This post is for anyone who thinks that effective Internet marketing is simply a case of achieving a top 3 position in a Google search.
As a company involved in helping people achieve advantageous search engine results we’re certainly not going to deny that a connection exists but it really is only part of the story. Pay per click advertising will get you straight to the top but unless it’s combined with a coherent marketing strategy and a well thought out website much of the money will be wasted.
On the assumption that most of us would be happy with a lesser position in the search results if sales had quadrupled I offer the following thoughts on keeping SEO in perspective.
SEO Is Just a Means to an End
SEO represents a means to an end, the end being increased business/sales/leads etc. Unfortunately it’s too easy to get so wrapped up in the SEO process that you lose sight of the actual goal. With that in mind here are 5 questions that need to be asked early in the website improvement process.
Apart from SEO, what other marketing activities are you using?
Do you routinely measure the success of your other marketing? Do you know where your leads currently come from?
Once visitors arrive at your site is there a clear site structure allowing them to quickly find relevant information and is there a clear call to action encouraging them to make contact/download a brochure/make a purchase? As an aside, we’ve seen plenty of beautifully designed websites that simply fail in the job of getting potential customers to pick up the phone.
Do you know how much it costs for each lead you get from each marketing medium you use? Are you happy/unhappy with this number? Are you looking for more leads at the same cost or would you be happy to spend more to get more leads?
Is there a limit to the amount of business you can take on or is it simply a case of the more leads the better?
These questions aren’t definitive but they all aim to gather background information that is crucial to the success of any marketing campaign that uses the Internet. If you’re trying to improve your lead generating capabilities using the website, but don’t have a clear view of the answers to these questions then you’re really working in the dark.
Search engine marketing is an increasingly important tool but it can’t be considered in isolation from the other things that you do to drive sales.
The video provides excellent background on SEO for Google and how the necessary requirements to do it well have changed in the 15 years that Google has been dominant in Internet searching.
The take-home message for 2013 is the importance of high quality links into your site. Even a small number of high quality links are far more beneficial than a large number of low quality links. Getting these links into your site takes a little bit of effort. Your company needs to get involved with the professional bodies or directories that exist specifically for your industry and get them to link to you.
If you do any work for charity or in the community then make sure that what you’ve done is well-publicised and if possible get links from local or charitable organisation websites into your company’s website or Facebook page. Remember that academic and government institutions as well as charities have some of the highest page rank. These are the people you need to connect with and you will have the added benefit that the links will come as part of a greater involvement of your company across your industry, as well as in your local community. All of which is great marketing all by itself!
The other important aspect covered in the video is the growing importance of social sites in professional circles. Google is increasingly looking at how your company interacts with social networks on the grounds that any company that is important in its field will attract followers across the social networks.
One mistake I see quite frequently are company Facebook pages that are essentially copies of the company website. Remember, the clue is in the name! Social networks should be where you put your company social news and the fun things that happen or are organised by the company. Keep the business stuff on your website and the fun stuff on Facebook and you’ll be amazed at how may followers you can accrue.
Enjoy the video and don’t forget if you’d like us to help you improve your website, or point you in the right direction on social networks, or help you with any form of Internet marketing then we’d be very happy to chat with you.
This post stems from a GoogleWebmasterHelp video on how Google search results are created that was posted by Matt Cutts in April 2012. If you don’t subscribe to this YouTube channel and you have an interest in what Google does then it’s certainly worth a look. At the time of writing the video is already nearly 18 months old and so doesn’t include the latest updates but it still gives a pretty good overview of how a Google search works. Continue reading →