3 Strategies to Google-Proof Your Business
No, I don’t have a “get out of jail free” card for you that promises to shield you from future updates. And there aren’t any magical formulas to stay safe, but there are some killer strategies to grow your business outside of reliance on Google.
I have done tons of research since the newest updates and after listening to webmaster’s comments, watching the forums, and following Google around like a lost puppy, I have come up with three strategies I believe are essential to growing a business in this new “post-spam” paradigm.
1. Go lateral – Uniqueness
We have discussed this topic in previous articles, but I want to continue to highlight it because I believe it is vitally important.
You face millions of competitors and all are vying for the first 10 spots. If you do the math, your chances are not that great. That doesn’t mean you can’t rank for keywords and acquire some great traffic. With a good dose of effort, great rankings are attainable. But, it’s important to extend your strategies beyond just trying to rank.
Many of our readers have overcome their hurdles and landed some decent rankings. I applaud you for your effort. But to maintain those rankings, Google is forcing us to think about our business APART from ranking. It seems counter-intuitive but there is some truth to it.
We must build laterally. What do I mean by that? Instead of focusing on the vertical movement of higher or lower rankings, think about reaching across the aisle and connecting with your customers/readers/audience. You may do that already, but have you made it the main priority OVER Google rankings?
To connect with your audience and stand out from your competition, you must create a unique selling point.
If your customer visited 100 of your competitors and came to your site next, would they have a different experience? Would you offer something slightly different?
Your unique selling point doesn’t necessarily need to be a high-cost membership program or rewards system, although those are effective. If your budget is low, consider re-framing what you offer to make it appear unique.
For example, I offer content writing services just like thousands of other writers online. But, I found a targeted niche and created a clever catch phrase to appeal to clients. Instead of just being a content writer, I also offer “content makeovers.” This small change, though my services are similar to others, are offered in a unique package to attract clients…and it works!
If you put your creative thinking cap on, I am sure you can put a unique spin on your offerings and cleverly attract more business. Think about your sales process from start to finish and brainstorm ideas at every level. Your unique selling point is something Google cannot touch, because even if you lose your rankings, your customers will remember you because you are different.
2. Stop focusing on the numbers
2,000 Facebook likes? 15,000 Twitter followers?
How many numbers are circling around in our heads at any given time? Too many!
Metrics are important and I would never tell you to stop testing. But, all too often we become “number maniacs” and focus more on growing them instead of the value we are adding to our customers.
So you acquired 1,000 more visitors to your website this month…did it result in any more sales? Any more leads? If not, you may be too focused on the numbers.
Along with measuring metrics, ensure your offerings match your level of effort you invested to increase your numbers, so when they start to rise, you will get real results and increase your profits.
3. Stay Present – Be Honest
Believe it or not, I use this mantra in every area of my life. It speaks to me because staying present in current reality helps us to look past our emotional reactions and devise strategies to overcome our challenges.
I read a lot of emotional backlash in the Google webmaster forums. Irate people are looking for answers to their website woes trying to lash out at Google because they are so angry. Now I understand why they are upset…most people would be if their traffic suddenly vanished.
But, imagine if these webmasters used this fiery passion to devise new strategies to please their customersand to take a look at why their site was downgraded. They could use this energy to come up with solutions instead. Approximately 90% of the people who lash out in the forums soon realize they have shady backlink profiles.
Have you ever used questionable tactics in the past? I know I have. I have placed articles with links attached in article directories and blogs for the SOLE purpose of acquiring links. And if one of these sites was downgraded, I would understand why.
Some websites were innocent and still experienced downgrades. And this is an unfortunate side effect of Google algorithm changes. But I bet that most of the sites that claim they are innocent can find a few instances where things could have been more customer-focused rather than link-focused.
Can you become completely Google proof? No, but you can tip the scales in your favor.
Is SEO still a viable online marketing strategy? Yes. It is still alive and well, but it is finally becoming exactly what Google meant for it to become.
The very name “search engine optimization” denotes optimizing a website for the search engines. We used to think optimizing meant manipulating to achieve higher rankings. Yet, Google never saw it that way and now its algorithm reflects that ideal. There are techniques you can implement that will help Google find your site and know exactly what it is about, but any type of manipulation could result in a downgrade.
What do you think? How do you feel about Google and the backlash against it?