In order to attract customers in today's business world, you must deliver exceptional web content. There are companies designed to optimize your content and use keywords to skew search results and raise your ranking - all to attract the ideal potential visitor. 

    Those in the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) often complain each time Google changes its algorithm. Just when the SEO vendors have figured out how to trick the system, Google makes a change.  

    If you are deceptive, Google probably hates you. Instead, you need a sure-fire way to get Google to love your website.

    Why Google Changes the Algorithm

    As a user, what do you expect from Google? When is the last time you typed a search and looked beyond page one (or even beyond the first 5 results)?

    According to content marketing Jedi, Marcus Sheridan, "Google seeks to deliver the best teacher to answer the question you have posed."

    That means that Google is constantly changing its engine to weed out misleading or self-serving information, and deliver the answer that is most likely to address your inquiry dead-on. 

    Why Google (Maybe) Hates You (Or at least your Website)

    When you use trickery to attract web visitors with false information, then as a user you start to not trust your search engine. I'm guessing that in 97.8 percent of the situations, that's Google. If you want Google to hate you, then do the following things:

    • Use keywords and text that are popular, but are not legitimate topics on your website. Thus, the search engine might be fooled into thinking you have important content... and the user gets disappointed. 
    • Copy and post the identical, popular content on your website as exists elsewhere. Some refer to this as content curation. Real curators simply have a synopsis with a link to the source.  My articles often appear in their entirety on other sites on the web without permission. 
    • Talk around an issue without actually addressing the topic. This means that you'll have enough content that it might appear to be valuable, only for the poor user to have to live with disappointment.

    There is one method, however, that always works, and requires no ongoing modification.

    How to Succeed Even When Google Changes The Formula

    Now that you understand that Google simply wants to deliver the best answer to a given topic, you'll realize that it is much easier to simply strive to deliver great, helpful content to users. Google will always reward whoever provides the best answer. 

    Google observes user behavior. When someone visits your website, hangs around for a while, and then shares the link with others, Google gets a sense that you have something worth sharing. 

    How to Magnify Results

    In my annual Trends article,  Trend #9 says "The Best Companies Will Tightly Integrate Content Marketing Into Their Sales Process." 

    We know that as consumers, we might reach out to a customer, and then we do some research on our own. What if that research and supporting information came from the seller? If the information was biased and self-promoting, we would discard it.

    But, if the content (text, video, audio) was transparent and valuable, then you might share it with others in your organization. You'd start to build a sense of affinity and trust for that vendor. That philosophy is how Marcus Sheridan and his clients have mastered the art of using content in the sales process.

    Where You Should Begin

    You can make every excuse in the world. Here are a few steps to create valuable content.

    1. Gather every customer-facing employee you have and challenge them to write down every question your customers have asked in the past few months.
    2. Prioritize based on questions that recent clients have asked during the sales process. The questions might have nothing to do with your product or service.

      For example, a tutoring company might hear the question, "How do I know which college my child can get into?" That question indicates someone who might value improving student outcomes.

    3. Build a list of all of the concerns that might inhibit a customer working with you. In Marcus' swimming fiberglass swimming pool business, one of his most popular articles was "Problems with fiberglass swimming pools." Addressing questions like that made them the most trafficked swimming pool site in the world.
    4. Build an editorial calendar and start producing content.
    5. When you interact with clients via email, always include a link to content that they might find helpful. Valuable content demonstrates expertise and builds trust with potential customers - even if they don't need you for months or years in the future.

    It's Your Turn

    In the comments below, share examples of world-class companies who build trust by sharing unbiased content.

     

    Published on: Jul 28, 2016
    The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.