The web industry is beset by competing ideals and goals, so the simplicity of numbers makes sense to us: one is more than zero, two is more than one.
When it comes to any metric, there is an understandable temptation to focus on volume. In some cases, absolute metrics make more sense than others. If your goal is to make money, then £1 is marginally better than £0 and £2 is marginally better than £1.
However, even in e-commerce, some conversions are worth more than others; high-value items or items that generate repeat sales are inherently more valuable in the long run.
SEO (search engine optimization) has traditionally been built around a high traffic numbers game: if enough people visit your site, sooner or later, someone will convert. But it is much more effective to attract the right type of visitor, the high-value user who will become a customer or even a brand advocate.
The best content doesn’t guarantee success in Google, and neither does a good UX or even Core Web Vitals. Content is no longer king. What works is brand recognition.
SERPs are different
Traditional SEO strategies would have you include content with keywords. Use the right keywords, have more keywords than your competitor and you will rank higher. The SERP (search engine results pages) used to be a league table for keywords.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy anymore.
Even before the recent introduction of dark mode for Google Search, its SERPs had begun to look very different.
Google’s meteoric success has been due to its all-powerful algorithm. Everything you post online is examined, categorized and archived by the all-seeing, all-knowing algorithm.
Content is key
Google has never been shy about algorithm shortcomings. Backlinks have been one of the most important ranking factors in the algorithm for years because a backlink is a human confirmation of quality. A backlink validates the algorithm’s hypothesis of what content is worth linking to.
A hundred words or so of keyword-dense text requires less processing and has fewer outliers, making it relatively simple for an algorithm to evaluate. And yet, content of this type performs poorly in Google.
The reason is simple: human beings do not want poor content. We want rich, high quality content. It is unlikely that a human being would validate thin content.
The key to ranking well is to create content that many people want to link to. This not only generates traffic, but also validates the page for Google’s algorithm.
There can only be one
One of the key motivating factors in recent changes in search has been the evolution of technology.
Siri, Alexa and all manner of cyber butlers are lining up to answer your question with a single authoritative statement. Suddenly, the top ten in Google are much less desirable because only the top answer is returned.
Google and other search engines cannot afford to rely on the all-seeing, all-knowing algorithm because the all-powerful algorithm is just a guess.
Until now, an educated guess was sufficient because if the top result was incorrect, something in the top ten would work. But when it comes to a single returned result, what search engines need is certainty.
Establish your brand
Google prefers established brands because people are more likely to trust them and therefore consider the result Google returns to be of high quality. They, in turn, will come back to Google the next time they need something, and Google’s business model survives another day.
Google results are biased towards brands, so the best strategy is to act like a brand.
Brands tend to be highly localized entities that dominate a small sector. There is no benefit in distributing keywords in the hope of capturing a lot of traffic. Instead, identify the area in which you are an expert and then focus your content there.
Develop a social media presence, but don’t sign up for all available services unless you have time to maintain them properly; a suspended or expired account does not substantiate its value.
Big fish, flexible pond
What matters from an SEO point of view is that you master your niche. You must become the only source of truth, the number one search result. If you find that you are not number one, instead of competing for that top spot, narrow down your niche until you are the number one authority in your niche.
If you need to outsource this service and boost your brand, Acorn has a multidisciplinary team of professionals that will help you throughout the process. Shall we talk?