While just about anyone can nitpick the details, there are three major factors that I use to make my clients better web communicators and boost the chance of people finding their web pages, products and services. How to appear on search engines is as simple as mastering these three. They are: structure, fresh ideas, and where most go wrong: great style.
It’s my belief, appearing organically in search engines will become more critical, especially as web surfers become numb to paid advertising in the future. Do you scroll past those top 3 paid ads in your favorite search engine? I do.
Finding the perfect answer to your search query is seemingly an unbiased way to find solutions or products, and is also key on word of mouth follow-through. If someone loves their new pair of AllBirds enough to tell a friend, but the friend can’t find them on an easy web search—that’s a lost sale.
How to appear on search engines
Most developers or SEO “gurus” know the technical side of how to appear on search engines and rank higher. They know how to stuff keywords, linking techniques and site structure and can talk over your head for hours. Where they go wrong, however, is where you can shine and beat the snot out of them.
Mastering these three categories is responsible for 30% web traffic increases for my clients, and properly positioning their product or service to come up when searched instead of competitors. Some took months, some took weeks.
1. Great Code Is Key To Organic Search (duh)
The first trick on how to appear on search engines is simply, great code. Every search “guru” knows this one, so much so I hesitate writing it.
Most search engines employ common-sense measures. If a website is developed well, that means someone likely put the effort in and is more serious, more relevant, and more valuable. There are obviously exceptions, which is why there are other things search engines look for. The list is vast and always changing, but incoming links, proper H tags, using keyphrases frequently, using enough words per blog post, alt-tagging your images are a few examples.
After your site has been developed by a pro, make sure to use cheat tools like Yoast, which make your life a lot easier.
2. Fresh Ideas Are How To Appear On Search Engines
It sounds obvious, but it isn’t. Most people write the same stuff everyone else has already written. They try to rank for the same keywords or phrases that have been beaten to death. But for every search you have made on Google, Yahoo, Bing or Duck Duck Go, that returned poor results, somewhere a digital marketing person is sobbing because you didn’t find them. There is a subtle trick to write original ideas that people are looking for. Listen.
Listening to the un-initiated in your industry or paying close attention to prospects is a big deal. Listen to the rookies. Listen to how your ideal customers speak about your product for the first time. Listen to how your parents or grandparents talk about your work. Write down their language first, then correct and indoctrinate them into your culture later. (Check out my 2-minute method on how to become a better listener.)
I ask my client’s sales teams to do a simple exercise. Keep a note pad when you visit new clients and write down terminology they use, especially if they use improper terms, odd jargon, or phrases you’ve never heard. Their fresh perspective is key.
This insight is incredibly helpful and is one reason some of my clients get the traffic they do. No one is competing for the keywords they are using.
3. Great Writing Is Key To Great Search Rank
Although it didn’t matter in the past, it does now. Great writing for humans is insanely important. I’d argue more important than anything else. Screw the robots.
Algorithms are becoming extremely sophisticated and one key on how to appear on search engines is embracing your own customer’s humanity: Write. Great. Articles.
Research, interview people, write unique angles and do your best to become a world-class magazine. Write a great opening paragraph and encourage readers to read the entire article. Don’t copy content from others and re-write it, write new stuff altogether.
Have your staff take writing or journalism classes. Teach them to create original ideas, and take original photos. (If you have the time/budget this is key) Hire an editor or teacher to come lead a writing workshop at your company. Start book clubs in your company and get people writing. Understanding how to appear on search engines is as simple as understanding how to write great pieces.
Content for the sake of content isn’t good enough. Long exhaustive pieces that lead nowhere will only hurt you. The people who truly care about their market and put their best work forward will win the future of search. This is the silver bullet and how to appear on search engines.