Most small businesses owners that are actually smart enough* to know they need to be online and have a strong web presence don't have the first clue as to what to do or how to do it. This is not surprising, as the average financial consultant, doctor, mechanic or pizza shop owner did not go to school for local web marketing. After all, there was no such thing more than fifteen years ago, and it's only in the last five or so that it's become not just important, but – in my view – imperative.
*We live in a world where approximately 50% of small businesses don't have a website… much less a mobile-optimized website… much less understand the value of a strong web presence.
Heck, it's been my general experience that most small business owners don't know much about marketing, period – much less web marketing and the intricacies of navigating a constantly changing and radically evolving online environment. Which is an actual shame, as a little bit of local SEO optimization knowledge would go a long way towards helping most struggling small businesses.
And we can help. A lot. As in… putting your business front and center in the search results. Even, as hard as it may be to believe, into multiple slots on page one of the Google search results, as shown in the video below. But I digress…
We undertook a project recently to demonstrate our site ranking prowess – and our ability to not just provide local seo services – but to kick butt and take names while doing so. How does 10 out of 10 page one rankings in Google sound? Yeah, that's right. We can take over the entire first page in many local markets!
Now, it's a fact that there are many SEO firms and web marketing consultants out there, and many that can rank your site on page one – for the right amount of money. Because to some extent, it's about the money. The harder the competition, the longer it takes and the more it costs.
Note that when they promise to “rank you,” they're generally not promising that they can do so for any particular slot unless you're paying the big bucks. There's ten slots on each Google search results page, after all. You'll be lucky if the average SEO guy gets you into one slot on page one. And that's fine. Nothing wrong with that. But…
We are regularly delivering five… or seven… or even all ten slots. Total market domination of Google page one, in other words. See the video proof…
Everyone who is serious about having a successful website is concerned about web ranking, and more particularly, about achieving a page one ranking for one or more relevant keywords. Even in the age of social media, it's a real issue and concern.
In just the last few years, Google and the other big search engines have incorporated what are called “social signals” as a critically important metric for determining the quality of content. Once upon a time, before Facebook and Twitter, it was all about SEO and backlinks. Now social is the single most important driver in determining whether you have a page one ranking in the search results – or not!
The truth is, it has been and still relatively easy to game the “ranking system” with backlinks. Backlinks can be bought and built with relative ease and at a reasonable cost. But it's much, much, MUCH harder to fake real virality (i.e. human interest and real sharing). The folks at Google, being pretty darn smart, have figured that out. Besides the fact that social sharing is very relevant anyway, it's become the prime indicator for Google of whether a site is worthy of being ranked well.
As a consequence, it now weights social activities such as Likes, Shares, Favorites, etc. – the above mentioned “social signals” – as the single most important factor in determining page rank. SEO and backlinks still matter – just not nearly as much as they once did.
The upshot is this: if you want to “rank on page one,” you'd better have good social signals.
So, these days, the ranking algorythm – which is the top-secret formula concocted by Google to determine a page's worth – pays a lot of attention to Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, Pinterest, etc. Just as you ought to pay careful attention to Matt Cutts' “social signals,” particularly in the following video.
Matt Cutts, being a Google insider and the company's point person on all matters related to SEO, page rank, backlinks, webmastering, etc. is the recognized authority on “how Google works.” One would be very, very wise to pay very close attention to what he says and heed his advice.
Mr. Cutts releases new videos frequently, answering questions from the public (if extreme web dorks can really be considered “the public”) and generally dispensing valuable info without guile.
No matter what web masters and business owners may think of Google, that is all to the good. Without Cutts, we'd know even less about the inner workings of Google – and we don't know enough as it is.
These days – as always – the company's driving imperative is to provide the best user experience for it's users as possible. To that end, Cutts is helping web masters to the extent that he can, without giving away the exact details that would allow the unscrupulous to take undue advantage.
Quite often neither Cutts nor Google discloses enough information to truly satisfy, particularly for those of in the web marketing community who rely heavily on our understanding of how Google works to do our jobs. Fortunately, through trial and error and judicious reverse-engineering, the general parameters of the Google algorythm have been understood. We want more, but what we do know is sufficient for a high degree of success, and what it takes to get a page one ranking.
In the above mash-up of Matt Cutts' various presentations, one can learn a tremendous amount. But as with all information presented online – regardless of the source – one must assess with a jaundiced eye. It is important to know whether information is to be trusted. To some degree, only time and experience can lead to true wisdom and discernment on this, as in any, subject.
So having said all that, follow what is presented here only if you dare! 😉