It used to be you could put out a good website, make sure it was well optimized, do a bit of ongoing search marketing, and voilà! You are on page one of Google. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. But today, not so much. For starters, the competition for top terms has gotten much more intense, and your competitors are no doubt much more SEO savvy than they were 5+ years ago. Plus, Google continues to roll out algorithm updates that make it much harder to hold onto good rankings and grow your organic traffic.
Google will tell you that if you build up the resources on your site in a natural way that provides real value to users, your site will earn better rankings. That’s great in theory but we’re willing to bet that every one of our clients has at least once competitor with an ugly, outdated site that’s hard to use, who is still ranking quite well. It’s an unfortunate case of us seeing more and more examples of what Google says vs. what Google does to be two different things.
In spite of these challenges and inconsistencies, there is a common theme to successful online marketing in 2014: taking a 360 degree approach. It’s something Google both preaches and (in general) rewards with better organic rankings. Here’s some more detail.
Google wants you to have helpful and unique content on your site. They also want to see you contributing ongoing to your site so you are keeping it current and making it a better resource for visitors. In addition, they want to see that you are engaging in your field of business across the web, meaning that you’re blogging, posting to relevant industry sites, contributing to social media, actively responding to reviews (both good and bad) and engaging with customers on a variety of channels.
Phew, that sure sounds like a lot of work! And it is. But your competitors are working hard on tactics like these each month and if you don’t “tick all the boxes” so to speak, you run the risk of falling behind.
The Big Picture
From a 30,000 foot view, Google is saying that your online presence is not a “set it and forget it” proposition. Your website needs constant updates and attention, and the same goes for your communication and outreach across the web. An active online presence shows them that you’re engaged, responsive and in tune with your industry.
So step one for any plan to boost your site visitation is to get active on more channels and provide updates more frequently. Once your business gets in the habit of taking a more full-circle approach to your online marketing effort, the next step is to sharpen your message. What makes you stand out? Prove you are an expert in your industry by giving tools to customers to help them make better decisions. Provide data on why your product or service is the best available. Keep up to date on the latest happenings in your industry and offer a unique perspective on your blog. Don’t just share the same old content on social channels but offer education (and a bit of entertainment) that forwards your brand.
If anything, online marketing just keeps getting more challenging and more complex. A little sprinkle of SEO powder just isn’t that tasty to Google anymore. So now it’s time to give them a 7 course meal of reasons why your website deserves high rankings and frequent visits.