You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to succeed in digital marketing.
Most of the time it pays to keep your ear to the ground and be a really good copycat with what works.
In the same way that our profession is tasked with generating leads, we are sometimes wise to follow them as well.
For example, my boss, Geoff Atkinson, took a call in early 2005 from a colleague alerting him to the benefits of a relatively new tactic called “search engine optimization” (SEO).
He presented the idea to the Overstock.com c-suite, was put in charge of the rollout, and grew their organic channel from $0 to $300 million within a few short years. It was a great run that took off simply because he was receptive to where the field was headed.
For all fellow marketers out there, or really anyone in business seeking new strategies to deploy in the digital space, I have something for you to copycat. You would be way out in front if you adopted it. It’s a new method for growing your organic search channel by leaps and bounds.
I call it “Google’s Perfect World”. If you build it, organic search traffic will come.
Creating SEO For Google’s Perfect World
I’m about to discuss SEO in a way you probably haven’t heard before.If you take nothing else from this article, understand that the Google Search Bot, not the human, is the most important visitor to your website. 🤖🥇🚀Click To Tweet
This Search Bot acts as the gatekeeper between your content and target audience in the search results. It is a very powerful position to be in.
I mean, you could put together a website bound for the user experience hall of fame. But it wouldn’t mean squat if this Search Bot has a hard time crawling and indexing everything in that very same masterpiece.
If you are wondering how to take action, the solution is to queue up what I call “Google’s Perfect World”. In this world, websites are written in flat HTML, pages load instantly, and contain structured data markup.
I will break each of these elements down individually…
Internet content has exploded in the last decade. By 2016, there were over 130 trillion documents and counting on the web.
Google loves Wikipedia pages. They are written in flat HTML, are well-structured, and load fast.
Fast Page Speed
Google has an ambitious mission to organise the world’s information to make it universally accessible and useful. And like any company, they have limited time and resources to do their job well. So they have very selfish reasons to value web pages that load fast.
They need their Search Bots to crawl and index pages as quickly as possible so they can keep search results as updated as possible.
The image above shows a near-perfect page speed score for the Wikipedia home page using Google’s page speed insights tool.
Websites with slow page speed pay dearly. Sometimes the Search Bot leaves the site to finish the job days or weeks later which compromises search results. And on the user side, conversion rates drop, bounce rates increase, and pages per session fall as well.
The importance of fast page speed cannot be overstated.
Structured Data Markup
As humans, we take for granted how easy it is to understand the content on any given web page. It’s not so easy for search engines. It helps to explicitly tell them what they are crawling and indexing – whether it is an “article”, a “recipe”, a “product”, or something else.
Structured data is the authoritative language of search engines. By marking up your content with this data, you are helping them understand everything they need to know about your website. This way, they can represent your content as thoroughly as possible in search results.
Structured data written in the JSON-LD format.
There is a great payoff too. Structured data qualifies your content for a new organic search experience called rich results.
Rich results include features like ratings, reviews, how-tos, and frequently asked questions embedded directly in the search results alongside your standard blue link.
These features increase your brand appearance and entice searchers to click through to your website.
An organic listing with product rich results is shown above. As you can see, ratings, price, and availability has all been embedded below the blue link.
An organic listing with review rich results is shown above. As you can see, average rating, total votes, and an excerpt from a user testimonial have all been embedded below the blue link.
Google Have Not Made These SEO Rules a Secret
These search optimisations have been hidden in plain sight. They are all coming from Google.
In 2014, they endorsed structured data markup as the preferred method of communication between a website and Search Bots.
They created a structured data testing tool shown above to test the status of your markup. Test your site out with Google’s structured data tool!
If you were wondering how important rich results are, well they created a test for that too. Test your site with Google’s Rich Results tool!
And they have been shouting the importance of fast page speed from the mountain tops for ages. Just read what they said here in 2019.
Google created a page speed testing tool (shown above) to see how your webpages perform on mobile and desktop respectively. Test you site with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool!
To reiterate, the Google Search Bot is the most important visitor to your website. When you create the perfect crawling experience for this Bot, you will grow your organic search channel.SEO boils down to how well your website speaks to Google 🗣➡️💻Click To Tweet
Here are the just a few benefits of queuing up Google’s Perfect World:
- Search Bots load pages faster and see more content to index
- Content is qualified for rich results in search that make links more attractive
- Increases in ranking keywords, impressions, and clicks to your website
The best part about all of this is that if you like your current website, you don’t have to change it. As I briefly mentioned earlier, Google now allows for dynamic rendering.
This means you can serve a version of your site optimised for this “Perfect World” of their crawlers while keeping the original version that’s all decked out for the dazzling user experience completely intact.
But if technical SEO isn’t your cup of tea and you are wondering whether it is possible to outsource the building of Google’s Perfect World, the answer is yes! Huckabuy is a company doing some really innovative things in this space.
Having been in this business since 1999. I’ve seen a lot of things come and go. While I agree with the principals of the article, over-all I think it is a rubbish sales piece with no support for the concluding premise other than you are selling for your business. Suggesting that anyone optimize for machines first, removes all credibility in my opinion and is wrong. Do machines make the decisions that products need to be purchased? No, they do not and people are reluctant to accept that it will ever be like that.
Any person can buy traffic. Anyone, experienced or not can pay to have a ton of traffic sent to their site. They can even fine-tune the targeting so the traffic is high-value traffic. But if the site is optimized for machines and not humans, that traffic is wasted. Google makes no purchases on my site. Do they on yours? But it takes a special skill to deliver the right message to a visitor and get them to convert. Appealing to the Googlebot and appealing to a buyer to invest 10k in coaching and consulting are two separate areas.
The other thing you completely miss is that Google has evolved. Google is focused on intent, and answering queries. You are correct, schema, markup, rich text and page speed are extremely important, but if you have a lot of traffic and conversions, along with Google seeing that people are clicking, visiting, not bouncing and converting, you will still get rank even with mediocre technical SEO.
Search any phrase, run your tests and you see bad technical sites are everywhere. Using your own site as an example, huckabuy.com, Google page speed ranked it 15 out of 100 so I doublechecked it with gtmetrix and it got 2 E’s. It’s not 3rd party scripts either that are causing the issues. It is the technical stuff that is blowing down the page load. By your description, you should not rank for anything and should not have any traffic. I’m not trying to embarrass you. I was going to compare yours to mine and see if there were advantages I over looked
Hey Joe, thanks for the comment!
This article was a guest post that we accepted to be published on Einstein Marketer.
I can’t speak on behalf of Finn or Huckabuy, but I agree with the author that adhering to these tactics (that he calls ‘Google’s perfect world’) will help you appeal to Google’s search bot.
However, I understand that purely appearing in searches doesn’t guarantee traffic, and even if it did, that doesn’t mean anything else, i.e. conversions.
Websites (and content) should always be made with the user’s experience and your business aims in mind, and then optimised after this. If this means the occasional negative for the Google Search Bot, so be it!