seo Guide for Professionals

If your website is having difficulty attracting organic traffic from Google Search, Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, recommends concentrating on three key areas:

  1. Continue producing high-quality content—focus on what you believe is best for your readers.
  2. Diversify your traffic sources by promoting your content across various channels.
  3. Cultivate an engaged audience that visits your site directly or through email and social media.

None of this advice is groundbreaking or easy, and it’s unlikely to please everyone. Essentially, this means you need to think beyond just Google and SEO if you want your SEO efforts to succeed on Google Search.

The reality is that the days of relying on SEO hacks and loopholes are quickly fading. The future of SEO belongs to those who focus on all the important elements and are committed to a long-term strategy.

Why this matters: People are often frustrated with Google’s advice, which typically boils down to “create helpful content.” However, Google cannot provide a detailed guide on creating or assessing helpful content. It’s up to you to figure out how to build and grow an audience. Relying solely on Google Search to drive traffic and visibility is not a viable strategy.

Create outstanding content. Crafting content that resonates with your target audience is essential, according to Sullivan. However, it’s not the only consideration:

“As I’ve mentioned before, everyone should concentrate on what they believe is best for their readers. I understand it can be overwhelming when advice comes from multiple sources, and then there are all these rumors about what Google is or isn’t doing. Ultimately, people just want to focus on their content. If you’re feeling uncertain, prioritize that. It should be your guiding principle.”

Sullivan referenced some advice from Mike King, CEO of iPullRank:

“Create Great Content and Promote it Effectively – It sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. Google has consistently advised this, and while it may seem non-specific, it’s crucial. For some SEOs, it feels out of their control. However, examining the features that give Google its edge makes it clear that creating superior content and promoting it to the right audience will have the most significant impact. Focusing on link and content features will get you far, but to truly succeed on Google in the long run, you need to produce content that continually deserves to rank highly.”

Websites affected by a recent Google algorithm update might experience improvement with a future core update. However, Sullivan has admitted that the issue could lie with Google itself:

“It might also be that, as I mentioned before, it’s our fault in some of these instances, not the websites’. Part of releasing future updates involves us doing a better job in these cases.”

Diversify your traffic sources. Relying solely on Google Search for traffic is risky. It’s advantageous to have multiple traffic sources, but this alone won’t ensure SEO success. Sullivan explains:

“As for the off-site effort, from my experience before and during my time at Google Search, one key to success with Google Search is to think beyond it.”

“Successful sites with popular content attract traffic in various ways. People visit them directly, come via email referrals, arrive through links from other sites, and get mentioned on social media.

“This doesn’t mean you should chase social or email mentions expecting them to magically improve your Google rankings (they don’t, based on what I know). It means you’re building a site intended for people, not just for Google. Our ranking systems aim to reward good content created for people.”

Grow your audience. Before joining Google, Sullivan managed two websites, including Search Engine Land. Both began from scratch, but through his efforts, he developed them into respected, authoritative, reliable, and profitable platforms.

Also Hit: 6 Effective SEO Strategies for High Rankings in the Quality Content Era

How does this part work? Sullivan shared a personal example:

  • “I enjoy hiking, and a few years back, I stumbled upon an excellent solo hiking website while researching a specific trail. I signed up for their newsletter and have since become a loyal and engaged customer, so to speak.
  • “Search serves as a fantastic starting point, leading to potential long-term relationships with readers and customers. My main objective has always been to foster connections with them once they land on the site: through email, feeds, and social media.”

In another response, he also emphasized, “Establishing multiple avenues to reach an audience is beneficial. Maintaining email lists or social media accounts isn’t difficult or expensive—it’s a well-established marketing strategy.”

A variety of signals. It’s the classic chicken-and-egg scenario in SEO services. Your excellent content may go unnoticed because Google isn’t ranking it.

In response to the Google leak and discussions about Navboost and user interactions (such as clicks) impacting ranking, Sullivan remarked, “If that were supposedly all that matters, no one would ever rank in the first place.”

“Because otherwise, how would a new site (including your site, which was once new) ever gain visibility? The truth is, we rely on a range of ranking signals, including but not limited to, ‘aggregated and anonymized interaction data’…”

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