We often hear people griping and lamenting about how Google, Yahoo, or MSN reduced their site’s rankings, causing a huge loss of profits and business. These people surrender to the fact that their favorite search engine failed them and their business and are resigned to finding another search engine to advertise on, not realizing the real fact that they may just be committing another mistake waiting to happen.
Aside from pitfalls of the site itself, the most common mistake in this type of scenario is simply relying too much on a search engine to rake in the customers. This blatant fact of ignoring other avenues of online marketing is a common practice that leaves many companies and webmasters looking for other full-time employment at more established companies.
This type of “SEO is everything” perception is most prevalent in businesses that are new to Internet marketing. It should be avoided at the onset and throughout strategies and business plans to attract customers and leads, and Internet marketing and e-commerce should really be separated from other, more established ways of acquiring leads or sales.
Two simple reasons could be pointed out why over-reliance on SEO and search engines will kill your business:
First, search engines aren’t doing business for you. They’re doing business for themselves and for their owners. They would not care if your business took a sudden plummet because of your web site’s loss of rankings. It happens by the thousands each day and search engines really could care less.
Secondly, if a search engine vanished or completely changed direction you’d be left with nothing. At this point you would’ve lost valuable time and money in focusing all your advertising efforts in that one single search engine.
The bottom line is to diversify your business strategy. You should always have a fallback or contingency plan. If you keep and follow other business tactics aside from SEO, a negative hit on your SEO arsenal will hurt you, but not completely cripple your business. There are other techniques such as e-mail marketing, banner ads, affiliate programs and direct marketing that can play an integral role in your marketing success. These techniques can prove to be as useful or, depending on your exact industry, even more useful than search engine advertising alone.
Some techniques to help you diversify your marketing plans are:
1) Try an offline contact building or ad mailing campaign. Prominently display your website’s URL on printed materials. This would lead people to check out your site, and if they like what they see or find what they need, they may buy from you. Isn’t that what you’re after in the first place?
2) Don’t focus all your strategies on one single technique, such as SEO. As the old adage goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The basket may fall and you’ll break all your eggs. Diversity, diversity, and diversify some more.
3) Never under estimate the power of well-written press releases. There are many excellent online news submission sites that are being monitored by the major search engines. If you have a good press release with a healthy density of those all-important keywords, your press release (and hence your website) will appear on all search engines’ news features.
4) Depending on your specific field of business, there may be online directories or vertical niche sites that cater to your industry. Seek them out and submit articles or press releases to them. Customers looking for information in your industry will find your site if the location is well targeted.
5) Keep your site updated. You may have regular news or features that search engines will quickly pick up. If you syndicate parts of your site, you’ll reach a wider audience. A blogging or comment-type area of your site is good because it allows customers and visitors to write about your services or products, thus increasing content for your site and improving your search results. There’s nothing better than free content, right?
6) Always keep an eye out on the competition. Learn from their tactics. See how their tactics are hurting you or giving you opportunities to offer something more. Then go back and revise your strategies based on what you find out from your opponents.
7) When all has been said and done, it would all boil down to having a website that has keyword-rich content and relevant incoming and outgoing links. Long-term ranking rely on this factor more and more with each passing day. Even if it means hiring a good writer to build your content, do it. The payoff is priceless.
E-commerce, Internet marketing, web business, whatever you may want to call it, might not necessarily be and easy or quick method. In fact, just like conventional avenues of business, it requires as much planning, thinking, and foresight to get the results you are after. The general rules we’ve discussed would go a long way to helping your online business prosper and profit.