In the past, you could simply pay for link popularity with directories. Now, times have changed and many of the main search engines are nixing this type of behavior as a legitimate source of qualified referrals. In essence having search engine optimization solutions is more important than just appearing as a legend in your own mind. The internet is a big place, and with a limited amount of time available to each of us on a daily basis, people want what they want, when they want it. Make sure that your website has what it takes to (a) convert them into clients when they get there and (b) the ability to find you in the first place, which means search engine optimization.
When you think about any industry, there are leaders and followers, websites do not just magically appear in the upper echelon of highly trafficked keywords by accident. Rankings are built up over time through campaigning to search engines by providing things like useful information, tools or downloads such as e-books or reports, or content that can stand on it’s own merit by way of the off line brand positioning or promotion.
Whatever the case, rest assured that the competition never sleeps, so investing in search engine optimization is not just a pie in the sky phantasm that businesses are referring to as a good luck charm, it’s a necessity / operating expense for those seeking to etch an impression in search engines, which have the eyes and ears and pocketbooks of the people.
The Problem, Appealing to Search Engines
In order to appeal to search engines you have to follow the rules and guidelines they establish, unless you want to find yourself a memory to their index. Certain things like not linking domains together in excess to inflate rankings, excessively using reciprocal links (I link to you, you link to me tactics), buying paid links (which is really under scrutiny) or using unethical means such as cloaking, redirects (gaming links) or other behaviors known for getting on their bad side. But behind every search there is a human (for the most part) seeking something with an emotional conclusion in mind. As long as your business model is in the habit of producing solutions to problems or conclusions to searchers in need, then you can capitalize on the results.
The Methods of Appeal
You may have heard of PPC (pay-per-click-marketing), but even now amidst the masses, people are hip to the whole pay for performance hype associated with advertising, even if the search engine companies are the ones selling it. It doesn’t really matter if it’s a directory with a paid link or Google, Yahoo or MSN selling PPC and the sponsored ads that they are showing, people just aren’t as open as they were to this method.
Search Engine Reputation Management, Traffic and Popularity
Organic rankings in search engines are a by product of a combination of variables such as:
How many other websites or companies are linking to you
How many visitors or website traffic your site receives
what others say about your company, products or services
and How well your websites’ content is received and acted upon
Granted many of these proposed variables, you may have no control over, but on the other hand, many of them you do. Why leave your websites’ reputation in the hands of others, when you can selectively set waves in motion (through PR) that can bring a steady flow of increased traffic or interest your way.
Organic Search Engine Optimization – Simply put, organic search engine optimization involves analyzing your website, the server environment, the IP address and the content on the pages to ensure that they are all compliant to the search engine guidelines. Once that is done, then you can start the tumultuous process of link building and promotion of articles, blogs, press releases and third party referrals that are known to augment relevance for your site. This is what you are paying for when hiring an SEO company, not a one and done fee, but rather the amount of time they spend on making sure that each of these elements are catered to in a fashion that nurtures your website as a whole. Eventually as a result, your site will naturally appear in the natural listings for keywords and phrases which you could have easily spend thousands of dollars a month on using PPC (pay per click marketing).
Donating Products Services or Resources
Doing something nice for the community – is a great way to get some free press off line (a mention in a local newspaper or magazine) or as part of a newsletter from the organization you assisted. For example, helping out a charity by donating something more than money is an example. If your an SEO company, offer free SEO services for certain types of charities. If you run a basket factory, donate 100 baskets to somewhere in need, if you own a coat factory or retail store, donate something to those in need and the word will get out like wildfire. The point is, just because your online, doesn’t mean that you have to rely entirely on the online community to get sales and conversion from. You may in fact get a slew of leads from something that your business does off line, so have a bit of creativity and put on your thinking cap to come up with something that works best for your niche.
The bottom line is, think outside the box, but more importantly provide something of value. It’s not always the cruel calculating side of business tactics that wins at the end of the day, it’s about those things that give back to the whole. Ask yourself, is your website really there in the sense of providing value to the visitor or is it just another paid advertisement?
With consumers being inundated daily by thousands of advertisements vying for their attention on every front, many of the methods of the past, are falling on deaf ears and roving eyes with intelligence. Make sure your message has a focus and that you are addressing the person behind that monitor reading your words, otherwise you will only be helping your competition get one step further ahead, from your lack of emotion as they return to the search engine to find a more fitting online suitor for their time and attention.