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Spoiler Alert: I’m not going to show you new tricks or give you inside information to any trade secrets. Now that half of you stopped reading, I’ll address the other half that isn’t scrambling for a “quick-fix.”
For the most part, search engine optimization (SEO) doesn’t work out as a global strategy that will optimize for every type of query and keyword. It’s unique to each individual project. An SEO trick is just that, a trick. If it doesn’t eventually get you penalized, it will usually result in your project having a short lived jump in ranking that will gradually fall off over the weeks, or be completely negated in the next algorithm adjustment.
Speaking of which, NEVER assume that the search engines will ever stop adjusting their algorithms. They have teams of people literally being paid millions, which spend all day, every day, writing search intelligence that closes the gaps all of our SEO tricks exploit. Their mission is to have search intelligence find the actual answers to the questions that users ask search engines. Not lists of companies that gamed the system to market or sell related products in that space, but the actual answer to the users’ actual question. In essence, build something that really has all the answers. Once they’ve done that, the business model continues to work by making sure people can trust those answers for years or decades to come.
So what can you do as a long term strategy? I’ve tried explaining it recently like this:
Your, content, your website, your products and solutions, are the answer to a question. Just like the game Jeopardy!, your job is to figure out what that question is. Once you figure out what questions you answer, you have to evaluate and adjust accordingly.
“I’ll take ‘Huh?’ for $200, Alex.”
Sorry, I’ll break it down more. Once you’ve determined what questions you have the answers to, you need to really sit down and determine if those questions have any value, or rather… does anyone actually ask them? If they don’t, you need to adjust how you are leveraging your content. Figure out related types of questions that actually do generate a bit of traffic, or at least a level of interest. Work your messaging around those questions instead. What’s the point to having the answers to a question that no one asks?
If the questions you answer already have a level of interest, figure out which areas are the best performing, and really push those. Make them a focus. Become a thought leader in that space because that is where your traffic will come from. That will be where your brand becomes recognized. That is where you will see ROI.
It basically boils down to this: If you consistently answer a question with original thoughts, you won’t need tricks to rank. No matter what algorithm changes come through, if you are using best practices, and you keep your content fresh, you’ll rank consistently for a very long time. All you have to do is actually become the resource you claim to be.
Written by Scott Bouchard, Web Director of TMCnet