How to get found online
It’s the challenge I think about day and night. Last week I posted about a ‘minimalist toolkit’ of WordPress and Google+ as being the two tools you need to get found in search. Once you understand their individual purposes, you’ll find they go together like peanut butter and chocolate.
Part of the ‘doing everything else right is using the right tools and tactics. In this post, I’m going to share how to use WordPress and Google+ as well as some of the thinking behind it…
How I use WordPress
I used to curate AND create content on my website but now my focus here is on the evergreen content I actually create. Why? 5-10 years ago, it was easy to curate content and drive traffic to your site without a lot of effort on your part. These days Google is continually refining its search algorithm to find trustworthy experts that write with authority and curation alone just doesn’t cut it anymore. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this short video from Google on how they make improvements to their search algorithm:
Talking about this shift in attitude toward Google search, author David Amerland says:
This is a change in mindset that transforms Google from an “adversary” of sorts that had to be managed, coerced, and somehow convinced to rank your website and serve it in search to an ally interested in the same things you are: giving the right answer to those who ask a question through search. As search “disappears” and becomes a ubiquitous service that people use, it becomes all the more critical to be conscious of the need to provide everything about a business or a brand that will help Google “connect all the dots.” Amerland, David (2013-06-27). Google Semantic Search: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques That Get Your Company More Traffic, Increase Brand Impact, and Amplify Your Online Presence (Que Biz-Tech) (Kindle Locations 3819-3823). Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.
“Work, in short, on an ever-expanding basis, to help Google access as much information about your website, your services, and who you are as possible. This is a question of trust and reputation, and in the Web of the future it is going to be even more critical than it is right now.” Amerland, David (2013-06-27). Google Semantic Search: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques That Get Your Company More Traffic, Increase Brand Impact, and Amplify Your Online Presence (Que Biz-Tech) (Kindle Locations 4005-4007). Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.
A WordPress site that is ‘fully optimized‘ for search is the best place to showcase your thinking. Ask 10 SEOs what fully optimized means and you’ll get 11 opinions (highlight to tweet) but I think this list is a good start:
- Use a domain that is keyword optimized
- Use a fast and reliable host
- Use a theme developed by a reputable developer known for SEO compliance [I use Studiopress themes]
- Use the ‘fully configured’ SEO plugin from Yoast and
- Connect your site to the Google Search Console [formerly Google Webmaster Tools], submit a sitemap and highlight your data
When you do these things you can be sure that Google is going to have a good understanding of what you are trying to communicate and at least you know your website will not be getting in your way. Armed with this confidence, you are now free to write your brains out. Literally. Do what I’m doing here. Take the time at least once per week — more if possible — to fully document a thought in writing. Get it out of your brain and into WordPress so that people can see how brilliant you really are! There is really no substitute for doing this work.
It may seem like a lot of effort to create evergreen content but it makes things easier in the long run and it’s a good discipline to write about your intent. Good evergreen content can also be like a Thanksgiving Dinner — there’s the dinner itself but you can use the core content in multiple ways after the event itself by reposting excerpts, etc. in social media. For example, excerpts from this post will be posted to Google+ [and from there to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as described under How I use Google+] with a link back to the original article a couple of times over the next week in order to get more out of this post.
How I use Google+
Google+ is the best place for everything that is NOT evergreen — or more transitory in nature. I use my Google+ page for all the content I used to curate to my blog knowing that it will still add value to my brand but my website won’t be penalized in search for duplicate or ‘light’ content. Google+ pages will also give you the benefit of Google publishership [if you’re unfamiliar with publishership, Mark Traphagen has an excellent post on the benefits here].
Hey! What about Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter?
SEO Barry Schwartz wrote this past week:
Google has said this over and over again. There is a correlation to content ranking well in search and being shared a lot, because it is good content. But there is no direct ranking signal in Google’s ranking algorithm. Google On Social Signals & Ranking
Since there’s no direct ranking signal, I don’t spend a lot of time on those networks although my direct use of Twitter is growing. I use a tool called Friends+Me to automagically post content from my page to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter so that I focus on posting really good content to Google+ where again, Google can fully understand my intent.
You can always do more later
If you find that online marketing is working well for you then you can always invest more time and resources later, but if like most solopreneurs and small business owners you are asking yourself what is the 20% that will get me 80% of my results, focus your efforts like I do on your WordPress website and your Google+ Page.