giant Owl, Inc. is one of the alpha dogs of the “SEO NYC” Google search. So I next search Google, using “giant owl inc” as my search key phrase. The good thing about Google is that it will tell me everything there is to know about the company I’m searching for. If it’s online, and had been indexed by Google, I will see it by simply searching Google. And SEO strategy of a business, by the very nature of the beast, is transparent to Google. Whatever they did to become number one, I can see it, and so can you.
Together, we’ll become, in a way, not unlike apprentice artists learning by copying works by Rembrandt, in the same way as Rembrandt himself learned his art by copying works by Leonardo, and Leonardo learned by copying the works by Greek and Roman artists, and those learned by copying the works by the Neanderthals.
Once you review and analyze the firms that out-ranked others at SEO had done for themselves, you can apply their tactics to your own business. Obviously, you will be promoting yourself not as an “SEO expert” but as an expert in your area of business, but the overall principles are the same.
Here’s a brief list of things you can – and should – do:
1. Create a comprehensive list of search keywords and key phrases relevant to your business.
2. Regularly create and publish content based on that list. The content should be published on your website (blog or multiple blogs), via your social media accounts, and on other people’s websites.
3. Entice people to follow you on Google + (yes, that social media platform never seemed to truly take off, and yet Google loves it and promotes websites linked to a Google+ account with great enthusiasm).
4. Register your website with Alexa.
5. Get accredited with Better Business Bureau.
6. Regularly publish press releases via PRWeb.
7. Create accounts with websites that profile leading service providers in their fields.
8. Submit your business information to important business directories or directories unique to your business.
9. Create a YouTube business account and use it to advertise your unique value proposition.
10. Advertise for jobs on major hiring websites. Advertise for the best – this will create the image of the business that has high expectation toward its employees (and therefore, clients have reasons to think of you as a pro).
11. Have very active visual social media accounts: Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
12. Make sure to obtain a number of real, positive reviews for your business on Yelp.
13. Join the local chamber of commerce and run public events there.
14. Publish an expert article, and get picked up by a large business news source (e.g., FastCompany.com).
15. Negotiate with all your clients the possibility of them linking to your website. If they agree, educate them on how to best link you your site.
16. Motivate your current and former employers to link to your website from their personal web pages and social media accounts, (e.g., LinkedIn).
17. Most importantly: determine in what ways you and your business are unique. There is always something that you can do better than anyone else in the world, or at least in your local area. Play to your strength and advertise that on your website, etc.
Have you found this blog post helpful? Would you like us to help you with improving SEO for your business website? Drop us a line.