The answers to these questions (luckily for us) are actually pretty simple, and the solutions are equally simple. It all boils down to the ultimate cause of all changes the Internet goes through: the amount of information it holds.
On the internet, hundreds of thousands of web pages are created every day. That's a lot of information to sort through, but that's exactly what search engines do. They index new pages and update changes to old pages to try to find the most relevant information for searchers. As more and more data is put on the internet, though, more sophisticated methods are needed to determine what web pages are the most relevant to searchers' needs.
A method the search engines are finding to be effective is focusing on the content of your website. The major search engines now read each and every paragraph, sentence, and word on your website. What's even more impressive: they are reading your site in context. This means that search engines know when you are typing a bunch of keywords at random (as many SEO companies unfortunately still do), and when you are publishing content that is helpful to people.
Also, search engines look at how specific your content is. With so much information available over the internet, search engines can pick more specific results, better tailored to the searcher's needs. This often results in a pretty narrow range of what's considered relevant to a search. Because of this, each page of your website should have a similar but not identical message to convey to visitors. This maximizes the amount of specific searches for which your website will be relevant.
To illustrate this, let's pretend I operate a business that specializes in party balloons, and I have a one page website that focuses on balloons. This might show up in search engines for balloons. What about parties though? The search engines don't have any way to know that I do party balloons. For all they know, I might be selling hot air balloons or balloons for blimps. To remedy this, I can create two more pages on my website: one that focuses on parties, and one that focuses on party balloons. This will tell search engines that my website is relevant to parties, balloons, and party balloons. As a result, I will get more interest in my website, and more potential for business.
This is a simplified example of how making the content of each web page very specific can help you to improve your company's visibility on the Internet. Being specific is great, but it's even more powerful when you increase the amount of content you publish. This is true for a one key reason: search engines relate content length and amount with expertise in your field.
This seems weird at first. Anybody can write a bunch of fluff to increase the word count on their web pages, right? It's true that anyone can write filler for their web pages, but very few write content that is long and specific. Usually, the only people who have enough knowledge of their industry to be specific while writing a lot of content are industry experts.
Be wary of writing too much as well though, as search engines will mark you as long winded, which is definitely not what you want. There is a Goldie Locks range between 1,500 and 4,000 words per page that search engines prefer. You can be marked as an expert if you remain within it. There is, however, no limit to how many pages you can have.
This brings us to the next critical way to stay ahead of the competition: make more pages. Search engines reward sites with a lot of pages. You don't hear Amazon.com complaining about a lack of business. They have over 173 million pages indexed, and this has made them relevant to hundreds of thousands of searches. Similarly, Wikipedia.org shows up in the results for millions of different search terms. They have over 87 million pages on their site, most of which contain a hefty amount of highly specific text. These examples illustrate pretty clearly the importance of having a lot of pages on your website. The bottom line is: the more pages you have with specific content, the better your site is going to do on the Internet.
The last way to stay ahead of your competition is to consistently add content. The sites that have content added regularly are often seen by search engines as reliable. This is why online newspapers, forums, and blogs do so well with their online presence. They simply have content regularly added to their websites, which results in them being tagged as a reliable source.
All in all, there are three online marketing strategies you need to leave your competition in the dust on the Internet.
- Make your content as specific as possible
- Create more content
- Publish content as consistently as possible
These three things can help you to better your online image and outmaneuver the competition online on a long term basis. If you're in a highly competitive field, expect to see results after about three months of work. It's an investment, but it will pay off big time if you're willing to stick to it.