May 31, 2011
As more and more people jump online and get comfortable with the ease of plunking down their credit card for purchases, it is becoming apparent that traditional marketing such as direct mail, advertising, and telemarketing just won’t be enough to get your small business over the top. Changes in the world that small business now sees are nothing short of mind-blowing. If you want to get your business, product or service noticed, you need to be marketing for search engines (SEM) and on board with the social media impact on business. Online tools today have changed the game and created new rules for information exchange and information commerce. Software as a service application, better known as SAAS, is bringing everything from Aunt Sadie’s bookkeeping services to your kid’s martial arts training regimen online as part of the mysterious but ever-expanding Cloud. Your business needs to be visible in the cloud, and marketing for search engines is your primary tactic of being found.
Interview with Ira Wolfe
The final piece of my Skype video interview with Ira Wolfe of Success Performance Solutions gets into the final 3 C’s of Marketing for Search Engines, including the most important piece of the puzzle – consistency.
As my VBlog guest Ira Wolfe sums it all up, here are the 4 Top Guidelines you need to know about successful marketing for search engines:
If your website is your printed brochure and you like it that way, please click off of this page now! You cannot have any success online driving traffic to your site from search engines without content. Gobs of content! Oodles. Insane amounts of words, pics, video, music-whatever floats your boat. By insane amounts, recognize that there are millions of websites out there with, sit down, 1000s of pages of content!
Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo look at content as a measuring stick of how relevant your business is in the world. There are plenty of strategies, and unless your resources of money and bodies are unlimited, you can’t do them all. Article writing, for my blog and similar versions for dozens of other’s blogs and article sites, is a favorite strategy of mine. If you’re paying attention you just learned one way to get written content for your site. Syndicate it. This is great for those who fear content creation, don’t have time for it, or simply lack the confidence that anything they have to say is worth broadcasting. There are millions of bloggers and poor man’s authors out there dying for you to publish their material on your site for the simple favor of a return link or three to their websites or blogs.
Don’t like to write? That’s OK. Know what a ghost blogger is, Mr. big-time CEO? And in today’s full-color world, Google rewards pictures, properly tagged, even more. Even better is video. People, if you’ve been to my VBlog and seen me interviewing subject matter experts, it’s not because I think I have a career in film making or replacing Larry King. I want to get great information to my readers and video works fantastic, but it also boosts my search engine rankings in a major way. Boo-Yah!
If you want to know how to really beef up your content, just get a hold of me and I’ll give you some free tips and some other things you can do. I can even interview you for your own site promotion.
It ain’t a once and done world. Any good marketer knows that it may take a while for someone to warm up to your content, so you need to have plenty of it and keep refreshing it… a lot! Your goal is not to have them look on your site or blog once, but to bookmark it, subscribe to your RSS feed, and basically give you permission to market to them again and again. It’s that repetition of content in different forms, if possible, that wins over people. Once they subscribe, you’re now beyond idle chit chat and into the hand-holding phase of the relationship.
Keep going and you just might get to second base, where they like you enough to want to talk to you.
Ahhh! Now we’re getting comfortable. If you subscribe to or read any blog posts, you know that 99.9% of them have a box to encourage you to have a take and don’t suck about it. You also see all those tiny little squares on websites, all over the place (just check mine-get your dead cat out again), asking you to follow them on Facebook, re-Tweet them, subscribe, StumbleUpon, or otherwise talk to the site, rate the blog, or product, or picture – get it! This is just marketing recognition of the importance of dialogue and chatter in today’s world. Exploiting this correctly is the main way social media helps small business. Everyone is a critic, yes, and torque-off the wrong, angry blogger or hacker at your own risk, but most ordinary humans have real lives without the time to spend it on wrecking yours with vitriolic bile in cyberspace. Create a conversation with your customers, and soon you’ll have them creating positive, happy, fluffy conversations about your business. Do this right and go viral and you’re a celebrity in your own little business niche, and that ain’t chump change, friends.
This is the most important C of the Big 4 for marketing for search engines. Every day, millions of pages of content get loaded onto the Internet and indexed by Google, Yahoo and the boys. Not to mention, the rules and algorithms that the major search engines use to determine relevance in the world are constantly changing. What that means to you is, if you are trying to get any search engine traffic at all to do enough business for you to buy a Happy Meal, you need to be engaging in this stuff weekly. Monthly? Cute. Once per quarter? Google does not suffer fools easily. The Internet is a – what have you done for me lately – world. On top of the world today, living in a refrigerator box tomorrow.
Don’t let me be misunderstood (note to self, try to develop some lyrics around that), you need to consistently market to the search engine universe to succeed at the game. Having said that, if your content is wholesome, good stuff, the huge benefit of the online world is that your stuff never dies! I heard a guy on a YouTube video say, “Google never forgets.” I have articles from 10 years ago that are ranked in the top 3 of certain undisclosed keywords to this day! It can be a beautiful thing. The problem is, you never know what is going to last. It’s simple really. You don’t know what the rest of the world is going to do that might be more relevant than the pearls you posted last week. The best you can do is keep going. You’ll hit some grand slams at times, but you will end up scoring more runs in the long run with singles, walks and being hit by the pitch. Grab your Louisville Slugger and step up to the plate.
For more great tips on social media, visit the Smart Blog at smartcompanygrowth.com/smart-blog. Post your experiences and you might be in the next article. Karl Walinskas operates SmartCompanyGrowth.com, a virtual sales development and cost management firm for small business.