Most businesses spend a lot of time thinking about how to improve their search rankings. After all, studies have shown that 75% of people searching on Google don’t scroll past the first page.

Given that, you can imagine the excitement a client of 60 Second Communications felt when our efforts moved him from the fourth page of Google to the first page of Google.

That act alone increased the eyeballs seeing his business by 90%.

Imagine the impact on your business if you increased the number of people who were exposed to your website by 90%. It would be profound. This, of course, begs the question — how did we do it?


The Death of Black Hat SEO Techniques

In the early says of SEO, technical wizards found ways to game the system in order to improve their rankings. One of the most innovative was to place white type on a white background with all of the keywords stuffed onto the page.

To the reader, they didn’t see anything because the white type was lost on the white background. But to the search engines, they saw it as a page filled with keywords relating to the business. The result? They drove a lot of traffic to those sites.

Of course, that didn’t last for long because … well, in that scenario, you’re working against Google, which is never a good thing.

All this brought us to the next chapter in the story, which was…

The Birth (and Ultimately the Death) of White Hat SEO Techniques

Not long ago, I wrote a post called The Truth About SEO That Nobody Else Will Tell You. The post has a ton of information in it which is worth checking out, but one of the key points is that, after a certain point, focusing on SEO tactics is less important than focusing on SEO strategy. (Side note: That’s a concept I first came across in an excellent article by Jayson DeMers in Search Engine Journal.)

What does that mean? It means that, once you’ve got the basics down — stuff like alt tags, URL structure, keywords and whatnot — then you should focus less on Google and more on your readers.

I call this the Golden Rule of SEO:

That’s not to say you shouldn’t focus on the basics of SEO. Instead, it’s to say that once you have the basics covered, you should stop worrying about Google and start worrying about your reader. If you do that, then your readers will 1) come back, and 2) share what you’ve written with others.

And guess what? When readers come back and when they share your posts, Google notices. What happens when Google notices? Your search engine rankings improve.

Action Steps for You

What steps should you take based on this post? Here are some thoughts.

  1. Hire an SEO Specialist: Despite what I’ve written above, I’m not against SEO firms. In fact, we work with several experts in this arena all the time. What I’m saying is that after you get the fundamentals in place with an SEO expert, you should move on to step 2.
  2. Survey Your Readers: We do an annual survey at 60 Second Marketer to find out what our readers like and don’t like about the blog. This helps us stay in a constant mode of improvement. It also gives us ideas on what our readers want us to write about.
  3. Track Your Results: We track the results of each and every post you read on the 60 Second Marketer. In other words, we watch what gets shared and what doesn’t get shared. The results help us improve the posts we write in the future.
  4. Ask Your Readers to Share: As mentioned, Google (and Bing and Yahoo) notice when content gets shared. Given that, it never hurts to encourage them to share your posts. After all, you’re providing them free tools and techniques. It shouldn’t be too much trouble to ask them to share the post with their friends, ya know?

Thanks for stopping by. See you again soon!

Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, a marketing communications agency that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.