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"Don't you market guys have secret tricks to bring in the traffic?"
2010-05-26: That's the psychology of persuasion I'm afraid. It was the same in PR (I used to run a PR company). If you've got some amorphous, unprovable thing you can say makes you better than the others, that kinda works. In PR it was 'contacts'. In Internet marketing, it's undefined methods and systems. Internet marketing revolves around them. The gurus sell them. But I've been here long enough to know it all boils down to core values:
  • Google wants to provide the best set of results to its search customers, otherwise its whole business goes down the pan.
  • Google chooses the best sites by matching keywords, yes, but mostly from links to that site. The more inbound links, the better.
  • Google also knows your bounce rate.
  • Sites know the value of links. Everyone wants inbound links without giving an outbound one. Some sell outbound links.
  • Google ignores outbound links that are sold.
  • Google changes its ranking formula more than once every day to overcome any spammy, scammy ways people have found to get undeserved advantage.
  • It's real, serious money. The first result gets 60% of the traffic.
  • Businesses spend real money to get those top positions.
  • To get the top position yourself, what you need is a site that people like. That way, people will link to you without you having to ask, and they won't bounce off it when Google sends them there.
  • Again, that's a competitive thing. If it's a lucrative market, you're up against big teams creating a fabulous website.
  • So the only way for a company with a small budget to go is niche. Find a keyphrase where you can get a foothold that converts for you. Then find another. Build up from there until you have a constellation of small niches that starts to give you the resources to go for the bigger phrases.
  • The only way you can sustain that is to convert better. If you're making more income per click than your competitor, you'll win.
  • In the end, it's all about conversion. Because conversion means satisfied customers. Which means they are happy with your site, and they are recommending others and saying good things about you in social media.
This is all good. The very last thing we want is for sales people to be able to buy their way onto the front page of Google.
So in the end, the strategy is this. Be fabulous. Be honest. Do a great job. Work on discovering and managing those niches.

By John Allsopp
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