It’s difficult predicting the future especially in the SEO world.
But recently Google came out with some changes around guest blogging and it really wasn’t that big of a shock.
It seems like every time people figure out how to shoot up the rankings quickly that Google kind of pulls back on things. The reason this comes as a shock to people is that they build their rankings up and then all of a sudden those rankings go back to where they started.
For companies of all sizes that come to depend on that traffic and revenue it’s quite the shock to the system. And for some it’s difficult to carry on.
But Google hasn’t really changed its purpose over the years. They’ve been telling people for a long time that doing the things in the best interest of consumers is the best SEO.
Let’s break this thing down into what SEO isn’t and what SEO is.
- Link Building
It’s really that simple.
Google doesn’t have all the rankings where they want them. It’s still possible to game the system in different ways, but Google has shown over the last few years that they are perfectly capable of snipping off tactics one by one. So if you’re doing something that gets you to the top quicker than what might be considered normal then you’re in danger.
However, if you follow the things that lead to good business practice in the long-term you’re likely to benefit from Google’s rankings.
Business SEO Of The Future
Up above you’ll see two common SEO terms: 1. Link Building and 2. Keywords.
It’s not that these two things are inherently bad, but over time they’ve come to be associated with spam and in the SEO world, spam is bad. Spam leads to poor search results and that makes Google look bad. Google doesn’t want to look bad. They’re trying to win people over. They’re a business after all.
For a long time, Google has been talking about links and keywords. However, in Google’s context these two things were the result and not the cause.
The trouble was that getting links and focusing on keywords appeared as the cause of good rankings because it was for a time. Get links and focus on keywords and you move up – simple.
But over time Google has fixed this issue and focused more on reputation, which appears to be what Google wanted the rankings to focus on all along. Links and keywords were indicators of reputation. If you had a good reputation (for selling something in demand and being a good citizen), you got links naturally for relevant keywords.
Now it’s time to focus back on the cause of a solid business SEO strategy – reputation and demand.
Action Step #1 – Sell Something People Demand
This one is simple in concept, but difficult in practice. I can’t tell you how to sell something people demand. I wish I could. I could retire on a beach somewhere.
Most businesses would excel at marketing if they focused more on merchandise and services. That’s what consumers buy after all.
People don’t buy discounts. Engagement doesn’t pay the bills.
Marketing can help, but it becomes easier if you have something people demand.
Google knows if you’re selling something in demand. They see the signals that you’re doing well and in the future that will be a big indicator that you’re a reputable company and worthy of rankings.
Action Step #2 – Use Content To Attract New Customers
The old saying is that content is king or content is important.
Content is in demand online. People want all kinds of information and those that are providing the content people want and need are finding that they can demand a lot of attention.
That’s really what content marketing is…
It’s about businesses attracting a target audience by providing content.
Use content throughout your entire sales process. At Ghost Blog Writers, we focus on the entire sales process for our clients. We create content that attracts attention of early stage target customers. That creates the discovery. Then we focus on content that earns trust and gets people through the sales process until they make a purchase.
Here is an example for a plumbing company:
Discovery Stage: How To Unclog A Drain
Second Stage: 11 Hacks To Make Your Bathroom More Efficient
Third Stage: 15 Amazing Bathrooms To Inspire Your Bathroom Remodel
Fourth Stage: How To Pick The Best Bathroom Contractor
Fifth Stage: Planning Your New Bathroom Or Bathroom Remodel
Each content cycle is different, but you get the point. This process attracts the target customer at all stages of the sales cycle.
Action Step #3 – Make Customers Happy
Finally, it goes back to traditional customer service, which is making customers happy.
When you have a good business with good people this will come naturally.
Make your best customers happy. And try to make the good customers happy too.
However, if you have a few bad customers you have no obligation to try and make them happy. Some people are going to try and rip you off. The customers may be right most of the time, but you don’t have to do business with people if it doesn’t make sense for you.
Make your ideal customers happy and focus on getting more of those customers. Your happy customers will even help you get more and Google will recognize it.
Potential Threats In SEO’s Future
Here is the biggest threat I see to the SEO world in the future and Rand Fishkin sees it coming as well.
Threat: all paid search results
It makes sense.
Google is in business to provide relevant search results while making money for the advertising or listings.
It doesn’t say anywhere that Google needs to provide organic results and free traffic for businesses. They’re nice to have, but in the future it seems that Google will provide all paid search results if they can.
What does this mean for you?
It means that SEO in the traditional Google sense will change, but don’t abandon the action steps above.
Those are good business practices that withstand the changes in customer acquisition.
Use those action steps above and you’ll get traffic to your site and new business for your company.
Think big picture when it comes to your future SEO program.
Stop focusing on tactics like link building and keywords. Those are results of good SEO practice, which is really just good business practice.
Focus on the long-term. Focus on building a good reputation and you’ll be fine in the SEO world.
Try to game the system and you’ll be disappointed at best and setup for failure at worst.