MozCon 2017: I’d Rather Be Thanked Than Ranked
The following post is part of WTWH Media Marketing Lab’s ongoing blog series from MozCon 2017.
Ranked, No Biz
Wil Reynolds, founder of Seer Interactive, started off by talking about his vision of ranking for keywords relating to SEO like “seo company,” “seo agency,” and “seo consultant.” He was ranking high for most of these but nothing came out of it. No money and useless leads.
He decided to stop focusing on keywords and started to focus on what customers were looking for; content that they would appreciate and find valuable. Because he started creating content his customers were looking for, his business began to skyrocket.
Reynolds made a great point to talk to your customers and learn from them. “They are real people with real problems,” he said.
The Speed of Machine Learning 24 Hours > 10 Years
A passage from The Snows of Kilimanjaro was run through Google Translate. At first, translate was spitting out questionable translations. For example, “no one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude” was translated to “whether the leopard had what the demand at that altitude, there is no that nobody explained,” In just 24 hours, with the help of machine learning the system was improved. A day later Google Translate converted the same sentence to “No one has ever explained what leopard wanted at that altitude.”
So, you might be asking, what’s the big deal? To sum it all up, Google is getting really, really smart. As machine learning gets better, you’re going to have to get better at giving people what they want.
People Are More than Keywords
As Reynolds said, “Google is starting to understand how we feel about what we find.” You could be an industry leader for a specific service or product, but because Google is starting to have that understanding of how people feel about content, you might not even be ranking! Why? Because you’re not giving people the information they’re looking for.
How can you help all of your customers feel this way? Reynolds put it simply: Listen, watch, and learn.
- Talk to people, watch them, and ask questions that give you a competitive advantage that tools can’t give you
- Questions to ask: Why did click on that? Why didn’t you click on that? What would make this better? What is missing?
- Start getting clues by looking at “related searches” on Google
- Also, look at the “people also ask”
Lets also remember that the problem with personas is that they are not people! You need to ask the questions above, listen, and watch real people. Sample Sally is only going to get you so far. You have to find the reasoning behind the keywords. Using the keyword “fixed income,” could mean different things to different people. Do your research and you could find out to one person this could mean, “I’m on fixed income, and want to get a laptop for my grandson.”
Google’s not getting any dumber, so get to work and start giving people the content they are looking for. If you don’t, Google is not going to let you rank because you are repeatedly disappointing. So, ask the questions and find out what you have been ignoring all those years.