Commandment 6: Honor Google and Other SERPs

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People use the internet to search for answers to problems they have, no matter how mundane they are. This includes asking what is the weather tomorrow in Tagaytay; or how much is 1 USD to Philippine peso; or what are the top 10 restaurants in Maginhawa?

If you are following the 10 commandments for effective digital marketing, you should be creating content that is helpful, relevant, and use those keywords you want your business or brand to be associated with.

This tactic is what people commonly refer to as search engine optimization (SEO). When people type certain keywords on search engines, you’d want to appear in the search results that are relevant to your business or brand.

However, search engines such as Google continually change the rules of the game. In fact, just a couple of months ago (while being on a hiatus), Google implemented an update to its algorithm that could make your organic traffic drop at least by 5% when your website is not mobile-friendly.

The question now remain is how do you keep up?

As marketers, you are busy. You do not have enough time to remember and read all these updates and changes.

The answer is really quite simple — you plan for the future and execute strategies accordingly.

Wait, what?

Look. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out.

Just go through the history of Google updates (and if you want even Facebook’s news feed algorithm updates), there is always one underlying reason for them. The main reason for all these changes is to make it easier for the user to find what they need at that point in time. (HINT: remember commandment #1, be helpful?)

2 Things You Should Do to Make Your Digital Marketing Strategy Futureproof

  1. Learn the basics of how search engines work and the importance of keywords
  2. Work smarter, not harder

The Basics:

The ultimate goal of SEO is to appear in the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs). In order for that to happen, there is a widely-accepted belief that there are two factors that affect that:
  1. On-page SEO; and,
  2. Off-page SEO
These factors don’t weigh of equal importance for you to appear on the top of SERPs. In fact, according to HubSpot, on-page SEO is only weighted at roughly 10%; while off-page SEO accounts for 90%.

On-page SEO 

On-page SEO generally refers to how the business / brand is following the rules created Google and other search engines. The elements associated with on-page SEO are things that are within the control of the business / brand.

There are many elements to consider here, but the most important lesson you need to be familiar with is that of keywords.

Keywords are terms businesses and brands want to be associated with when people search online. They play a very important role in digital marketing. And, frankly, it won’t go away anytime soon.

Depending on where you look, you will be presented with different categories of keywords. But I like to make things simple. So, just keep in mind of these 3 categories of keywords:

  1. Branded keywords —> keywords that includes your brand / business / trademarked items. For Apple, branded keywords they want to associate themselves with are iPhone, iPod, Mac, etc.
  2. Generic keywords —> These are keywords that are related to your products or services. Going back to the example above for Apple, some generic keywords they want their company to be associated with could include smartphones, mobile phones, laptops, desktops, etc.
  3. Long-tail keywords —> These are keywords that are unbranded, but expanded generic terms. Again, for Apple, some long-tail keywords could be best touch screen devices, best smartphones all-time, etc.

Off-page SEO

These are factors that you are not directly in control of. Some of these activities are inbound links, bookmarking, multiple pages visited, etc.

Remember the ultimate goal of Google I mentioned above? To bring relevant information to its user easily.

Since there are a LOT of information uploaded to the internet every second,  Google uses an algorithm to index those. It uses a lot of factors to determine its quality.

The stuff I mentioned (inbound links, bookmarking, multiple pages visited) are all indicators of your content being of high quality. And, of course, this is not an exhaustive list.

A) Inbound links
These are links from other people’s websites leading to one of your web pages. For example, you wrote an article about the 7 tools every digital marketing should use. Then, another marketer loved it so much, he created an article and showed how he uses those 7 free tools and linked them back to your site. That is an example of an inbound link (to your site).

B) Bookmarking and multiple pages visited

When you bookmark a page or visit more pages from that website, that signals Google that you like what you found. It suggests that the content you are reading / viewing / listening to are of high quality that you engaged more with the business/brand.

Think about it. When you searched for something, then found that the site takes forever to load. What do you do? Close the browser and move on the next result, right? What if the next page that loads doesn’t really answer your question? You hit back and look for another result.

On-page and off-page SEO matters. As they say with a lot of things, it is a combination of both art and science. You cannot discount technicality because no matter how great your content are but not abiding by the rules, then you will never win. If you are very great technically, but no one wants to read you, you won’t get read and shared.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

I know you are busy. I am busy. Who’s not busy nowadays, right? The right question is what are you being busy about?

It is very difficult to keep up with all these changes. Yet, as a marketer, it is your duty to stay abreast of anything that may affect your career. So, instead of reading tons of articles per day, why not just read about them from trusted sources?

I recommend using an RSS aggregator.

Subscribe to authoritative sites such as HubSpot, Mashable, and TechCrunch to learn about what’s happening on the web, technology and marketing field.

I use an app called Feedly. I am subscribed to at least two dozen local and international sites. I don’t read ALL of them. I just browse through the headlines. If it’s relevant to me, I read the entire article. If not, I just scroll through them.

It helps me stay updated with what’s happening in my current industry, role, and profession. That way, I don’t get blind-sided when things erupt.

But you are busy, right? You don’t have time to read all day to catch up. This only takes about 15 minutes each day. You’re not THAT busy. You just don’t know how to manage your commitments.

I open the app during my morning and evening commute. I take the MRT. My ride from Point A to B takes approximately 25 minutes (this doesn’t include the waiting time in between trains). That’s when I read and catch up.

I’m busy too. I just know that if I don’t spend time reading and learning new things, I am passing up on opportunities to make things easier for me.

Some of the things I missed out when I did not follow my own advice (and reasoned out I was too busy)  were the following:

  • Pablo by Buffer
  • Canva
  • Free 1GB Spotify and extra 2GB mobile internet by Globe (by just switching up my plan) at no extra cost

These are two simple things you can change to make your digital marketing strategies futureproof. By planning for the future, you are guaranteed you won’t be blindsided by the changes. And, incorporating a daily habit of reading from trusted sites help you stay updated with that’s happening within your industry. Do these two things and you will be 80% better than your peers who are not doing this.