“Never be afraid to think for yourself.”
Not the musings of Aesop, Einstein, Twain or other historical figure.
It’s actually something Matt Cutts said last week in his latest video where he sought to debunk some SEO myths.
Cutts points out: “If somebody had a fool-proof way to make money online they’d probably use that way to make money rather than packaging it up and selling it to people.”
What does that have to do with me?
This video from Cutts is a great example of the search marketing industry and supports a lot of what I’ve been posting over the last few months.
The video in question relates to ‘SEO myths’ with Cutts debunking a lot of ideas that have been circulating for years.
Cutts decries the industry’s way of moving on to new marketing tactics in the hope of getting high rankings in Google’s search results.
He points out that when an algorithm change impacts something like link building, he’s seen people move onto guest blogging. When they fail at that, they move onto trying something else.
Cutts laments the ‘group mentality’, instead urging site owners to try his advice on my opening paragraph and think for themselves.
Why? Because ‘Google is a business’ as he so deftly points out; that the company’s aim is to “return really good search results for users, so that they’re happy, and they keep coming back.
“If we give them a good experience on one search they’ll think about using us the next time they have an information need.”
What are your thoughts on SEO and the search marketing industry? Is it more creative than ever or are you losing faith in Google? Let me know in the comments section below.
Getting the SEO basics right
With that point Cutts, Google’s head of webspam, turns into a Gordon Gekko type.
And with good reason. How many of you small business owners out there are faced with tough decisions every day and have to make hard calls to survive and grow?
Google isn’t a small business by any means but that business philosophy has seen it evolve into a behemoth generating billions of dollars a year.
So of course it’s going to adjust its algorithm if sites dripping in keyword-heavy text are outranking sites offering genuine quality. Even more-so if they’re holding top position because somebody has invested in a high number of links for said site.
But despite that there are still a lot of SEO basics you need to get right to ensure a very basic level of visibility when Google and other search engines visit your site.
Are your pages correctly marked up, for instance? Does each one have unique titles and meta descriptions?
Does your site load quickly enough? Is it responsive for mobile devices? Are you set up on Google+ and in Google Maps, and other factors.
It’s OK for Cutts to tell people to think for themselves, but for people that aren’t tech-savvy and are only just considering marketing online then there’s a lot for them to get their heads around, making outsourcing an attractive proposition.
Know what your customer wants
I’ve shown a few recent examples of creative marketing strategies when it comes to internet marketing.
My most recent one focused on how brands are using offline methods and techniques to boost their traffic and online profile including IceLolly.com and What Car?.
I’ve also highlighted the benefits of effective email marketing campaigns and content marketing strategies.
Social media, when used properly like Interflora has done, keeps relationships between businesses and consumers on an even keel 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Each one of the methods I’ve been championing is a fantastic way to generate leads, interact with customers, bolster your online brand, and more.
But not every tactic is right for every business. The What Car? example again – buying something as expensive as a new or used car is a huge commitment. People want to test cars, find out as much as they can about them, how it fits into their daily lives, insurance costs, and other factors.
What Car? knows that people aren’t flocking to the internet in droves to hand over £10,000+ for a new car every day. So instead they make sure to push their brand as much as they can in the media to become known as the UK’s leading authority on the car market to build consumer trust.
How do you create marketing strategies for your own business and for client projects? What factors do you consider? Let me know below!
The most important SEO lesson to learn: Strategy
When I talk to people about search marketing I’m still astounded that they ask about keywords and how many should be put on the front page for high rankings.
It’s upsetting that SEO has been tarred with such an uncreative brush when the potential marketing possibilities are endless.
With the internet you and your brand have access to millions of connected, potential customers online and billions more across the globe.
The hard work doesn’t come from digging into the back-end of your website and mutilating code, or posting a hundred blogs a month in the vain hope one of them goes viral.
Rather the hardest part can be the very first step. Working out a strategy for the short-term transitioning into the long-term, and having the confidence to support it and stick to it.
There’s not much difference when creating a business plan when you start out, but it needs to look beyond what your hopes and dreams are for the company and focus on solid research, statistics, and consumer habits.
You need to analyse who your target market is. What your audience likes, where they spend their time, what your industry means to them, how you plan to entertain them, what tools you’ll use to share your offers, how to convert visitors to customers, and much much more.
And that is the real beauty of creative search engine optimisation.
If you’d like to learn more about how strategic internet marketing can help your business contact the Webpresence team today!