In “Part 1: Being #1 in Google“, I explained a little bit about how fruitless it is to try to be “#1 in Google.” Your real goal is being #1 for your customers. (I will use the term “customer” below, but this might actually be clients, patients, readers, or something else depending on your situation.) Rather than trying to trick Google into thinking you are the most relevant result for your perfect customer – put that thought and time into actually BECOMING the most relevant result.
Who are you talking to?
I find one of the biggest problems people have when formulating their plan for a new website is that they don’t actually seem to know who the website is for. Remember – your website is NOT for you – it is for your potential customer.
So who is that? Imagine your ideal visitor. Who are they and why do they need what you have to offer? What are they looking for? Why are they looking for it?
For example, I recently had someone – let’s say she was a doctor (she wasn’t) – email about creating a site. We had several emails back and forth in which I asked a lot of questions trying to ascertain who her site was for and what she was going to offer them. But every response I got from her boiled down to “I need to be #1 in Google. Can you make me #1 in Google? You were #1 in Google so you must know how to make me #1 in Google. I just want to be #1 in Google.” She was not even considering who she wanted to find her site, what they might be looking for, and what she would offer to make sure her site was the best resource for that. Nor was she interested in considering it. But without considering that, she would never in a million years have a shot at “being #1 in Google” (which as we have already determined, doesn’t mean anything anyway).
Even if she did manage to get a decent ranking by Google, it is likely that a high percentage of her site visitors would be people who weren’t looking for what she was offering, and would thus just leave. Getting traffic doesn’t help if the visitors don’t have a chance of becoming customers.
What’s their problem?
Every time you visit a website, you are trying to solve a problem. Sometimes the problem is just that you want to know a particular store’s phone number. But that’s not the kind of problem I am talking about, because in that case, you already know about the business, so it doesn’t matter what content they have, as long as they have a phone number. The problems I am talking about are things like:
- I have a weird green bump on my ankle!
- My baby never sleeps.
- I’m bored and need to read something funny.
- I really want a pair of vegan running shoes.
- I want to be learn more about this political issue.
- I need to lose 20 pounds.
Etc. If your website is only about you (your contact info, where you are located, why you are so great) then your website is not solving anyone’s problem, and thus is not going to be useful to anyone who doesn’t already know about you.
How can my website be useful to solve that problem?
Once you know who you are talking to and what their problem is, your goal should be being the ultimate useful source for solving that problem! This offers 2 big benefits:
- People will share and tell others about your website because it is so useful.
- You establish yourself as an expert who is uniquely qualified to help them.
If your website is full of useful, entertaining, and/or unique information – then people wil come to it again and again, they will share it with others, they will post it to Facebook, they will blog about it, and over time Google will start to see it as RELEVANT. This is called “organic” SEO, and is what Google is constantly trying to refine its algorithms for – ranking sites based on how relevant their content is, how many people link to them (not on link farms, but as relevant links), how many people stay on the site and come back over and over again.
People aren’t cars, so why are you trying to drive them?
In the end it’s all in your mindset: Instead of trying to drive traffic to your site, try attracting people to your site. You do that by giving them something they need, something they want, something they are searching for, whether that be information, the perfect product, entertainment, or news. Google will notice.