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May 24, 2011

How Small Business Can Capitalize on Google’s Algorithm Change

In February 2011, Google made big news on the Internet by publishing an algorithm change for search engine relevancy. By and large this was designed to punish duplicate content farms that re-purpose the same written content over and over in different forms. I’ve seen plenty of panicked content online about what this means to e-marketers and website developers, but little in the way of how small business owners can capitalize on the Google algorithm change. This post is for you.

Winners and Losers

There were plenty of losers that aggregate informational content that are now scrambling to learn what has happened and re-strategize ways to defeat the Google changes, much like the continued war between police radar methods and the radar detector manufacturers.

There were winners too, whose keyword positioning has increased their relevance in the alpha-dominant world of Google. Take a look at the following portion of a spreadsheet, taken from wisetartupblog.com and originally compiled by Systrix:

View Image: Systrix Chart

This is only a partial snippet of an extensive table. What you need to focus on is the % win column. By way of comparison, article farm sites like ezinearticles.com posted negative percent losses exceeding 90%. The short of it? The bad actors according to Google got their a%#es kicked and the better, content rich sites like the sampling above benefit in SEO rank as a result.

What Does it Mean to Small Business?

You might be thinking, “Hey, that’s great. Sears and Bed, Bath and Beyond might be doing better. I might pick up a few shares of stock. So what?” And you’d be right. For most of these online properties, they really don’t impact you. But take a look at the social media sites that I ‘X’d’ on the chart. Why are these important to you?

Because as a small business owner you can participate in those sites at literally no cost to you if you have the time to make a commitment to a social media strategy. Their rising tide will lift all the boats that float on their oceans. These sites are free to use out of pocket, but let’s not kid ourselves. To effectively capitalize on the use of these, you need to dedicate the time or assign or hire someone to do it. Either way you are paying for the effort, but I’d strongly suggest that you include this social media strategy as a part of your overall marketing budget, even if it means reducing your traditional media like print or radio spots. Your payback will likely be higher and increase over time.

Facebook

Now, Facebook is the biggest player, and I will be the first to tell you that I don’t yet know how to capitalize on Facebook for small business as well as you likely already do. Make sure you have a personal listing and a company listing, and post your updates and upcoming events on the page, and promote your company Facebook page on your site. Soon you will build some followers that you can engage a dialogue with around your business.

This seems to work wonders for businesses with a local model, like retail or specialty stores, resorts, etc. Facebook is rapidly becoming the number one online means of organizing events like socials, customer appreciations, learning seminars and the like. People set their calendars around stuff they ‘Like’ on Facebook. I’m not an expert on this medium but know folks who are, so if you need advice, drop me a line and I’ll refer you.

LinkedIn

I do know something about LinkedIn. Perhaps you picked up my eBook with instructions on how to get around and really capitalize on your LinkedIn presence or watched the video tutorials that came with it. Then you already know the ‘how’ of building a LinkedIn profile and working it. So why haven’t you done it yet? The table above reinforces the fact that LinkedIn is becoming more relevant in the eyes of Google, the biggest search engine of all time, with a 15% increase in keyword dominance.

My advice to small business owners is this:

– Put your profile on LinkedIn and that of your top company officers

– Put up a company profile for your business on LinkedIn and take the time to do your service listings for relevancy and searchability

– Assign someone to enlist your people in target LinkedIn Groups and participate

– Enhance your basic profile with Applications (see eBook and videos), especially posting video to your profile(s). I cannot state enough what video does to enhance uniqueness and SEO, and remember, LinkedIn profiles are indexed as individual pages on, you guessed it, Google. Google loves video. Read the next section to find out why.

YouTube

You can see in the table that YouTube is also doing well under the new Google rules of the game. Not surprising, as Google owns YouTube. In fact, the Google people had to run denials and state that YouTube increases after the changes were incidental. Uh huh.

This re-demonstrates in spades what Google thinks of video content. Here are suggestions for you:

Get some quality video content on your website, Facebook and LinkedIn pages. This does not have to cost a lot.

Use video instead of, or in addition to, words to promote changes in your company, new product releases, special events, spotlight employees, or company capabilities. We have a package of Executive Video Interviews we use to help small businesses do this, recording the owner and key officers on Skype. If you don’t use us, you can still use a webcam or handheld camera, you don’t need to hire a film crew or disrupt the business for a major shoot, but it just can’t suck.

Post your videos on YouTube on your own channel. This is free. Let YouTube host your videos and embed them in your site as discussed above. This gets the video on your site and takes advantage of the relationship between Google and YouTube, including the obvious search engine optimization gains.

The world is changing for small business. You can ignore it or try to exploit what it is giving you. Social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn are all rising in popularity by an extraordinary degree and show no signs of diminishing. These have long been solid strategies to promote your business but now more than ever. You can’t run your business based upon the whims of Google nor would I ever suggest it, but you can take advantage of what Google has done. If you’re not on board with these social media outlets, start thinking about it now. Begin with one of them, taste a little revenue success, and then move onto others.


You can capitalize on the Google algorithm change for your small business. Learn how to integrate web video and use LinkedIn for your business. Smart Company Growth is a small business growth strategies firm founded by Karl Walinskas that helps companies grow sales and contain costs.

8 Responses to “How Small Business Can Capitalize on Google’s Algorithm Change

    I didn’t know about linkedin strategies, thanx a for that.

    avatar Aaron at WebsiteTraffic says:

    “You can’t run your business based upon the whims of Google nor would I ever suggest it, but you can take advantage of what Google has done.”

    Hmmmm…I think I understand your intent with what I have quoted above. But…It’s clear as day that Google’s whole M.O. is to imperialistically dominate every key pillar of the Internet, and to do so ‘on the sly,’ as it were.

    And it’s working. Not so incidentally, any of you figure out your AdWords “quality score” yet? Yeah, no, that’s because its soul purpose is to drive-up bidding: I, and many people that I know, have had 100% CTR for up to four days in-a-row for certain keywords (that were competitively bid for – and consistently placed in – the mainline) that still experienced declining ‘quality score.’ And for keywords that could not possibly be any more semantically, logically or psychologically relevant to the landing page. How about your budget? Ya limited by budget? Double it – see how long your campaign goes before you are once again in a “limited by budget” status. Anyone notice the consistent differences between the AdWords speech bubble mouse-over under “status” on the “keywords” page and the actual diagnostics tool? How about those keyword-bidding-for-impressions recommendations…..?

    I feel so sorry for people who are in the niches with the morons who jump head first into Google’s automated financial recommendations, thereby unnecessarily driving-up everyone else’s costs.

    What’s my point, you ask?

    My point is this: I have provided but one of about twenty things that I can think off of the top of my head the goes towards proving that people, in a very real, very tangible way, do indeed run their on-line businesses based on the whims of Google.

    In some ways one HAS to. In other ways, one does not.

    To maintain consistency with this post: PLEASE, people – if you use AdWords, pay more attention to what you have paid for a click, and what your average position was for that cost, than ANYTHING else Google is telling you to do in your dashboard.

    There are ways in which Google is trying to quite nearly force you into running your business a certain way that you can utterly dismiss.

    The algorithm changes are not one of these things; but, there is a long list that are.

    Here’s the keyword phrase of the day: CRITICAL THINKING.

    I do not always agree with the dominance of Google, but the latest changes were long overdue. The proliferarion of low value and sometimes non-sensical content on websites and within articles was a real pain in the proverbial backside.

    We need to be exposed to content that is relevant, current and provides a pleasurable reading experience. By adopting these principles and making extensive use of Social Media, everyone including small business owners will improve their web rankings.

    avatar Tom Aikins says:

    It’s interesting to note that Ezine Articles experienced such a drop when they are one of the strictest sites on the web when it comes to weeding out spam. Articles are scanned by humans which isn’t done by many other sites. Yet I don’t see anything about Demand Media’s sites taking any hits. Is this because Google makes so much money from these sites?

    Wow, lots to digest. Thanks for generously sharing this useful info. Especially appreciate the acknowledgment that for some businesses, the goal may not be tens of thousands of fans but a few hundred solid ones.

    avatar Free Host says:

    tough game … but can be won if played strategically … this list may come handy –> ranking factors

    avatar SEO Bedford says:

    Small businesses should focus on smaller niches and work their way expanding their range of prospects and online is the best and easiest way to do so. This article described just that!

    avatar Geoff Holman says:

    Very nice list. It is incumbent on small businesses to use all of the tools available to them. This list will certainly make them aware and point them in the right direction.

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