Companies spend thousands of dollars trying to climb their way up the Google ladder only to find their budgets dwindling and their frustrations escalating. Ten years ago, SEO was more of a push button service with specific formulas and techniques that would ensure businesses of some increased ranking and profits. Today, with the big brands taking over the web, small business owners are spending more time wasting money on “imagined” profits.
The day of spam is over – Google got smart and eliminated most of the spam. You can be assured that Google will continue to do away with “shady” techniques that were used to cheat the system and gain rankings quickly. The game has changed and Google is the judge. If you don’t abide by their rules, whether you are Bob’s Sneaker Shop or Nike, you are going down for sure.
Ego over profit – You must ask yourself why you want to rank for a particular keyword. Of course everyone is seeking higher profits but some businesses, in the name of ego, want to see their site ranked high for keywords. They throw thousands of dollars into a campaign to get their need for power met and it lands them in a financial hole deeper than when they started.
If you can’t beat em’, don’t join em’ – If you are a small business and you sell sneakers and you want to rank for the keyword “sneakers”, quit now. Well-known brands possess millions of dollars to spend on advertising campaigns and unless you have that kind of money, you are not beating them out of their top rankings. You can, however, craft a strategy to dominate the long-tail keywords in the same niche. They might not get you noticed by the top brands, but it may get you some more money in the bank.
For example, instead of “sneakers”, you can target the keyword, “brown running sneakers”. In fact, targeting long tail keywords is an excellent strategy because it attracts consumers who are further along in the buying process. If you are looking for a specific type of sneaker, you would most likely type in a long tail keyword into a search engine query like “brown running sneakers”, which denotes that you are planning to buy instead of just browse.
Focus on the ENTIRE campaign – You are selling your brand, not just a top position in Google. If you focus all of your efforts on SEO, you will neglect your customers completely. Many companies do not spend time on the strategies that will help them build a long term business because they don’t see immediate rewards. If you keep chasing after the instant profit, you will be chasing profits forever. However, if you build a solid foundation, there will come a time when you can sit back a little and watch the profits come rolling in.
How do you build this solid foundation? With a well-rounded campaign that includes PR, social media, great content and a brand message that puts the customer first at all times.
SEO is still alive and well and a great marketing strategy. The problem lies in the mindset behind those who are implementing it. If you understand that SEO is one piece of the puzzle and you engage with and provide value to your customers, you will succeed in the long run regardless of whether your website is on page 1 of Google’s index.