What’s the catch with ranking number one in the SERP? I bet you’ve asked yourself that question before and I bet you still wonder. The answer is, you don’t even need to know what SEO is to dominate the SERP!
Started from the Bottom, Now We’re Here
Ten months ago our marketing department barely worked with SEO and our rankings were not something I would brag about. Today 10 months later we still don’t work with SEO but we have increased our organic search by more than 300% and are dominating one of Sweden’s toughest SERPs.
In June 2014 I joined the Marketing Department at Easycredit, Sweden’s leading online loan provider. At that point I didn’t know what the term SEO stood for or what Digital Marketing actually was all about. Although our Marketing Manager was aware of the importance of SEO, he didn’t have the time to work with it, neither to learn more about it.
We struggled with reaching page one on the most important search terms, and when we did manage to reach the first page, we prayed to the Google God to keep us there (no he didn’t listen). Despite our low rankings we set up a (unrealistic) goal to rank number one for the term ”sms lån”, one of the most competitive search terms in Sweden. At that moment we barely ranked on the first page for that search term.
In 6 months we reached our goal and claimed the top position (number one) for the search term ”sms lån” but also other top keywords including long tails. Below you can see how our organic traffic increased from August to January (6 months).
When your organic search traffic increases like this you want to know which of your keywords contributed to the increase and with Rank Ranger’s Rank Tracker you can track all of your keywords at one single place.
This is How You Can Dominate the SERP without SEO Knowledge
Know everything about your business
I joined the Marketing Department not knowing anything about SEO or Digital Marketing, but there was one thing I knew all about, our business. I was an expert on our company, our customers and our competitors. The reason for this is because I worked in customer service before I joined the Marketing Department.
There’s one thing you should never underestimate, and that’s the marketing power that a deep knowledge about your business will give you. In my opinion, without that deep knowledge about your business you will never become a good marketer to your target audience no matter how much experience you have from SEO or other Online Marketing fields.
I would say that the biggest mistake you can make is to hire an SEO consultant whose only purpose is to ”optimize” your site to rank higher on your target keywords, without knowing anything about your business.
Engage your Organisation
Let everyone in your company, especially the Customer Service Department be a part of your SEO. The Customer Service Department can give you invaluable input about what customers ask about, what they like about your company and what they dislike about your company. If you let the IT Department be a part of this as well, they can provide you with IT solutions that you didn’t even know existed.
If you use this input and help from your organisation in your marketing efforts you will see a significant increase in the user experience, user engagement and popularity of your company. If you didn’t know it already, those signals are one of the most important in Google’s algorithm today.
You need to explain to your Customer Service Department and IT Department what a big role they have in your SEO campaign, because they really do. I mean, if your customer service is unpleasant or if your page speed sucks, all of your marketing efforts will be for nothing. I know for sure that without our great customer service and IT developers we would never be market leaders in our business and nor in the SERP.
Build a company that people love
If the only thing you are chasing is higher rankings your site may result in higher rankings, at least for a while, until Google realizes how unpopular your website and brand actually is. Except for the low conversion rate you’ll have, you’ll also lose your positions in the SERP pretty fast.
There are no shortcuts anymore, you need to build a company that people love in order to get the rankings, and you need to engage the whole organisation to work towards that goal. You have to figure out how you can supply your already existing customers as well as new customers with the best user experience they can get. If you do, your customers will gladly speak good about you, come back to your site and engage with your brand.
You should strive to be the company that your competitors imitate and look up to. You should have the best IT, the best services and be the first with new updates and releases. You should be an authority in your niche and be the company that creates new trends for it.
SEO isn’t SEO anymore
If you look at how SEO has evolved in recent years you’ll see a clear pattern. The days of keyword density, spammy links from snapped domains, anchor text, low quality content, doorway pages and other black/grey hat techniques are over. Today Google’s algorithm is far more sophisticated than that and focuses more on user signals such as the engagement with your site and the popularity of your brand.
Instead of just utilizing all SEO best practices out there you should try to see SEO from Google’s perspective, and work in alignment with Google, not the opposite. Just think about it this way, if Google can’t please its users with good results in the SERP people will stop using Google. Because of that it doesn’t matter if your site has thousands of inbound .edu or .gov links. If your visitors don’t like your site and rather go to your competitors in the SERP, your site won’t rank.
In the end, SEO is all about reaching the same goal that Google has, which is to serve its users with the best search results for their queries. If your site can be the best result and supply Google’s users with the best experience, Google will reward you with great rankings in favour. Except for the SEO boost you will gain, people will love your brand and engage with it automatically.
In our journey to the top of the SERP we didn’t focus on link building, on-page SEO or other SEO best practices. Instead we focused on building the best company with the best website in our niche, which we also accomplished. The SEO boost and the number one position on ”sms lån” was just a bonus on the way, which I believe was an effect of us becoming the most popular company and leaders in the business.
As an SEO you should see yourself as a marketing director, a business developer or even a CEO. You should go out from the SEO bubble and try to understand SEO from a wider perspective, rather than only link building or other abused SEO best practices.
You should engage your organisation in all of your marketing campaigns, create the best user experience for your customers and always strive after being the best company in your niche. That’s how you dominate the SERP, without doing SEO, as it once used to be done.
So, do you believe that you can dominate the SERP without SEO knowledge?