Google’s vision for search business is simple: One has a thought and instantly gets an answer that is 100% relevant.
This means you as a marketer are in the answers business.
If you want to grow your business by extending its reach online, you have to get serious about providing answers that are most requested by those in your target audience – a community comprised of prospects, buyers, and influencers.
The Nuances of Answers and Content Marketing
To be the go-to source of relevant answers, you obviously need to understand the most common questions being asked, while also anticipating what is coming next.
This should not be difficult for most small businesses. You hear the same requests again and again. However, you probably also assume answers to frequently asked questions are equally common.
Guess what? They aren’t.
People are hungry for data that helps them to solve problems. The problem with data is that it is not always readily available, is out-of-date, or comes from a source with little credibility.
Nevertheless, Google is determined to perfect search to accommodate virtually any request for information.
So, if you want to make your company more attractive to both Google and prospects searching for what you do well, you have to learn more about the game of search – one that is clearly trending towards social.
To be an effective marketer today, you have to understand online search – because that is where the action is.
Understanding Google Will Help Your Business
The evolution of search can be explained in the following 6 minute video.
It provides valuable insights into the Google mindset – starting with the foundation of the company in 1996 – and projecting into a future where we will all be doing most of our marketing.
Knowing that people are hungry for answers to their problems, it is essential to realize you are in the content marketing business - providing valuable information that solves problems, regardless of whether it is distributed online or offline.
How To Determine the Most Relevant Answers
As Google continues to adjust their algorithms to determine what is the best information to send to those conducting a search, there is one parameter that will always be relevant – and that is relevancy itself.
This is where things get a little complicated. Google has to comprehensively address the following to select the best content – and you should doing the same.
Why – Why you? What is your basis of authority?
In practical terms, this is a sales job – no different than when you are selling to a prospective customer.
Accomplishments, associations, and credentials all weigh in on this. This is one reason for keeping your social media profiles current, and interacting with like-minded professionals. Of course, relevant links are the proof that Google values most.
What – Are you addressing specific problems?
Many consultants claim to help businesses grow, but fail to define that growth. Growth can be defined by market share, revenues, and profits. You have to be specific.
Who – Have you clearly defined your target audience?
The more clearly your solutions address the needs of specific communities, the more likely Google will highly rank your content. The common mistake is to take a general approach that claims to help everybody – which essentially means its value is low.
How – Can you communicate a viable solution?
Most companies fall short with this, because they do not have direct experience implementing their recommended solutions? If you do, you will be smart to provide case studies or practical examples.
Videos (YouTube is a Google property), photos, and step-by-step instructions are particularly relevant.
Where – Where can one go to get the necessary materials or information to better implement your solution?
The video above from Google’s blog is just one example. When you take advantage of the work of other experts you increase the value of your solutions.
When - Is your solution time-sensitive?
The most relevant solution are the ones that are fresh and timely – and available here and now. If you do your homework, you can add something extra that will make your answer to a particular problem the most relevant one.
The Magic of Google+
Google is integrating all of their properties, along with many other social media channels – and Google+ is the linchpin in that game.
The cornerstone of your presence on Google is your Google+ profile -with your Google profile being the conduit that brings together all of your online content and activity.
Step one for maximizing your relevance with Google is your personal Google profile.
Step two is establishing a personal Google+ profile, and then using that to start building your business page on Google+.
The simple fact is Google owns search on the open web – accounting for more than 60% of all search results. This means to ignore Google+ is to risk irrelevancy.
Granted, Google+ is still in its early stages – but its a powerful force, and most experts agree. There is no question your commentary and answers on Google+ will earn more weight than on other sites, such as Quora – a credible real-time question and answer site.
Google is a force that markers should not underestimate.
If you understand Google and help it by providing relevant answers that solve problems for your community, you will be on the right track for moving your business forward.
So, the question is simple. What do your prospects and customers really want to know – and what are you doing about it?
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Until tomorrow, Jeff