Why You Shouldn’t Rely on SEO Alone

Why You Shouldn’t Rely on SEO Alone

The problem is, as the way people interact with search engines changes, so do SEO strategies. This is illustrated by the way we now use Google. Step #1: Find demographic data on your users. Now you need to turn all those numbers into reader personas that help you write directly to your reader. By using the demographic data to create a user persona, you can do the same thing for your online content. Then, you can take this data and create a detailed user persona. Write for your readers Writing for your readers is something I talk about quite a bit, including how to suck your readers in, keep them on the page, and push them to convert. Step #1: Create a conversation Have you noticed that I ask a lot of questions in my articles? Second, if you want to rank in Google, you need to answer a searcher’s question better than every other post out there. Sometimes, data tells you one thing, while SEO ‘best practices’ tell you it won’t work.

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rely on seo

If you have been in Internet marketing for more than a few weeks, you have likely read that SEO is dead.

Let’s get this out of the way. This is not that article.

Every time a new Google update rolls out (which is an average of three times every day, according to Gary Illyes), someone says “SEO is dead.”

Seriously, a search of “SEO is dead” turns up over a million search results.

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And some of these articles are new!

I am here to tell you that SEO is not dead. SEO will never be dead.

But SEO isn’t all that matters.

First things first. What do we mean by SEO?

At its core, SEO (search engine optimization) is a set of strategies aimed at making sure your site turns up in the search results when a user types a word or phrase into a search engine.

The problem is, as the way people interact with search engines changes, so do SEO strategies.

Which means this:

SEO is constantly changing

I recently bought this zucchini spiralizer.

Cool, huh?

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Stick with me. I have a point here.

The first time I used it, I got a mess of half broken zoodles.

The second time, I cut my finger.

By the fifth time I used it, I was a pro at applying just the right amount of pressure to get the perfect zucchini noodle.

The same thing happens with search. As users get used to the technology, they get better at using it.

As they get better at using it, Google adjusts the algorithm to provide a better product.

The most recent example of this is the shift toward semantic search.

What’s semantic search? Here’s the definition according to Moz,

Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding a searcher’s intent through contextual meaning. Through concept matching, synonyms, and natural language algorithms, semantic search provides more interactive search results through transforming structured and unstructured data into an intuitive and responsive database. Semantic search brings about an enhanced understanding of searcher intent, the ability to extract answers, and delivers more personalized results. Google’s Knowledge Graph is a paradigm of proficiency in semantic search.

This is illustrated by the way we now use Google. In the past, we might have typed “carpet cleaner Chicago,” while today we might ask Siri, “Who is the best carpet cleaner near me?”

One of the most interesting features about our industry is that it is constantly changing, but this also makes it more challenging.

So, if SEO is so important, why am I saying you shouldn’t rely on SEO alone?

Because SEO is constantly changing!

The strategy that works for a carpet cleaner in Chicago isn’t necessarily going to work for a tech startup in San Francisco.

What to do instead of just SEO

Web users perform trillions of searches every month.

Most of them happen on Google.

In fact, Google owns nearly 80% of the search market as of July 2017.

So, how do you get your content to stand out when

According to Moz, SEOs in 2017 should be focusing on four things:

  • Mobile First Indexing
  • Natural Language
  • Local Search
  • Video

KO Marketing Lists a total of 30 SEO best practices for B2B brands, including creating optimized landing pages, personalized content, security, and link acquisition.

In 2016 during a Google Q&A session, Google’s Audrey Lipattsev revealed that links, content, and RankBrain are the top three ranking factors Google considers for organic search.

This is important information, but it still doesn’t tell us what aspects of those factors matter.

We’re left to figure out the details on our own.

With so many “best practices” and hundreds of ranking factors to consider, it can get overwhelming to figure out what really matters when all you want to do is rank well.

The reason you shouldn’t focus on SEO alone is simple.

No single strategy is going to help every business rank #1 on Google.

More than 200 factors are used by Google to determine your search ranking, meaning there is no magic bullet.

Instead of chasing every new update from Google (three a day, remember!), you are much more likely to succeed using these not-totally-SEO-focused strategies:

  • Figure out who your readers are.
  • Write for your readers, not search engines.
  • Make your site easy to use.
  • Follow the data.

Let’s look into what each of these strategies entails.

Figure out who your readers are

Learning who your readers are and what they really want is one of the most important skills you need in order to be an effective writer.

Sure, you need to be able to write clearly and develop your voice. Those things matter. But you also need to understand who your readers are.

And not just in a general sense of ‘Our readers like gaming’ or ‘Our readers like learning about digital marketing.’

You need actual data about who your readers are so that you can tailor your content to them.

To do this, you need to gather demographic data and then create reader personas.

Step #1: Find demographic data on your users.

Demographics are the most basic characteristics about your readers. The most useful demographics for most businesses include the following:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Education level
  • Income level
  • Marital status
  • Family size

The information that matters to your brand might be a little different, but this list is a good start.

If you already have readers, this data will be pretty easy to find using a few tools.

First, you can use paid tools, like Demographics Pro for Hootsuite, Alexa, or Quantcast.

You can pull much of this data for free using Google Analytics and social media.

Even just the basic audience report from GA will give you information about where your audience is located and what devices they are using.

For even more detailed information, you can enable the Demographics and Interests reports.

Here’s how to do so.

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After about 24 hours you will have access to a host of data about your users, including gender and age.

Another free way to get demographic data is through Facebook Insights.

Go to your Facebook business page, then click on Insights > People.

You will see a report that gives you the gender, age, location, and language of the people who like your page:

These statistics will give you insight into who your readers are and where they are located.

For more detailed data, you could do a survey of your readers through Survey Monkey or Google Forms.

  • Define the…