Deb and I just returned from the “PPC Classroom Live” event in Las Vegas. We want to share the most important lesson we learned…one that can improve traffic to your website. We’re talking about the way that Google determines your webpage ranking!
We’ll use Google Adwords for this analysis.
ANATOMY OF THE GOOGLE SLAP
In approximately July of 2006, the AdWords game changed. This was the time when the easy pickings stopped. People who were paying pennies per click woke up one morning to find that if they wanted to continue playing, that they’d have to bid $10 per click on the same keywords.
At the conference, one of the speakers was Simon Leung, a former Google Manager who was an insider to this change at that time.
From Google’s standpoint, it was simple. Google searches are all about the “User”(Searcher)…the person doing the search for information by typing in keyword phrases. Google felt it was no longer tolerable to let an advertiser take a searcher to non-relevant content, or webpages with more ads, etc. Google was determined to make sure that the User received relevant content when they clicked on an ad for a solution.
THIS DIDN’T JUST IMPACT PPC ADVERTISERS…BUT ALSO ORGANIC TRAFFIC, TOO!
If you think The “Slap” was only a message for advertisers, think again. The message from Google is clear. If you want to rank high on a Google search (and stay there), you need to become an Authority site. Let’s explain this a little further.
In today’s Internet, everyone is trying to get a handle on the Search Engine Optimizing (SEO) world. You hear about the importance of finding the right keywords for your website, creating backlinks to your site from others’ websites, getting articles onto Directories, having people comment on your blog with links.
Few understand what it all means! We tend to do these steps in a vacuum, without an organizing principle. If you understand what Google is looking for (and put yourself in the shoes of the consumer doing the search), it actually makes sense.
WHAT DOES GOOGLE REALLY WANT?
In a phrase…Quality Content. Whether you are leading prospects to a landing page from a PPC Ad or to a Blogsite from an organic search, the page needs to provide relevant content. Google ranks authority sites above all others. This simply means that if the searcher goes here, he/she will receive information that will help solve a particular problem they face. Sites with lots of good information including links from other sites indicate that this site is an Authority on the topic.
If you are using AdWords, all of your ad campaigns will be reviewed manually, and therefore subject to a subjective qualification. And since your bid price (or even your ability to continue the campaign) is based on this subjective standard, you better take notice.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO ATTRACT EITHER ORGANIC OR PPC TRAFFIC?
It really comes down to 2 things…
1. Have good Keyword Analysis leading to a focused website
2. Have a solid product you are promoting.
Let’s look at this from a PPC perspective. Google wants a searcher to be able to go to a website where they can get their question answered or find the product advertised. So, the first connection is to have the landing page the user visits (whether it is a blogsite or a sales letter) be very focused on that topic. For that reason, it makes the most sense to have the site focus on 1 keyword phrase. You can maximize your quality score (which is the direct link to what you pay per click) by providing relevant and valuable original content.
Further, here are a few of the other things Google looks for:
- No additional ads (other than the product advertised) on your landing pages. This is viewed as diluting the experience of the User.
- Your website should look professional. Google is a corporation now and they have a bias in this direction.
- Show that you are accessible if your customer has a problem…such as being a real person. Google likes seeing professional photos of the provider.
- Does Google get an overall feeling of quality when they visit your site and evaluate the product being offered (as measured against that for which the User might be searching)?
The Lesson…Don’t get bogged down in the various techniques you hear about to improve your Google ranking. Keep your eye on the big picture and think like your Customer…the person searching to find your stuff. If you deliver content tied to relevant keywords and you address the needs being searched, you are doing the most important thing you can for search engine positioning.
Optimize your public pages first and then add the other SEO tools to improve your positioning.
Mynders and Deb