Search Engine Optimization is not getting any easier, in fact every month or so Google seems to release a further update that makes life a lot more difficult for website owners.
However, this does force website owners to look beyond Google for traffic which helps to actually build a stronger business. Years ago you could build sites specifically for Google and consistently do well, but such a business now looks incredibly unstable and potentially very short lived.
So in this new world where Google traffic is nowhere as predictable as it used to be, what are your options?
Options for Diversifying Your Traffic
You need to stop relying on Google if that’s what you’re doing now. Whether this is getting traffic for free through the search engine results, or even paying Google for advertising.
Google AdWords is a great way to get traffic, but can be expensive, plus Google has a nasty habit of shutting down accounts without appeal. So if you do continue to use AdWords, do look elsewhere for customers too.
And if you’re looking to get traffic for free through the organic results, or are currently getting traffic that way, keep doing what you’re doing, but don’t depend on it – make it part of a diverse traffic generation strategy.
So continuing to build up content on your site, and getting quality links, may bring you a lot of traffic now and in the future, but that can’t be guaranteed. But that said, Google is not the only search engine and if you fall out of favor with them for whatever reason there’s still Bing and Yahoo, and to a much lesser extent Ask and other minor search engines.
So, diversify your traffic by:
- Diversifying your advertising sources
- Building e-mail lists
- Building your website’s brand in the market
- Getting publicity for your business both online and off-line
- Building an affiliate program for your products and services (if relevant)
- Doing inbound marketing by presenting incredible free content on your site
- Or even simply including off-line tactics such as print advertising, local area promotions, business partnerships, and more.
Everything you do, make sure to track to ensure it’s effective, but the broader your marketing strategy the more it helps grow a stable business long-term, rather than you being one of the businesses that collapses as soon as it falls out of favor with Google’s algorithm.
Focusing on Quality
Google wants you to build your site and build your links as if Google didn’t exist, which means focusing purely on getting visitors and repeat traffic through amazing content and links built for traffic.
So aim to keep that in mind when building content for your site, and when building links. Link building does still work but quality is vital these days, over quantity, especially if you have any long-term aspirations for your business.
And of course the stronger your site is content wise and the more remarkable it is in the market, the more likely it is to naturally attract links and traffic. So not only does such a strategy help grow your search traffic automatically but also grows your referral traffic as well as brand strength in the market you’re operating in.
Building a Real Business
A website that gets traffic for free through Google with the aim of profiting when that traffic clicks on an AdSense link is not a strong business. If fact it’s a very fragile business. And since the only way to profit is when someone clicks away from your site you’re actually weakening your site if you’re not doing anything to keep them on the site.
Whereas building an e-mail list of people interested to hear from you, and even better building a customer list (if relevant to what you’re promoting/offering) helps to create assets that not only are incredibly valuable and lucrative to your own business but also create tremendous value if you ever choose to sell your business, giving you a much better price.
SEO: Building Brands on Google
Now let’s talk about the synergy between quality content, SEO and building brands. From what started as a fairly routine monitoring exercise, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has moved well beyond just simply tracking and reporting on your keyword selection.
Over the years new factors to look at become more important and need to be added to reports, including looking at multi-channel funnels and conversion rates, which will give you a much better sense of how your campaign has been working to boost your traffic, sign ups and sales.
As well as developing reporting styles and focus over the years, the general principles of SEO have developed and changed. Much of this is to do with Google’s efforts of improving its search results, which has led them to look more favorably on brands.
Building up successful brands involves your reach, or the amount of people you can contact with your messages, and the frequency of the messages. By having a large reach which receive regular updates from your brand you have the makings of a very successful marketing strategy. But how do we get your audience to sit up and take note of your message so you can improve your conversion rate?
The answer to this is through content. Your content is your communication with your audience and you are not just limited to one type of content. You can create different types and use various channels to connect with users that otherwise would be unaware of you.
Content created to cover subjects around your specialized field widens your potential search net and also works incredibly well with social media, where good quality content is shared and can become viral, giving you the potential to pull in huge spikes of traffic. Whereas through creating press releases you can aim to get mentions and links from high ranking authority sites, whose backlinks are still a great resource to your SEO plan.
Another important point about creating great quality content is that if it is published frequently (maintaining high standards of course), it is only going to add credibility to your brand, encouraging more people to directly search for your brand name. For example, creating content such as video, blog posts and infographics is a great way of propagating your branding, through distributing them throughout social networks and social bookmarking sites to encourage sharing and voting. As they become more popular you can expect to receive more links to your site which can help boost your pages Page Rank, helping you achieve better search rankings.
Building your own recognizable brand has many advantages for SEO and by sticking to your aims to increase your reach and make sure you post high quality content on a frequent basis, making full use of social media channels, you will create a fan base that doesn’t just search for your type of products or services, they will look for you specifically.