Trying to figure out where to start with improving your search rankings can be difficult. I know, because I’m working on mine as I’m writing this.
There are so many things you could add, improve, and pay for in order to hopefully jump up towards the holy grail that is the first page of Google…
…where do you start?
In an attempt to make things easier for myself, and you, I’ve compiled 3 strategies I learned at my Search Marketing Success Summit, that are perfect for us small business owners who don’t have a big team or huge budget.
1. EAT – it’s not a snack!
How does search ranking improvement in 60 days sound?
Really good, I hope, as there’s not really a way to increase your Google ranking overnight.
Did you know that Google has 10,000 people working as ‘Quality Raters’?
Have you heard this before?
Me neither, until Marie Haynes, owner at Marie Haynes Consulting told me.
According to Marie, they’re responsible for looking at websites and determining whether the content is good or bad quality according to a set of guidelines, the QRG.
Google then uses this data and mimics it in their algorithm.
This is one of the ways that Google determines if your site is a high-quality website or not.
So, it’s obviously something important.
According to Google, the acronym E-A-T is one of the 3 top considerations for page quality ranking.
And no, it’s doesn’t have anything to do with snacks…
E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. This means the page and its associated content is seen as expert, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness for the topic discussed.
So how do you fulfill these criteria?
For expertise, you need to show you’ve got the appropriate credentials and mention this in your content. What level of expertise you need to rank, depends on your field.
Giving out high-level medical advice? Well, then you should be a doctor to be considered an expert.
It’s as you can see quite straightforward. If you’re not after giving out ‘your-life-depends-on it’ type advice, just focus on being helpful and Google will reward you!
To fulfill the authoritativeness and trustworthiness factors, content should be sufficient to satisfy the needs of a user. Your website needs to be complete with pages such as “about us” and “contact us”, and designed in a functional, easy-to-navigate, way.
So how important is this for your ranking? Well some experts, including Marie, claim that getting E-A-T right is more important than links.
Safe to say that it’s something you should pay attention to!
2. Ramp up traffic and borrow credibility
This golden nugget I learned from Peter Caputa, CEO at Databox, and means good news for all of you small business owners or ‘solopreneurs.’
Because it’s scalable my friend, and you don’t need big bucks to make it happen. It works organically, and you don’t need a big team.
The gist of this strategy is reaching out to experts on a topic, and inviting them to make a guest post on your blog, or ask if you can use one of their quotes for an article or post.
Peter says they do about 10 articles a month that are crowdsourced using this strategy.
This means they source quotes from 10-30 people and highlight the answers in the article resulting in titles like: “12 SEO tips”, “25 Facebook ad tips”.
You might recognize it from…
…this very article you’re reading now. Yup, I practice what I preach!
1. Come up with a question you want experts to answer
2. Reach out to these experts via social media, preferably in relation to an article or post on the topic you want to write about. This way, the topic is “warm”
3. Send the expert a form with one, maximum two questions with open-ended answers. For example: what is your favorite marketing tool, and why?
If you’re thinking: Why should I add this strategy to my already busy plate, Liam?
It’ll be worthwhile if you’re looking to ramp up traffic to your website and if you’re struggling to produce high-quality content at the rate you’d like to be posting.
Also, if you suspect your EAT rankings could benefit from the expertise and credentials of guest contributors – this is perfect.
3. Utilize the underutilized to stand out
Another one of my favorite search tactics comes from a Sydney mate of mine, and one of the savviest marketers I know.
Andrew Thorn, Founder and CEO of DigitalMaas, gifted us with another tactic every small business owner should know about – schema markup techniques.
What the heck is that, you might ask?
Let me tell you, it’s something you most likely see every single day using Google. Because let’s be honest, we Google everything, right?
From the opening hours of our local pizza joint, to a recipe for Christmas turkey, or how to get those d*mn’ Facebook ads to perform!
If Google doesn’t understand completely what your website is about, and why you’re helpful when people search for your specific topic, you’ll struggle to rank.
Schemas can help with that by using rich results.
If you’re not using schemas, you’ll be missing out more and more. 70% of current search results are rich results which in turn are relying on schema information.
Let me give you a few examples:
If you’ve ever Googled an event, it most likely came up with what’s called an event panel and venue calendar.
You can use this for your conference or meetup!
How about the step-by-step list you’ll see when Googling a receipt? You can use this for a step-by-step instruction on how to write an awesome blog post.
You see, the schemas can be suited to your specific needs.
This is a super hack as schemas are very underutilized, and so give you a great opportunity to stand out in search.
Just remember where you heard it first, alright?
I know the jungle of search marketing can be overwhelming to understand, so I hope these 3 strategies help you get an idea of where you can get started today.
Just keep in mind that there isn’t a magic wand to instantly put you at the top of the search results.
Like with any successful marketing, search comes down to good content, giving value, being a little clever, and using the tools and strategies available.
I encourage you to keep at it in the long-run. Giving up never got anyone on that first page.
- Work on fulfilling your E-A-T criteria: Mention expertise and credentials in your content. Make sure your content is detailed enough to meet the needs of a reader whilst also making sure your website is easy to navigate and is up to date.
- Source 10-15 experts on a topic you want to rank for. Search for articles or posts on social media which they have written, and start a conversation based on this content. Ask them for a guest article or a quote.
- Research schemas and consider the different ways they could be used to better display your content. Think outside the box!
Result You Will Achieve
Organic improvement of search ranking for your small business, without a big budget or team.
This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.