For someone who has been dead since 1975, Jimmy Hoffa certainly gets around. According to urban legend, the former American labor union leader and criminal is buried under the Giants Stadium, General Motors' headquarters, a driveway in Michigan and many other obscure places.
But he might as well be hidden on page 2 on Google.
According to Marketing Land, 71.33% of searchers do not get past the first page; page two and three get only 5.59% of the clicks. On the first page alone, the first 5 results account for 67.60% of all the clicks and the results from 6 to 10 account for only 3.73%.
How do you avoid being buried on page 2, 18 or even 124 and finally get on page 1 of the search engine result pages?
Search engines, like Google or Bing, are service providers. It is their mission to provide us searchers with the best, most helpful piece of content that we will actually click through and read the entire piece!
#1) You Are Trying To Rank For The Wrong Topic
There are ten spots on the first page of Google. Ten.
That makes it is impossible to rank for broad terms such as table, home loans or hotel anymore if you are not Ikea, Bank of America or Hotels.com. However, search engines are taking into account that overall content topics are more important to rank for a specific keyword. That means if you are consistently producing content around the topic you will rank better overall for related keywords.
How to find great topics to rank for: Instead of wasting time and resources by going after impossible keywords, narrow it down to so called long-tail keywords that your customers are using to find your products. Not only does it improve your chances of ranking for them on first page, but they are actually relevant to your products and services. You can find those keywords by looking at the language your buyer personas use and by conducting keyword research. Look for keywords that have low competition and a high enough search volume.
#2) Your Website Has Too Thin or Duplicate Content
Google has just rolled out its 37th Google Panda update! Yup, you read that right. 37. While it is almost impossible as a marketer to keep up to date with the ever-changing algorithm, there is one thing that is certain: Google punishes websites with thin or duplicate content. Google defines thin content as content that has very little or no added value; for example web pages or blog posts that are auto-generated, thin affiliated pages, scraped (copied) content or low-quality blog posts, content shared by many (content schemes) or doorway pages.
How to avoid thin or duplicate content: While there is no magic number of words per page, try to shoot for 500-600 words per blog post or page where it makes sense. But more important than the word count is the value you add. If your content is high-quality (including grammar and spelling), shares some new insight or takes a different angles, Google and readers alike will love it.
#3) Google Thinks You Don't Care Enough
If no-one ever reads your updates or you have nothing to say, you would not put the effort into writing regular updates, right? But you care enough about your business to want to grow its online presence?
Keeping your website consistently up-to-date and publishing valuable content is an important indicator to Google that you care - but it will also enable you to build an audience. You can read here on how to avoid common blogging mistakes.
How to show Google and your readers you care: Blogging is so wildly popular because it is the best way to consistently serve up fresh content. For your blogging strategy to be successful, you have to focus on the right keywords and find the right mix of frequency vs. quality: Your blog posts need to have outstanding quality but blogging once a month is not going to move the dial.
#4) You Have No Authority In Your Field
In the real world, the brightest minds get invited to be a keynote speaker at a conference and everyone flocks around to hear what they have to say.
Imagine your blog the same way. Of course, you should not assume you have thousands of blog subscribers immediately - you have to build the authority first. But if you are the best content expert in your industry, share your knowledge and establish the authority you also have in the offline world. Then it will translate into authority on your website as well.
How to become an authority on the web: Think about the niche that you have extensive knowledge in - maybe you are the best in. Don't try to be a jack of all trades. Be very specific! Then put together an editorial calendar and write once or twice a week a well researched, data-driven or helpful blog post. You will not be able to build authority by copying what everyone else does. Network with experts in adjacent topic areas and collaborate.
#5) No-one Cares Enough To Share It On Social Media
According to a study by Business Insider, social media the the #1 online activity for Americans, including email. And it is not surprising that Google has started to include social signals in its search algorithm for more than a year now as a major search ranking factor. If people find your content worth sharing, its probably good.
How to get people to share your content on social media: The simple truth is: you have to provide value and you have to make sharing as easy as possible. Make sure you have social sharing buttons easy accessible on every page and post. You can even include ready-made Tweets with tools such as ClickToTweet.
#6) Your Technical Foundation Makes It Impossible For You to Rank
About a year ago, I had a client whose website was not in the Google index at all because the robot, when it came to visit the website to crawl it, could not access it. Unless someone typed in her URL, her website was not to be found.
While technical SEO has lost its initial glam in the marketing world, a solid SEO foundation is still crucial to the success of any website. I agree with Search Engine Land that good site architecture is the beginning and end of effective SEO. And while the single keyword in the overall picture might have lost some of its importance, it still remains an important part of the overall concept for SEO.
How to make sure your website has no major SEO issues: Your website needs to be visible and indexable by search engines. You can check the health or your site by setting up a Google Webmaster Account, which allows you to be notified if Google encounters any problems with your website. For basic advice on how to improve your website's SEO, you can use free tools such as the Marketing Grader. For more extensive analysis, SEO tools like Raven Tools or marketing automation tools like the HubSpot Page Performance Tool is the way to go.
No matter if Google pushed out Panda update 37 or 56, your website will always rank well if you are an authority in your niche and you produce awesome content people love! Then search engines will too.