You’re probably going to think this is a bit of a funny thing for a freelance SEO consultant to say, but you really shouldn’t rely on another business for your own company’s survival. If you do it’s a risk and if that other organisation drops a clanger you are going to be in trouble – and guess what, if you drop them, they’ll just move on to the next client.
It’s common for many businesses in the UK to rely on Google for their traffic, but could you imagine 20 years ago talking to your bank manager about your business plan and then you get to the routes to market bit and you tell him you are going to rely on one channel and one channel provider to deliver everything for you. Your bank manager would think you are crazy and tell you to go away and build in contingency.
This is the position we’ve got ourselves into and the position Google wants us to be in, OK social media has taken a slight chunk out of this of late – but not a lot, not yet; and Google has Google Plus as an offering there – something we know has an impact on SEO to boot!
But we are where we are, many businesses rely on Google to such a degree that it’s important they do everything they can to ensure they don’t lose the traffic volumes they’re getting.
I could write a post that looks at the ways to ensure your site isn’t going to get burnt by Google in the future however I can’t – that would be a lie. The reality is Google changes its mind more often than most people change their socks. Now SEOs throughout the world are trying to undo the work Google has been telling them is OK, simply because Google has changed its mind. So how do you overcome this? Simple – create things that Google can’t take away from you, as a marketer this has to be the most important thing to be looking at at the moment, how to create a load of assets that belong to the business to the benefit of the business.
So what can you build that Google can’t take away from you? The answer has to be brand and community. We’ve all got to start thinking about marketing as we did before the internet, think of building strong brands in which the users are evangelists who get themselves out there and do some of the marketing for your business on your behalf.
Email Marketing and Email Lists
I’ve seen email marketing done well and I’ve seen email marketing done badly, I’ve done it badly myself so I know all about how frustrating it can be to see those open rates drop off week after week, month after month and to see the email list shrink with every mail-out. The thing is if you’re experiencing this you’re doing it wrong.
I’ve fooled myself into believing that email marketing has become obsolete in the era of social media, however thankfully I’ve had my faith in email marketing restored – the key is that email marketing has to be done well. If it’s not you might as well not bother. It’s not just a case of sending something out to someone once a month, you’ve got to personalise the content to give them a reason to keep opening it – and personalisation mean more than just adding their name to an email. In order to do that you are going to need to get pretty proficient at segmenting and understanding your user base.
You’ve also got to be disruptive in your approach to certain elements of your email marketing campaign, which means you’ve got to be clear about the flow of how your users use your emails and then how they interact with your content off the back of it and if they still don’t react – hit them with another email, telling them to get going.
Amazon is a pretty good example. They know that I want to buy The Marketing Directors Handbook for myself, after I read the reviews and didn’t buy they left it a few days and sent me an email about that book. Great! I went and had another look at it. It’s still about £50 so I didn’t buy it, I didn’t have a look at what other people that had bought that book had also bought. What does Amazon do? They sent me an email a couple of days later suggesting a different marketing book. Eventually they found one that interested me and I bought it – all because they are building up an understanding of my personal requirements and are able to personalise emails to such a degree that I will eventually either unsubscribe or buy – but I’m less likely to unsubscribe because they prove to me each time they understand who I am and what I’m interested in.
I say this to everyone I meet and speak to about websites. A website is not a business, it’s just a website – a business is made up of so many more subtle and overt characteristics and real life relationships always play a role in any business, yes – even online relationships.
In search marketing we spend so much of our time focused on getting links for the site we often forget about the opportunities other types of relationships can bring us.
This is often still the case in the sales orientated environment – where a salespersons career can be made by the number and quality of contacts they have.
Investing in Content
It’s as true now as it was when Google first began, the main thing that Google can judge you on is your content, the more quality content you get out there that people want and enjoy and interact with the more likely it is to remain in the rankings for a long time. The most read news article on a website I work on, which gets millions of visitors is an article written in 2009, consistently it tops the news that’s been read simply because it’s the type of article people want to read year after year – that’s powerful content!
Build up your social following
This again is going to help your SEO, but if everything goes wrong with the SEO you’ve been working on and you lose rankings having a good social media following could make all the difference between making or breaking the business.
Ultimately the most important thing to remember is not to put all your eggs in one basket – if you do a bit of everything you are going to benefit your seo, but more importantly you are going to strengthen your position if Google decides to change something (which invariably they will) which directly impacts on the way you’ve been doing things.