A search engine optimization marketing campaign can seem like a lot of work at first, and expense should you decide to hire an SEO expert to run it, but many of the results will have long term effects, allowing you to reap the benefits for many years after the initial effort. Links you acquire will remain in place for years, continuing to drive valuable traffic to your site with no further effort required.
Search engine optimization can have a tremendous impact on any web-based business, more than any other Internet marketing practice available. SEO has the capability to yield huge results from a very small investment. Costly conventional advertising cannot hold a candle to a well-planned and skillfully executed SEO marketing campaign.
Improved Page Rankings
Achieving a favorable page ranking with search engines takes time. If your page is brand new, you will not get top ranking overnight no matter how many short cuts you take. That said, a page can exist for many years and never achieve a favorable ranking, and that’s usually because of the lack of good SEO practices. An SEO expert can significantly expedite your web site’s trip to the top of the search engine page.
Better Brand Awareness
With web-based marketing, more hits usually equals more sales, but even beyond sales, if customers are seeing your brand name pop up frequently whenever they conduct web searches, they will start to recognize it and become more familiar with it. Then when those same customers are in the market for your product, your name will be at the top of their list.
Cost to Value of SEO
Compared with other forms of marketing, search engine optimization is probably the lowest cost to implement and provides the highest rate of return. The actual cost of a SEO marketing campaign varies widely, but in general, monthly fees paid to an SEO marketer will be much lower than the cost of buying traffic through programs such as pay per click or pay per view. Also, SEO marketing expenses tend to be reduced over time, as links are built up and traffic becomes practically self-generating.
In summary, while SEO efforts and expenses can seem intensive at first, it is important to remember that SEO marketing is a front-loaded program. At first there may be a lot of effort and expense being generated for what seems like very little return, but as time goes by, the efforts will become self-sustaining. SEO marketing results have a way of snowballing, and rewards increase exponentially, so that once a website begins to generate more traffic, it often takes off rather dramatically.
Once the website attains favorable page ranking and is getting a tremendous amount of traffic, the SEO marketing campaign becomes minimal, as the links have been generated, the engine is running, so to speak, and only a small amount of fuel is necessary to keep it going. At this point, you will be generating a ton of free traffic and profit with little to no marketing cost at all.
It seems as if everyone is down on SEO these days—if not the actual practices than the word, which encompasses everything and yet seems to mean nothing. Search Engine Optimization may seem like an empty phrase, but all it means is writing and marketing content for Internet searching. Some business owners may even be weary of SEO companies, and with good reason, if they have dealt with shady SEO firms that promised the world but delivered nothing.
Why Does SEO Have a Bad Rap?
Even Google and the other search engines are coming down on “SEO content”, a rather new term in the English language that refers to content written for Search Engines. Technically speaking, SEO is a good term, as every website or magazine—from Time Magazine to CNN to TheWhiteHouse.gov must be “optimized” so that its content is crawled, indexed and returned in SERP, or Search Engine Results Pages.
The connotation, however, is that content written for websites—as opposed to magazines, government sites and entertainment periodicals—is inferior writing, written solely for robots and not for humans. Sadly, this is true in the case of many websites that have coasted to website marketing success by scraping, duplicating, rewriting and recycling existing articles.
Content Mills Clash with Directories
In fact, the proliferation of bad SEO writing, and low quality websites that excessively advertise based on practically non-existent content, is what provoked Google to release two of its most recent algorithm updates in 2011 and 2012. Now, with the Penguin update, the globally popular search engine is taking steps to penalize websites that offer inferior writing created “for SEO” but not for human beings.
Sadly, some quality websites like Ezine Articles suffered the wrath of Google with the last two updates, and experienced a major drop off in traffic. In response, and probably in panic mode, Ezine Articles began deleting many “author pages” that it deemed of low quality. While this didn’t please the many authors who worked on those articles for linkbuilding purposes (and SEO firms who promised a permanent link to their clients), the intention was admirable. Still, this may have been a case of “too little, too late” since the latest reports suggest Ezine Articles is still faring badly in direct competition with news magazines, and even some company sites that feature higher quality content.
Don’t Give Up on Quality SEO Work!
All that said, there is nothing wrong with SEO articles. They don’t have to be bad, or of low quality content. For that matter, people don’t have to be afraid of article directories. Article directories remain a legitimate source of linkbuilding; the only difference now is that the directory—and the search engines—are going to start scrutinizing individual pages rather than allowing a website to coast on its highly trafficked name.
While it’s always a good idea to invest in multiple avenues of SEO, such as blogging, press release writing and social networking, SEO articles for directories can still be part of your strategy. The main idea is that it’s better to spread your links all over the Internet, at reputable sites, rather than intensifying efforts on one individual directory. The biggest change in the most recent Penguin algorithm update is that entire websites could potentially be penalized for publishing low quality pages.
Just as with web hosting, your articles could be penalized in SERPs due to sharing a “bad neighborhood” with other content mills. The old adage applies here: don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Spread your wealth of knowledge, in order to become wealthy in SEO.
It’s safe to say that the last year has been tough on the SEO industry as a whole. There have been numerous Google Panda updates, then Venice and now Penguin. Unfortunately, these updates haven’t been as cute as their names suggest for many website owners. Many websites are facing penalties and having to redo their content and content strategy entirely. This leaves me with one question:
Why are people still asking for article spinning and still using automatic techniques to create their content?
It’s no question as to whether or not these strategies are obsolete. They are! Google has openly said that they are penalizing for the use of these strategies, yet nothing is changing. Everyone is always looking for “easy SEO,” but SEO wasn’t meant to be easy! I see dozens of requests for content creation based purely on the use of software and low quality content.
In their latest update on the Google Inside Search blog, they’ve listed 52 changes they made in April. One of those was “No freshness boost for low-quality content.” This means that they have made a modification to ensure that low-quality content does not receive a freshness boost and therefore no boost in ranking, while their improvements on the “freshness signal” ensures that quality and fresh content will be promoted.
If you’re using software to spin content (that probably wasn’t all that great to start with) what are you trying to achieve? I see it as a waste of money. Instead of putting effort into creating spun content, why not put that effort into creating quality content that people will actually find useful? If you do, you’ll benefit much more in the long run.
Lay Off the Keywords!
Another update they made in April was a “keyword stuffing classifier improvement.” This update enables them to detect keyword stuffing more effectively and has made this classifier in search better. Google has recently stated that a keyword density over 3% is too high. In fact, I recommend that you create content with keywords in mind and use them as naturally as possible. Nobody wants to read content that has obvious keyword placements in it, it’s distracting as a reader and your reader will most likely click away quickly.
Focus More on Your Reader and Less on Google
I think these are becoming the words to live by for website owners and SEOs. It’s easy to focus on the technicalities, but what we really need to focus on is our readers. What do they want to learn? How can we provide them the information they seek?
Google tells us about the changes that affect our websites, but they’ll never tell us exactly what to do to improve our rankings. They give hints, but they’ll never tell us their secrets. By not telling us their secrets, they are able to make us focus on improving our white hat strategies and on creating amazing and useful websites. That’s what they really want. So instead of focusing on how you can “game” the search engines and make your job “easy”, focus on providing what your customers want and you’ll be rewarded by the search engines as well.
Whether you’re a real estate site, a travel site or have a brick and mortar business as well as a website, local search can play a major factor in your site receiving relevant traffic. There are several ways to take advantage of local search listings through Google Maps, Facebook Places and a variety of review sites, but what about the content on your own website? Does it do anything to improve your local search results?
Whether or not your content is working for you from a local standpoint should really be considered. Are local keywords worked into your content pages? Do you blog regularly and use local information and keywords that will attract visits from the search engines or do you just write like everyone should already know where you are and what you do?
Another point to consider is including content on your site that doesn’t have anything to do with your business, but everything to do with what is going on around you. Talk about local events, local attractions, places to visit, etc. The more you talk about your local community, the greater the chances are that another local business will return the favor and talk about your establishment as well. This is a great linkbuilding opportunity!
For example, let’s say you have a seafood restaurant in San Diego. Your blogs should talk about your business and what you have to offer the community, but also what events you’re participating in and what attractions are located nearby. These are great opportunities to work in phrases such as, “Once you’re done at SeaWorld, stop over for a nice relaxing dinner on our patio to unwind. After all, we’re a favorite San Diego seafood restaurant!”
This strategy can be used by any type of business in any location. Some of the best article titles that utilize this strategy are “Top X” and “Best of” articles. And, of course, if you need help writing and coming up with topics, Words You Want has you covered!
Google has shown the SEO world in the last year that they want to see useful and relevant content on your website. They are encouraging this and they are rewarding websites that are doing it right. Words You Want can assist you in creating reader friendly content that not only boosts your local search, but improves the quality of your website at the same time.
By now you’ve probably had a chance to plan some “New Year’s Resolutions.” Perhaps you’ve already written a few on avoiding cake and candy, not buying every new video game contraption that comes out, and avoiding student drivers at all costs. Good luck with those!
Speaking of resolutions, here are a few more resolutions that relate to your business. This is not just a blog meant for corporations or midsize companies. This applies to anyone and everyone that wants to start making income on the Internet. We’re going to focus on three new resolutions for this year: “conquering the golden triangle”, “making peace with FaceBook” and “investing in yourself.”
Conquering the Golden Triangle: The “golden triangle” refers to a study by Enquiro and Did-It, that suggested that most Internet users start reading a page at the top and then over to the top of the first result and then down on the left side of the bottom. In other words, a “Golden Triangle” of web marketing success. The most important areas are the top “sponsored” results (meaning megabucks paid by Wal-Mart, Amazon, etc.), the top organic results (SEO champions) and then the search engine’s “alternative results” which are usually news or shopping oriented links. You don’t have to be a corporation to earn a place in this golden triangle. In fact, you don’t even have to mess with the sponsored search results, unless of course you just enjoy giving money away. You can earn a #1 spot in organic search results through article marketing and Search Engine Optimization. Why, if you write news stories and blog stories that are timely and relevant to the day’s headlines, you could even land yourself in an “alternative” search result, thus completing the triangle.
Making Peace with FaceBook: All right, so you have a love-hate relationship with FaceBook, Twitter, and all those other social media sites. They may seem silly at first glance, but they are worth billion of dollars…at least to Mark Zuckerberg. The fact of the matter is that many companies are resisting getting “seriously” involved in social media—and it’s their mistake. Social media is the trendy new way to find prospects, sell merchandise and establish brand name to your targeted audience. Social media networking may be confusing and intimidating at first, but it’s where the people are. It’s the best place to make the “human connection” and establish yourself as an authority. Make sure you have a social networking campaign working for you. Woe is us, if we merchants don’t go where the people are!
Invest in Yourself: How much are you investing in “yourself”, or your own company? Would it surprise if I said that many entrepreneurs and web-hungry merchants out there are still not “investing” in their own idea? They have a great idea and they spend a huge amount of money on building a beautiful website. However, they don’t budget in money for SEO and article marketing. Or if they do, they leave just enough money for one month of good quality work…and then drop off the face of the net. You have to invest in your company, and half of the battle is in providing new content for your audience to digest and respond to, and then hopefully make a purchase because of that great content. The best SEO campaign, the ones that really “work”, as opposed to the ones that don’t even make a dent, are the ones that:
- Regularly feed the search engines
- Follow all of the rules and guidelines of directories and search engines
- Focus on providing informative and helpful information
- Establish quality backlinks with websites, directories, social networks, etc.
- Establish brand name
Words You Want will definitely be practicing what we preach this year. We’re investing in SEO and article marketing and we’re looking forward to interacting with our FaceBook and Twitter followers. We’re aiming for that Golden Triangle. We’re expecting a great 2011!
And we hope you join us in making this an exciting year!