For small businesses, the Internet is transformative. It can be used to build your brand, your revenue and your overall presence. However, it can also be detrimental—now so more than ever.
Recently, Google has released a series of changes that will prohibit unsavory Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and optimization practices. Many small business owners will see this and think, “My search engine marketing is totally legitimate”—but is it?
If you’re stuffing your content with keywords; if you’re working too hard to build back links; if you’re overly giving or receiving in your sharing of links with other sites; or if you’ve already received an unnatural link warning from Google (which millions of small businesses have), then it’s likely you’re not up to date on best SEM practices.
To ensure your small business is maintaining standards, here are a few tips to help you better market your company to major search engines.
1. Diversify your content.
This is one of the very first steps you should take when implementing or refining your small business SEM practices. Don’t rely solely on link building when there are other proven, effective ways to generate interest. Consider email marketing campaigns; solicit user feedback and reviews from satisfied customers; and invest time in your social media efforts. The higher quality and more diversified your content, the more buzz you will create for your business.
2. Truly engage.
Many small businesses don’t feel as if they have the time or resources to truly participate in the more community-based aspects of their industry. It’s imperative you write educational articles; serve as a guest blogger on other professional, high-quality sites; engage in forums that are relevant to your industry; and actively promote the content you’re generating during these activities.
3. Focus on quality and user experience above all else.
In order to effectively market your small business online, rich, relevant content and end-user satisfaction are imperative. You’ll want to engage your users and somehow add to the value of their online experiences. Use videos, interaction and education—no matter what industry you’re in, you have some form of specialized knowledge you can share with your users.
4. Evaluate your search engine optimization tactics.
Create specialized pages for the several services and products your company offers. Incorporate targeted, well-placed key terms and phrases to your content’s benefit. Start a blog or a forum where you can create quality content, educate your audience and increase the end-user’s experience. Think beyond static text and optimize your videos, media releases and social media channels.
Overall, effective SEO and SEM today means straying away from what was once the commonly taken, cut and dry approach. You must diligently engage your users; focus on diversifying your content; and always keep quality at the forefront—these honest methods of marketing to the engines will generate the links and traffic your business needs.