Improving search results is no secret. There is no magic formula or SEO one can do and voila, you are instantly at the top of all search pages.
How do I know this? Google told me. Well not me, they told someone. I just happened to read what they said.
Improving Search Results
So what is the answer? Keep reading. It's directly from Google. Below is a quote from Andray Lipattsev, Google's Search Quality Senior Strategist (Search Engine Watch).
Andrea's response is to a question, what are the first and second greatest ranking factors.
“Yes; I can tell you what they [the number 1 and 2 ranking factors] are. It’s content, and links pointing to your site.”
Many won't like Google's answer. Why? Because though content means we have a somewhat level playing field, it also means there is no magic SEO bullet. No tweaks here. Changes there and voila, you are the top of search.
Rather it's somewhat old school, hard work. Creativity and effort in providing the resources and tools users are searching for. That users demand and will find whether it is from you or your competitor.
So What About SEO
SEO is important. There is no denying it. But for the business owner it's misleading. Many think you invest a little money in "SEO" and the register will ring with a vengeance. Not true.
For the SEO'er, the person doing SEO, they realize the limits of SEO in terms of sales and traffic. The challenge for them is to manage expectations.
To help the business owner understand that SEO, though important, has diminishing returns (please read Misunderstanding SEO for more). A good plan will still require content marketing or some other means of driving traffic. In conjunction with good SEO.
The Good News
The good news about this reality of improving search results is multi-fold (is that a word?). First, it costs next to nothing to produce videos, written posts, audio files or some other means of providing information to customers.
Equally if not more important, is such an effort requires you to be tuned in to your customers. To truly understand what they want to hear, how they want it said and what is on their mind.
In other words, amid an ever growing digital world (please read The Growth Of Digital for more), many old school practices still apply.
Listening to your customers. Responding to what they need. And taking no shortcuts. Rather building relationships, based on trust. From which sales will ring the register.
There's an order. It needs to be followed. There are no shortcuts in business. Never has been and never will be.