Search engine results can sometimes sting for small business owners. You have a more reputable and established business, a better and more prominent reputation and more customers. Yet, somehow, the new guy on the scene is ranking higher than you in search engines.
That’s a tough pill to swallow, because according to Brafton, 71% of all online purchases begin with entering keywords into a search engine. According to Slingshot SEO, the #1 position receives 18% of clicks, while the #2 spot receives 10% and third place receives 7%. Meaning, the difference between first and third in Google should be more than enough to get you nice and motivated.
So why aren’t you ranking as high as you should be?
Well, although the SEO landscape has been drastically altered over the years, it’s still a combination of art and science. You’re going to need both a willingness to learn, and a team of seasoned experts, to help you along your journey.
If your Google search engine ranking is low, then there is likely a good reason. Fear not, however, because the search engine gods have been waging an algorithm war for years against “black hat” SEO. So if you’re ready to get serious about online marketing, then get ready for serious results.
What does “black hat” mean? It’s a negative term used to describe manipulating the system in order to achieve a high ranking - when you don’t actually do anything to deserve it. “Black hat” SEO used to be achieved by stuffing thousands of keywords and phrases into a website’s code.
However, thankfully, that no longer works. That’s why it’s a good time to be optimistic about SEO – because if you’re ready to do it right, then you shall be rewarded.
SEM (search engine marketing) requires a two-fold approach: technical and creative.
You need to consistently produce fresh, valuable and original content on your website and linked social media channels. That means blog posts, press releases, videos, articles, photos and more.
However, the difference between today and a few years ago is that Google now knows if your content is actually valuable or not. Automatically churning out junk content, or simply re-blogging others’ work, in 2013 will actually hamper your efforts rather than help you. Google has been known to push down sites that engage in this type of behaviour.
So here’s what you need to do: first, step up your original content game. Produce a piece of content at least every week - if not every day. If you need help to make this happen, then pick up the phone (or do a Google search), and contact a marketing agency. If that’s the case, then you’re not alone – according to Mashable, 62% of businesses outsource their content creation and marketing.
Second, go back to the drawing board. You’re going to have to re-examine the technical side of your web presence. Along with producing creative content, this is where marketing agencies can help. Although black hat “keyword stuffing” is thankfully over, your website does still need to be properly structured and coded for SEO on the technical side. You’re going to have to get your hands dirty on this one.
That means going back into your data and code, and making sure that it is all correct and modified for SEO. You will also need to do a sweep of essentially your entire web presence, making sure that you are properly registered, listed and active on all of the outlets and websites that Google deems important for a high search ranking. Your efforts will be useless if your website is not properly indexed in the first place. Take the time to clean up the technical side before launching your content marketing campaign.
Use content marketing to improve your SEO and rank higher than your competition.
If other businesses rank higher for your keywords, yet they’re not doing anything to earn it, then it’s likely that they will soon be found out. So will SEO let you rank higher than the competition? Yes – if you work for it. That means not only putting a strong effort into original content marketing, but also making sure that your website is SEO-friendly on the technical side.
Remember, search engines favour those who produce their own content, and do it well. Offer content that will be valuable to your customer base, and that will establish your business as an authority. If you ensure that both the technical and creative sides of your SEO coin are nice and shiny, then higher search engine results will follow.
If you would like to find out more about how you can measure your marketing success, download our free ebook: Closed-Loop Marketing. This free resource will explain how you can measure the metrics that matter and link your sales back to the marketing efforts that created them. Simply click the link below to download your free copy: