Time for a pat on the back. Here at SEOSiteCheckUp.com, we’ve written about potential Panda changes before Panda was released. And, for an entire year, we wrote about future Google changes leading right up to the release of Penguin.
No, we’re not psychics. We just understand the importance of value, and understand Google does too. In this way, anyone can be an SEO psychic. Although it’s easy to forget, the laws of business are still the same – without the customer, there is no business.
Regardless of technological advancements, this isn’t going to change. At the end of the day, the best businesses are those who deliver the best experience to the customer, whether through price, service or support.
Google is number one. Yes, Bing’s making progress, but it’s only starting to be progress worth reporting on. Google reached number one by focusing on the user experience when no one else was. When every other search engine featured landing pages that would make a veteran spelunker claustrophobic, Google had a logo and a search bar.
Guess which one customer preferred?
But now technology is really taking a front seat. Google’s algorithm is getting good. It’s hardly ever we put a search into Google that doesn’t yield exactly what we were looking for. Google’s also getting a whole lot better at telling when people are gaming their algorithms.
Let’s face it. SEO, by definition, is abuse of Google’s algorithm. At this point, Google views it as a necessary evil. They realize they’re not going to get rid of SEO—not yet, anyway—so they’ve “embraced” it.
Underneath Matt Cutt’s blog and Google’s communication with SEO sites, though, there’s an underlying current if dissatisfaction with all things SEO. Need proof? Check out the Mayday Update. Check out the Panda Update. Check out the Penguin Update.
Google is, slowly but surely, decreasing the amount of power SEO’s have. And as they do that, what option will be left? Without SEO, sites will be ranked solely on the amount of value they provide.
For some, that’s scary….
Online business owners, the time is NOW. It’s time to start heading away from SEO and towards presentation. It’s all about the customer. User experience may be a buzz phrase, but it also means something. It means providing real value to a customer – value they couldn’t get anywhere but your site.
When you provide this type of value, you rank on page #1.
“But what about sites that provide value and don’t rank because people never see them?”
Can it! I’ve heard this argument time and time again, but I’ve yet to see a site that truly provides unique value and an incredible user experience fail to rank well.
There are other ways to get eyeballs on your page than building backlinks for six months, you know?
SEOSiteCheckUp.com is an SEO website. Why do we spend so much time talking about online business tips and value? Because that’s where SEO is going. It’s about the presentation – what your customer feels within the first five seconds of visiting your website.
It’s about long, valuable articles (but not length for the sake of length). It’s about video’s that, in 30 seconds, tell your customer everything they need to know. It’s about interviews with experts who hold nothing back. It’s about the design of your website.
Yes, design matters in the presentation era.
Start thinking long-term. Yes, a big popup “lightbox” will increase your subscriber count. Who cares? Do you know what goes through a customer’s head when they see that opt-in box? Sure, they might put in their email. But it’s going to affect how they view your website from that point on.
A focus on conversions is a short term strategy. Think long-term. Think BUSINESS, not internet marketing.
Because that’s how Google’s thinking…
Promoting Your Website in a 2.0 World
Web 2.0 has revolutionized marketing, and savvy webmasters and businesses are leveraging the “viral” element of social networking to increase their traffic and profits. In fact, social media has taken the power of “word of mouth” advertising and multiplied its effects exponentially.
Social media sites are websites and online technologies where people can share opinions and experiences with each other. They are designed to be driven mainly by user generated content, such as shared videos, recommendations, and favorite websites.
With a little effort, you can access potential new markets, gain new customers, and build your business using social media technology.
What is Social Media?
Social media is quite distinct from traditional media, such as newspapers, magazines, and television. With the growth of social media, marketing is no longer a “one way” street, where businesses hope that their barrage of stale ads capture the attention of potential customers.
Instead, social media leverages the power of the internet to connect people with others. Users build the content with their views, recommended links, or other generated action, exemplified on sites such as yelp.com, digg.com, and stumbleupon.com.
Using this public technology, it is possible for an individual or business to reach thousands or even millions of visitors or customers with little or no money involved. Imagine the powerful phenomenon of traditional “word of mouth” advertising and expand its ripple effect by thousands. Instead of your customers sharing your business with their 10 family members and neighbors, they can expose your business to the millions of users who are part of social networks!
Another aspect of social media is the benefit of recency, or the short time lag between communications. While television or print ads can take weeks or months between updates, social media allows users to update content or information as frequently as they wish – which can be helpful for responding to customer requests.
However, along with the good comes the bad. Social media can be accessed by anyone and updated any time, and therefore, there stands the chance of little accountability for the content. Information could be false or questionable, and the quality may be poor. Additionally, social media allows anyone to post anonymous opinions. A disgruntled customer or anyone who wishes to cause trouble or chaos can post negative comments about a business or website.
Nonetheless, social media is a very powerful way for you to enhance the presence of your website and business. But it’s not as simple as posting a link or a review yourself. You must leverage individuals and groups to talk to each other and create the ‘viral’ aspect of network marketing.
What are the best options for promoting your business or website online using social media?
Blogs and Podcasts
A regularly updated blog or live podcast recording on a website provides great publicity for two reasons. First, it provides great fodder for search engines. Major search engines appreciate websites that have frequent updates. The more frequently you publish to your website, the more regularly the spiders will come to visit and index you. While daily blog posts are fantastic, even posting once or twice a week is excellent for search engine purposes.
Of course, blog posts can be written with the search engines in mind, including keywords and phrases within each post. The more frequently you update your blog with keyword rich posts, the more chances your website will be seen by search engines for the topics on which you compose.
Secondly, your blog gives you the opportunity to provide frequent updates to your visitors. Well written blogs with regularly updated posts and great content tend to attract new visitors and keep a steady traffic stream to your website. You can blog about new features, industry news, upcoming projects, and helpful advice for your readers and customers.
Not only does having a blog provide great content for your visitors, but it also gives them a chance to speak up and voice their opinions through comments. Conversations between a business and its audience, as well as among the users themselves, can go a long way in creating loyalty and good word of mouth recommendations.
YouTube promotion strategies have taken on the form very similar to blogs. Many smaller companies have made the effort to produce short videos and post them on a regular basis. YouTube posts can look professional with good lighting and great cameras, but the main element of importance is quality content. Your videos can offer instructions on how to use your product or even interviews, including clips from satisfied customers.
Facebook and other Social Media Sites
These member websites are utilized by millions of people who wish to make and maintain contact with others. These sites are great for creating a “member” account with your business and promoting it among your gathered “friends.” You can also purchase display ads, which are seen by millions of users when they access their accounts.
Another way to get good publicity from social media is by review sites such as those found on CitySearch.com or Yelp.com. These sites create business listings in local metropolitan areas, but each listing also allows users to post comments and reviews of a business. Your business can take advantage of this type of free publicity by encouraging your customers to post a review of your business on these sites.
Digg.com / reddit.com / StumbleUpon.com / Del.icio.us
These social networking sites, among others, offer web users an ability to create backlinks to their favorite websites. The main focus of the sites is to accumulate members who practice recommending and sharing websites and listing their favorites. Websites with fans who “reddit,” “share,” “stumble,” or “digg” their content will often show up on main pages – resulting in additional free promotion and a large increase in web traffic.
Social media can be a great business promotion tool. With the availability, accessibility, and ability to create instant content, your website can gain more visitors and customers cheaply. You can do-it-yourself or hire a social media or SEO expert to help in your business promotion. While this process and technology is still red hot, you should take advantage of the benefits it offers.