Why Search Marketing Matters for Your Small Business
Google is everywhere. The search engine’s influence on potential customers’ decision making is well documented, but can be confusing or daunting for many business owners. The numbers show that when businesses invest their money and/or time in SEO and search marketing, the benefits and relative affordability of the process bring an extremely high return. This article will shed some light on the reason it is worthwhile to invest in a search marketing strategy aimed at Google and the other search engines.
WE CAN’T ALL BE SEO EXPERTSs – THERE’S NOT ENOUGH TIME IN THE DAY
We’ve reached the point where even the least tech-savvy business owners have heard of SEO, and many have a good sense of what it entails. Being business owners, there isn’t enough time in the day for them to be SEO experts as well. Part of that is the nature of running a business. It’s time consuming so learning about search engines isn’t a high priority. Due to the time it takes to operate their business, owners have a need for someone to step in a do some Internet and search marketing work. Otherwise search results (or lack thereof) will lead potential customers to their competitors.
Another reason to invest in search marketing: Google’s search algorithm is now a constantly changing, fluid program. It requires knowledgeable and talented search marketing people that comprehend the process. The search results algorithms, known by names such as Panda and Hummingbird, used to change every few month to every quarter. It allowed savvy owners and marketing people to figure out the changes and the complexities every so often. Now, the constant fluidity of the search algorithm means there are real time changes in search results all the time. They can change from minute to minute, depending on what kind of work is being done behind the scenes and through customer interaction.
BEHIND THE SCENES – THE SEARCH MARKETING WORK
The work search marketers do for businesses varies depending on the goals, needs and the type of business. A startup requires linkbuilding and website optimization work, while an established company may benefit from PR, blogging and content management. All of these are part of search marketing and SEO, but it is important to craft a strategy that is customized for each client.
Businesses would benefit most from the whole array of skilled services a good Internet and search marketer provides. In reality, a company like Optimize Digital will work with clients to create a strategy based on business goals, budgets and needs. Successful SEO and search marketing work includes the following:
- Website Optimization – Back end changes to Meta data and other HTML tags tell the search engines who you are, where you are and what you offer.
- Social Media Optimization (SMO) – Consistency of posting and branding is something the search engines deem influential in the relevancy of a business to potential customers searching online. Very few business owners without a marketing person on staff have the time to take care of this important factor.
- Content Management – As the online world has changed, so has the way businesses brand and market online. Websites without blogs and photos, posted consistently, are now penalized by Google. So is lack of social media content and interaction. There are values for these SEO factors in the algorithms – they either help you or hurt you in search results. A good search marketer will also cross-promote the blogs and articles by submitting them to PR and article submission sites that Google finds relevant. Which brings us to the next item.
- PR – Publicity is the goal of PR. When it works, the (positive) publicity helps the brand substantially. But even if local media doesn’t pick up press releases, Optimize Digital distributes the releases around the web. When they are picked up it creates link traffic and gives a company’s website a bump in relevancy values for search engines. The result is better search results. Optimize is a little different – we think PR is a great way to help out with search results, especially because it helps satisfy Google’s requirement for original content.
- Link building – Though this process of submitting links and business listings has become less important, it is still something that needs to be done for a comprehensive search marketing campaign. In order to get found online, businesses have to expand their online presence. Beyond Facebook and Google, companies who want to get found have a presence on Yelp, Angie’s List, Merchant Circle, Thumbtack, Manta and the rest of the sites that influence the search rankings.
There are some other services not covered here, such as PPC campaigns or paid automated software subscriptions.
What is Google Looking For?
Google search makes its money by selling end user information and brand exposure to advertisers. So for them, the relevance of a website to the searcher (potential customer) is paramount. To that end, the search engines release data from time to time that tells Internet marketing specialists like Optimize Digital what to focus on. For example, original content has become more important than links and link building over time.
There are both technical aspects of search marketing like website optimization and creative aspects like content and social media. A good Internet marketing specialist can get a business to show up on the first page of search results. But not all have the actual business management experience to help your business increase revenues. It takes someone with expertise and a successful track record of helping small businesses to increase traffic, increase revenues and get the best return on investment.