In the ever-changing world of the internet it can feel difficult to keep up with what really matters in terms of where to focus your digital marketing efforts. Here at Etna one of our common sayings is ‘Google is King’ and in this month’s blog post, CEO Ryan Miller breaks down the one critical way you can make sure Google notices you.
By doing this you will improve your search result rankings, and even though It may sound intimidating, simply bringing your awareness to the matter can make a big impact. Follow along to learn more.
Welcome back, Ryan Miller, Founder and CEO of Etna Interactive, and we’re going to tackle today I think one of the most important questions in online marketing which is,
“What is the number one thing that you can do to help your own organic search engine rankings in Google?”
We get this question all the time. So to start off, let me frame something for you here that will help our answer make sense. Every year Moz publishes, Moz is a respected agency within the online marketing space, and they publish data on what the industry believes has the greatest influence on your search engine rankings. Let’s focus in on that first item there, the single biggest contributor to how you rank on Google are what’s called Link Signals. Let me give you a little bit more background and explanation there.
Why do backlinks, links from other sites pointing at your site, why do they matter so much? Well they serve a really simple purpose, they guide people, and they guide the search engines to find new content, new pages on your site. But more specifically in why we care about them is because Google looks at links from other sites pointing at you as little virtual votes of confidence. A signal that you have good content, that you have content that is popular, the idea here being well that people don’t link to bad sites.
Now, if those links are like little virtual votes of confidence, little endorsements, well clearly the endorser matters. Let’s do a little thought exercise together, let’s say we want to hire a contractor to do some remodel work at our house. Who’s opinion, who’s endorsement matters more? Is it maybe an architect that you’ve worked with in the past? A real estate agent that’s connected to the buying and building community in your area? Or your dog groomer who rents their place and is never engaged in a remodel project? I think you get my point, the qualitative nature of those backlinks, the nature of the sites that are linking to you ultimately matter so what kinds of links are the most helpful? Well ultimately we are looking for links that are relevant to you in at least one dimension.
So they might be relevant to you because they’re in your same industry. If you’re an ophthalmology practice it’s sites that talk about eyecare are clearly relevant. Now links as well from your local community. So if you are in Las Vegas, NV links from other businesses in the Las Vegas market that are essentially connecting you to that community, those give Google another type of important signal. And of course links from major media outlets are also really valuable. Now this is perhaps an over simplification but when we’re looking for easy signals of relevancy, the links that count, these are three categories that we know are always very helpful. Now a tiny bit of warning here, too many links from the wrong kind of sites, sites that really aren’t relevant or have low quality content, they can hurt you but that’s a topic to go deeper in on another day.
I know, I know I promised you the one answer, the one thing that you can do that’s going to be the biggest help, stick with me, we’re almost there. So how do we get links? I think it’s important to understand how that works. Generally speaking, there are three ways we go about getting them. We can earn them. Either you do something really exceptional in the real world or together we create fantastic content that gets people excited enough to link to you. For example, if you win a major award you might earn a link from the newspaper that runs the award program. If let’s say you build an amazing before and after photo gallery, people are likely to link to those cases. In addition to that there are places where we can go to where we simply have to ask. As an example, Yelp. If your business isn’t already listed it’s simply a matter of going to the site, logging in with a new user business account and creating a listing. Effectively asking their system to set you up with that new link. And there are places where we go where you can pay for links. Many of you might belong to a medical society that has a listing of it’s members. Today many of those societies, to create alternate revenue streams, will charge an annual fee to include a link to your website on your listing. Right so, we earn, we ask or we pay.
So finally, what’s the answer? What’s the number one thing that you can do? It’s simply raising your awareness and leveraging what I just taught you to either ask or earn that opportunity for the link on your own or to alert your agency partner that well something is happening in the material world that could possibly result in a link. Let me give you three examples.
So in the first of these, you are about to participate in some major industry event. Maybe you are going to be speaking at a conference. Possibly you’ve been asked to serve as a KOL for a major device or pharmaceutical company. Well, when you alert your agency partner, or when you ask on your own we can go back to your reps, your contacts, within those organizations to seek out the opportunities to leverage that real world activity into an online link. In addition to that we might look at your involvement in charities in your community. If you’re giving away gifts, whether they be cash or services, we’re going to look at those kinds of connections when you share that information with us and say there has got to be a way for us to ensure that your gift into that organization could ultimately benefit your business so that you’re in the position to donate in the next year and long into the future. Finally, when we start looking at things like maybe media coverage, you get called to participate in an interview for the 5 o’clock news, if you don’t ask it’s guaranteed that they’re not going to link to your site. But often it is as simple as talking to the producer and mentioning, ‘Hey, when you publish this video online, here is my business card, can you please make sure that you link back to our website in the story.’
Often all it takes is asking. So raising that awareness, sharing with your account executive here at Etna or asking the members of your team to be on heightened alert for those unique opportunities in the real world, that we can turn into virtual connections, virtual endorsements that will ultimately help your rankings on Google. There you have it, that’s the number one secret. If you have any questions please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or share your comments in the fields below.