Even the best people get sick with the SEO flu. It goes around this time of year. Bookings can slump. Bills seem to go up. We need more business. So what do you do?
In a moment of curiosity, you Google your business trying to find out why the phone isn't ringing.
A sick feeling enters your stomach as you see your competitors (who you know deliver an inferior product) out-ranking you.
“I need to improve my Google ranking today,” you think to yourself as you start to feel the adrenaline.
A quick search of “How to improve my ranking on Google” brings up hundreds of thousands of sites to visit.
You feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. That’s another symptom of the SEO flu.
You cannot read every pages’ advice about how to improve your rank. Because it’s quiet, you have time to read ten pages. Ten pages offer 12 different opinions. They offer some help but still leave you confused.
Nervous sweating kicks in as they all have ideas about what to do. They all say it with a conviction that convinces you they must have insider information - like they were just in an algorithm planning meeting at Google HQ.
If you call me, here’s what I’m going to tell you:
Relax. There’s more to running a business than how you rank on Google.
While I know it is essential to play Google's game (and some industries depend on ranking well more than others), it’s not everything.
Here are some principles to break the cold sweat about where you are on Google.
1. How You Show Up When You Google Yourself Isn’t How Others See It
Everyone gets different results when they are searching. Are you signed in to your Gmail account while you browse? Google is tracking what you do and wants to give you the best possible result, tailored just for you. What’s best for you might not be best for others.
If you hate your website, Google probably knows how much irritation it causes you (they're likely listening to your complaints), it might want to hide it from you. If you spend most of your time on your competitor’s sites, they might get promoted in your searches.
I’m half kidding (I wish I was fully kidding), but my point is that you cannot base your temperament that day on where you showed up in the ranking on your phone.
2. You Shouldn’t Build Your Business On Leads From Google
There are many reasons why basing your business model on leads you get from Google is a bad idea. I’ll list just a few:
The history of business is built on referrals. Google is a moving target shrouded in mystery. You tell me which one is more dependable.
Besides, have you noticed that people who come off Google are often then worst clients/patients? They have no brand loyalty. They have no connection to you. They may not align with your philosophy or methodology. They’re probably looking for a deal, and if they can’t find one, they’ll likely bounce to someone else.
You want to build your business around raving fans who refer you to people just like them. When you have clarity on your ideal customer, client, or patient, do your best to create amazing experiences for them.
People will tell their friends about you when you can:
- Deliver outstanding results.
- Hire friendly support staff.
- Keep your appointment times.
- Let them book online.
Do you want to fill your schedule with people like your favourite clients? The better the experience they have, the more they will talk about you with their friends. Their friends will gladly skip a blind Google search and go straight to your website. Those are the people you want.
Make referrals your primary source of income, and you’ll never worry about where you show up on Google.
3. The Top Spots Are Scarce, Highly Competitive, And Expensive
We all want to be on the first page of a search. That is precious real estate. Not everyone gets it.
Think about the last Google search you did. There were only 15 spots available, and 4-6 of them cost someone money to be there. You have 2-3 ads to start. Then a map that also has a paid position at the top. Then about three listings. Then you have 6-8 organic listings, and 3 of them are enormous domains like Yelp, or MyBestRated, or RateMyMd or Goliaths that like that which are hard to defeat. You are stressing about getting being one of those four spots. The truth is that even those four spots are likely run by an SEO charging $500-700 a month to get their client there (Thanks to my friend, Jonathan Carone, for his help on this point).
So you have to pay to get on the first page of Google? How much is your stress worth?
$500-700 a month?
Put yourself out of your misery and pay for Google Ads to get you on that first page. Or, if you hate lying awake at night picturing your competitors draining your AdWords budget by clicking on your ads, just hire an SEO expert like my friend Darcy Sullivan at Propel Marketing to set you up.
Life is too short to stress about such a weak source of leads.
What Is Most Important
As I mentioned in the title of this post, there is something more important than getting clicks from a Google search: Getting conversions.
Here’s the truth: People do not hire the first company they find on Google. They will likely look at three, four, or ten depending on their personalities.
Google will get people to your site, but it will not compel them to book with you.
So forget about how you are ranking and start aiming at converting people who land on your site.
Here’s How You Convert Traffic:
1. Great Design
Have a nice-looking website that has simple design, lots of white space, high res pictures, three colors, and mobile-optimized.
2. Compelling Copy
Write compelling words that speak to how you help people win. Have a clear call to action that makes taking the next step easy. Of course, the StoryBrand framework works fantastic for this.
3. Engaging Content
Keep your content fresh and relevant to what you know your patients will want to read. Does a copywriter from Fiverr or Upwork know your patients? Not likely. They could learn, but no one knows better how to talk with them like you and your staff. I’m amazed by how many people are wasting time and money, thinking that they can produce content that no one they know will ever ready.
Keyword jamming is a dated SEO strategy, and these days it could do more harm than good.
4. Lead Generator
As a bonus, if you have a resource you can offer to collect email addresses, you can start a conversation with a browser. They are never more excited about what you could do for them than those first moments. Offer them a resource that could help and get an advantage of every other site they looked at, which didn’t have one.
Don't freak out about SEO and what people claim to know about Google. What's popular today in the SEO world will likely be penalized tomorrow.
Your website should be Google friendly but not Google obsessed. I’d say the same for all of us.
I think that’s a healthier approach.
Stop obsessing over your Google ranking. Do excellent work. Create raving fans. Get referrals. Convert traffic.
That’s how you fight the SEO flu this time of the year.