I do it all the time.
Whenever I mention SEO I’m usually talking about Google.
For this site, GBW, Google is one of the main sources of traffic especially in terms of search engines. Bing, Yahoo, AOL and the others don’t really send much traffic to this site.
That’s not uncommon for a small business. Most of the world seems to be using Google when they’re looking for something. It’s probably an American thing since I know there are more popular engines throughout the world.
But a couple things have me thinking about SEO and how it’s changing.
Google Moving Away From Organic Rankings
I’ve had an internal debate for a few years wondering what Google is doing with their search results. The conclusion I seem to come back to each time I think about is that Google is looking for ways to become 100% paid results. Their stated goal is to provide the best results or the most relevant results.
My feeling is that if Google can achieve that goal with all paid results they would do it. Think about it – if Google feels they won’t lose traffic with all paid results they have no reason not to do it.
It’s like the yellow books we all used to have in our homes. Those were all paid listings and people didn’t think twice about it. There was the white pages book provided by the telephone company, but if you wanted a commercial listing you went to the yellow book.
We like to think that Google is this complex business, but they’re nothing more than a complex yellow book. Right now they mix organic and paid, but the obvious trend is to move toward a complete paid model.
The big takeaway is that Google doesn’t owe anybody free traffic and business.
Hidden Search Engines
This doesn’t mean that search engine optimization doesn’t matter.
It’s probably more important than ever.
SEO is really about communicating with the things your customers are looking for. It’s like back in the yellow pages days again. When someone needed an oil change they opened the yellow book to the Mechanic section. They essential searched the keyword “mechanic”.
When the online search engines came around this went to a whole new level. People could get more in depth with their searches. They had access to more information and more resources and options.
Optimizing is about figuring out what your target audience is looking for, how they’re looking for it and making the connection with your business.
Google had the best solution for this, but they’re changing little by little. You can still optimize for natural search on Google, but they’re looking to push companies toward paid models where there is also optimization.
There are also other search engines that we really don’t think about. They’re kind of hidden.
These include websites like:
There are a million sites and they mostly all have search engines. These are all important for your business going forward. If you’re creating content you have to continue to optimize it for search or in other words you have to optimize it for the things your target audience is searching for.
How To Optimize
At GBW, we focus on the questions people ask.
For example, with this post I know some people have been asking about the future of Google and what it means for their SEO programs. We did some research and came up with the concept for this post.
When you naturally answer questions you’re optimizing your content. You’re focusing on something you know people are asking. And if someone is asking you in person, over the phone or via email you can bet there are more people just like them asking the same questions throughout the Internet.
Build A Man Content Source And Share That Content
The strategy we recommend is to build your main content source as your own website. We’ve found that blogging works well. You can answer questions with the blog and then share the content on the other sites mentioned above. These are all search engines where people look for content.
Here’s an example, on Country Music Life I have a list of the saddest country songs of all time. I created a snippet of that content for sites like YouTube and SlideShare, which are hugely popular sites that have large internal search engines.
People are starting to find those items on those sites and a few are trickling over to CML.
That is the strategy that will work for you in the future. You can bring traffic to your business by focusing on all the search engines out there.
Videos on YouTube, articles on HuffPo and other sites, images on Pinterest, etc. It’s all content that when optimized will get found on these engines.
Google is changing. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it does seem to be happening.
That doesn’t mean it’s time to lose focus on your SEO strategy.
It just means you have to focus on the hidden search engines out there.