Google engineer, Matt Cutts, was recently asked how local businesses can compete for search recognition against companies spending thousands of dollars on SEO. His answer was quite simple and one that local businesses should find pretty encouraging.
You Won’t Win By Gaming
Cutts basically said that businesses that try to game search engines by loading up their pages with inauthentic and too many links and keywords, will ultimately be penalized. Over-optimization will cause Google to leave a website. There is no such thing as a shortcut to a number one Google ranking. In order to get and stay there, businesses need to produce relevant content that uses keywords naturally. Building and maintaining a compelling website of interest to your audience is the best thing you can do to be competitive.
Being Real is Compelling
Creating compelling content is easier than more local businesses think. It is all about having a real, human voice and rather than the voice of a business trying to sound human. Answering customer questions, posting verified customer reviews, highlighting employee stories, and sharing industry expertise are all examples of content that your audience will find interesting and Google will reward from a search position perspective.
Simply Beautiful is an example of a business website with genuinely interesting content. They share the story of the founder, host personal videos, feature several photos, answer frequently asked questions, outline facts about their service, and highlight verified customer reviews.