The Google Panda algorithm update did not just penalise websites which were legit in their operation it also formalized a position Google has been pursuing since the Caffeine update which is the favouring of brands.
While this may seem unfair to the small website owner busy working all hours to optimize their website it is totally fair from a search engine relevancy point of view. If, for instance, I start a website selling Nike shoes. No matter how well I optimize it, it will never beat Nike’s own online shop. Nor should it. From an authority point of view Nike is always going to be better than my own site, they will have the latest designs (and their history), the tech specifications and range to outgun my efforts any time of the day. Plus, from a consumer point of view, it is preferable dealing with Nike than a small operator who may vanish at any moment.
So far so good as far as Google logic goes. So where does that leave the small operator? Is it even worth optimising your website any more? Surprisingly enough yes and Google’s leaning toward brands and brand power is actually leaning in your favour, provided you stop being a sheep and start being what your online business should be – a leader.
Creating a Leader in your Online Business
Google is more than willing to send you all the traffic you can handle provided you are capable of competing successfully with Nike. Obviously you cannot take them on as far as branding is concerned (at least of the Nike brand), nor can you comfortably compete with them in terms of content or marketing manpower, but as a small operator you have what they do not: focus, vision and a unique selling point which why you got into business for yourself in the first place.
If you are selling Nike running shoes the chances are that you are into it for more than just the money. You have a brand, and a philosophy and a point of view which is you – unique, fresh and exciting. This is what now has to come through your website in every possible way.
If you believe, for instance, that no running shoe should be bought without understanding the principles of running you should have this on your website and you should have detailed running guides, local running places, areas around your town where good running is to be had. This immediately start to give you the way you can optimise your website. ‘Nike Running Shoes’, for instance may never deliver your website to Google’s first page but ‘Running in downtown Seattle’ will and ‘Nike running shoes for Seattle’s parks’ will also do it for you.
These are basic examples, which I hope illustrate the point. The differences become part of your website’s unique selling point (USP) which then begins to cast your site as a leader in its field, every bit as much of a brand and authority as Nike is for ‘Nike Running Shoes’.
Your Unique Selling Point (USP) should be reflected in your Website’s Optimization
Having a unique selling point is not enough if it is not reflected in everything your website does. ‘Running in downtown Seattle’, for instance, should be reflected in your Blog content, your website’s URLs (which means you need at least a unique page for it). You also need to be able to project it from the moment a visitor lands on your website which is where the design of it comes into its own.
I often buy training clothes online. There are a great number of websites which sell quality training tops and running shorts. I have found a website which delivers for free. I came across it by accident and the notice of free delivery was right there, boldly displayed on the Homepage. It got my business and it has been getting it ever since.
This also happens to be a classic example of a website which has worked out its USP and advertises it from the moment you land there.
10 Things you Should Do to Create an Authority Website Google Loves
There is no secret to what needs to be done in order to create a website which will work perfectly well as an online business aimed at human visitors and also produce the kind of search engine attraction Google loves to index.
Here’s the list of things you need to keep in mind as you create your own authority website:
- Make sure you have a unique selling point (USP) – differentiation is what the web is all about following the Panda update.
- Your USP should be consistent across all your online collateral, starting from your Homepage.
- You need to create content which reflects your site’s differentiation from all of your competitors, large and small.
- Make sure your site’s USP is reflected across at least some of your website’s URLs.
- Create landing pages for your visitors which confer true value to the web.
- Communicate what your site does across all your marketing and make it easy for those who find your website to spread the word about it.
- Have in place a well-planned social media campaign which markets your USP.
- Create a halo effect of valued pages by having a solid internal linking strategy in place.
- Do not try to compete with the ‘big boys’ who have deeper pockets and more manpower. Use, instead your social media savvy and faster response to take advantage of every opportunity to uniquely reposition yourself (my favourite sports wear site even had a ‘Rapture Sale’ day offering a 20% discount to anyone who wanted to outrun the coming end of the world and bought three pairs of running shorts).
- Have a content creation strategy in place which you follow religiously.
That’s it. Do all that and you should find that month-on-month you have ever increasing visitor numbers and low bounce rates. This in itself is a Google metric for getting your website to rank even higher on the organic search engine results pages (SERPs).