If you build it, they will come. Right?


Today, Google indexes over 30 trillion unique individual web pages. That makes the new web page you just launched one in 30 trillion. When it comes to page ranking at the top of Google searches, you have better odds of winning the lottery.

Hopkinsmedicine.org is one of the most visited hospital or academic medical center web sites in the world, with its pages appearing on page one of Google for more than 52,000 keyword searches each month*.

As web writers we’ve learned the techniques to stack the digital deck and push our web pages to the top of our audience’s search.

  • We search-engine optimize content by strategically placing keywords, headings and alt tags on pages to leverage our way to the top of a search results page.
  • We study Google Analytics and other monitoring tools to tailor the message to what people are reading or watching on our website.
  • Bottom line, we balance our stakeholder’s intended goal with what the public wants.

But sometimes this strategy isn’t understood by stakeholders and disagreements can ensue. If this happens, take a timeout to communicate your digital strategy to stakeholders using the following techniques.

Educate stakeholders in SEO best practices and the value of “page one” search results. Use videos, visuals and other information already online to help educate stakeholders on these best practices. The goal isn’t to make them SEO experts, but to share the strategy behind your recommendations.  These strategies can land them on the first page on your audience’s search results.

Draw a correlation between desired outcomes or events. What are your stakeholder’s goals? Maybe it’s increased revenue or boosting their U.S. News & World Report rankings? Can you draw parallels between the data? How do your competitors rank for desirable keywords? Through your research you may uncover untapped opportunities. Innovation may not come easily but with enough preparation and analysis, it can be achieved.

Listen, sympathize and explain. This may feel like a therapy session at times, but even the best relationships needs a little coaching. When your web page doesn’t match your stakeholder’s vision they may feel unheard and poorly represented.

Be sure to hear your stakeholder out and assure them that you share their goal and their vision. Reiterate that by search-engine optimizing their content, you’re strategically leveraging the content to reach the intended audience.

The old adage “If you build it they will come” may have been true once (shout-out to 1991!) but today it takes a dedicated strategy to take your page to the top. Helping stakeholders understand this process will not only improve your relationship but will improve the quality of content they request.

*Based on August 2016 data