Here’s your fun fact for the day—75% of people do not look beyond the first page of Google Search. I did not look beyond the first page for that data. In fact, I clicked on the first result, which a whopping 28.5% of searchers do. Click-through rates drop dramatically after this, falling to 15% for result #2, then to 11% for #3. Few seekers would even notice if page two and beyond disappeared from the results.
So if you’re with a business or organization that relies on web traffic, you must rank high on SERPs (search engine results pages) to overcome our species’ tendency to fall in love at first site.
When it comes to SERP ranking, there’s a lot at stake. A higher ranking = better visibility = more website traffic = increased engagement/revenue. A low ranking = being locked in the internet gallows = slow, grizzly, e-commerce death. This gives SERPs like Google, and other ones that apparently exist, an immense amount of power over your business. Basically, operating a website is the modern equivalent of a medieval serf petitioning a king for favor.
Serf, kneeling: “I bring you my humble website, m’lord.”
Lord Google: “Very well, peasant. I shall rank it on my second page!”
Serf, in despair: “But m’lord, my website is the best in all the land! And I rely on my site to feed my family!”
Lord Google: “Now it’s on the third page!”
Serf, falling to the ground: “Please, m’lord, have mercy. I beg of you!”
Lord Google: “FOURTH. PAGE.”
Begging and pleading like a starving commoner is futile. The only path to ranking success is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the sophisticated process of convincing Lord Google your site is worthy to sit atop the SERP.
“The SEO strategy is dead! Long live the SEO strategy!”
The problem with Google is that, like the whims of a 14th-century feudal lord, its ranking algorithm is constantly changing.
Long, long ago (the 90’s), at the dawn of search engines, SEO dominance was as simple as littering a website with keywords and spammy links. For example, if Mabble existed in 1997, and we wanted a high ranking on primitive Google when people searched for “full-service creative agency Reno”, our website might have featured riveting copy like this:
“Mabble Media is a full-service creative agency in Reno, an agency full of services that creates in Reno, which is the city where Mabble, as an agency, is creating full-servicely.”
Google doesn’t fall for this kind of copywriting trickery anymore. In fact, it now penalizes you for it (as it rightfully should). As Google’s fiefdom expanded, its algorithm evolved, enabling the search engine to effectively weed out copywriters trying to game the system with keyword stuffing. Think you can get away with it today? Think again. Unless your second thought is also that you can get away with it. In that case, think as many times as it takes to not think that.
The point is that old SEO strategies are as deceased as the scorched knights who thought they could sneak a gold chalice from the sleeping dragon’s lair. And as Google Search’s algorithm continues to evolve, SEO strategies need to as well, or face the same fiery fate.
So what SEO strategy works today?
There are two components of an effective SEO strategy that make the biggest difference: building a well-designed website, and creating quality content.
- Building a Well-Designed Website
As with a moat, there’s no getting around this one. Your website needs to be fast, easy to navigate, and engaging (on both desktop and mobile) in order to earn a high ranking. If your site offers a bad user experience (UX), Lord Google will banish it to the nether regions of his realm, where it will rot alongside broken URLs and derivative listicles.
Your website also needs to sport technical features like keyword-rich titles, meta descriptions, alt attributes, and H1 tags. Don’t know what these are? Lord Google does. And he craves them like exotic spices from lands afar. This is why it pays to have your website built by professionals who know how to optimize these features.
- Creating Quality Content
Like knights riding in on faithful steeds, quality pieces of content can besiege Castle Google. But this content needs to be written by humans, for humans—and show originality.
For example, if an artificial intelligence were writing this article, would it be running with a medieval theme to explain SEO? No it would not. It would recycle language from other SEO articles, which contain far less whimsy (I didn’t even need to search this to know how deficiently whimsical they are). But would a human write like this? One is, apparently. And Lord Google’s web crawling bots are pleased with this blog writing minstrel because of the originality.
But human to human writing involves more skill than using random historical references to convey information—it requires attributes like contextual language, logical organization, and grammatical precision, to name a few. This article, for example, includes relevant keywords, contextual terms, and organized sections (with headers and subheaders)—plus backend meta tags. Put another way, this article on SEO was also written for SEO.
And, in what seems counterintuitive to our species’ rapidly shortening attention span, long-form content is extra important for SEO. Why? Because the more time people spend on your site, the higher it will rank. But, as I’ve mentioned, people like us are hard to keep focused. (The first search result told me that our attention spans average just over eight seconds. It only took me two seconds to learn this.) So providing consistently well-written content is the only way to ensure that more people will click on your website and stay for a while.
How long does SEO take?
Our human impatience appears in another way—we want SEO results now. So people often fall for “get ranked quick” SEO schemes, the modern equivalent of the mysterious cloaked figure sitting alone in a darkened tavern offering you an elixir that will make Lord Google instantly fall in love. But don’t drink the potion, o reader! It’s a trap.
As is true in pretty much every area of life, shortcuts don’t work. Doing SEO the right way takes time and money—but it’s worth the investment.
Building a premiere website pays off in the long run, not only for SEO, but by actually giving your audience a site that increases engagement. And creating compelling, quality content is also an investment. But in addition to an SEO boost, content creation has the added benefit of providing valuable resources to your audience, building your organization’s credibility and establishing trust in the process.
The point is that SEO success is achieved after a long SERP siege. And as search engine algorithms continue to evolve, quality websites with quality content will continue to rise to the top of the page.
Mabble’s SEO Difference
As a Reno-based, full-service creative agency that creates full-servicely in Reno, Mabble offers SEO. And, unlike the cloaked figure offering black hat trickery, we perform the best practices for long term success. Our SEO process is not cookie cutter by any means, but involves four key steps:
- Auditing your website
We assess your website’s speed, functionality, design, and a slew of technical features because, as the olde Saxon proverb I just made up goes, “Know ye site before you grow ye site.”
- Developing your SEO strategy
This step includes bundles of research—from identifying keywords to analyzing your competitors’ content to discovering your target audience’s behavior—all to determine the wisest course of action for you.
- Optimizing your current web copy for SEO
Next, we take the words you currently have on your site and replace them with other words, better words, words that humans like, words that Lord Google demands. In other words, our writing is by humans for humans.
- Creating monthly content for you
Whether it be blog posts or landing pages, we create quality content that provides value for your audience.
Speaking of content, thanks for reading this long-form piece of ours. You clearly possess the greatest of human attention spans. And, since you’ve spent so much time with us, Lord Google is pleased with Mabble because of you.
So fare thee well, noble reader. You’ve helped our ranking, and we’d be happy to help you with yours.
If you want Mabble to be your valiant SEO knight, learn more here.
We can also build you a website that boosts SEO right away.