I view the internet in the same way as I view electricity – I’m very good at using electricity, but I certainly can’t rewire the house. But when I launched this website in September 2012 (which is still a work in progress) I decided I needed to know more about making it really work for Octarine. So I embarked on a crash-course in internet marketing.
There’s a lot of online literature on the topic, but a lot of it is rubbish! And the rules of the game change constantly. Things that worked well two years ago can harm you today, and things that worked in 2012 might not be as effective in 2013. Last year it was still all about SEO. This year it’s PCO (People Content Optimisation). I’m still a novice, but I’ve learnt a vast amount and I’m definitely headed in the right direction.
And I know this because Octarine is on page one for several different Google searches.
Everything I read told me that “engagement” is critical to the success of your website. Sharing your own content on social media sites is highly recommended, but the great proof that you are engaging people is when they comment on your articles.
So I set out to test the impact of comments on the Google ranking of specific pages, and try to discover if the pages with the most comments were the most highly ranked. The short answer is no.
The long answer is that getting to page one is the result of an aggregation of effort. Comments are vital, but they are only part of it.
One of the other critical factors is that you get credit for the length of time that your website has been around. Well, there’s not much I could do about that; it was a brand new website. So what else matters?
- Using the right key words
- Using them often
- Not duplicating them on too many pages (if Google sees “ad agency” as a key word for every single Octarine page, how will it know which page to rank first?)
- Not over-using the key words in anchor text. (It seems “click here” is back in fashion.)
- Optimising the language for Google’s “spiders”
- Making the language friendly to human readers, to attract actual people to read it
Instead of freaking out about these seemingly conflicting requirements, you might like to look at some of the other factors that you can use to build your online visibility:
- The more pages your web site has, the better Google likes it.
- But more isn’t enough. You need to add new content regularly.
- Don’t make big changes to content on your “static pages”.
- You need to market your website; Google tracks visits and comments, and if you’re not getting any, you’re winking in the dark.
- It’s important to capitalise on your page titles and page information. This is a lot simpler than it sounds. I won’t bore you with details on this one, but give me a shout if you’d like to find out more.
So I kept going, doing the “right” things, moving up the rankings and today, five months after the Octarine website was launched, we are on page one for the following searches:
- Marketing strategy Durban
- Media Strategy Durban
- Content Marketing Durban
- Ad Agency Durban
Of course I’d like to add a few more search topics here, and I’d certainly like to remove the filter “Durban”. But there are over 500 million mentions for Ad Agency, so that’s a big ask. Still, with almost six million search results for “ad agency Durban” alone, just being on page one is a huge achievement. (And since many of the big ad agencies have specialist online divisions it’s a David vs Goliath endeavour!)
But the single biggest opportunity for increasing your visibility on Google searches might well be Google+. This is still in the “early adoption” phase, particularly here in South Africa, and I suspect it’s like most investments; the sooner you get on board, the more you stand to gain.
I plan to write more on this shortly, but in the meantime, if you’d like help with increasing your visibility by adding value to your website through content marketing, give me a call. I’d love to help.
And please, leave a comment here. Having reached page one; I’d really like to stay there!