Odds are your Yellow Pages book, if you still have one, is fulfilling some unintended use, like an improvised booster seat or paperweight. In its stead, you’ve probably experienced an increase in calls from firms promising to deliver what every business owner craves – top placement in the big three search engines’ search results.
Some firms can deliver those results. And others can do it for more than just a few weeks – and not get your business’ site slapped into the sandbox. It all depends on
how they work toward the goal of helping you dominate the front page.
Here’s a quick and dirty rundown of what tactics are worth the investment, and what should send you running the other way with your online marketing dollars:
Worth It: High-Quality Content
Both on your site and all throughout the Internet’s most reputable neighborhoods, you should aim to publish high-quality text. Your text should use (but never abuse) your best keywords (you did get keyword research done, right?) in an intelligent way. The writing should aim to please both of your audiences – humans and the search engine bots.
Your opportunity to use content is endless:
- On-site, with the goal of constantly growing your site’s content
- Press releases
- and more…
Worth It: Masterful Social Media Connections
Note the first word there – don’t make newbie mistakes and end up spending a lot of time and effort alienating your prospects by missing the whole point of your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts.
Build your social media presence the smart way, and it’ll pay off – in time. It won’t be overnight, but it will be worth the effort if you do it right. Doing it right can include:
- Advertising (highly targeted)
- Giving your friends and followers a reason to ‘like’ you by giving away free but valuable stuff
- Walking the fine line so you write like a brilliant copywriter (engaging, irresistible, curiosity-inducing) rather than a hack (But wait – there’s more! If you act now!). Also, aim to strike a balance between promotional, informative, and even personality-driven updates.
Run the Other Way: Anything that ‘Tricks’ Google
SEO monkeys think they’re pretty clever. Nothing excites them more than uncovering a new trick they can use to generate thousands of backlinks instantly with no work. It’s the online version of wishing for overnight success. While it might work in the short-term, it’s virtually guaranteed to backfire in the end.
Some tactics SEO monkeys love:
- Identifying ‘successful’ spam trails on high page rank blogs. Some blogs are not moderated properly, and the monkeys compile lists of them where they can post spammy comments to get backlinks.
- Multiple accounts with reputable sites so they can post content and then artificially bump it up in popularity.
- Poorly spun content – they start with a decent article and then run it through a robot spinner (which could work if they’d actually check and edit to make sure the resulting content actually reads well).
SEO monkeys go for the shock and awe method, grabbing backlinks as if they were all created equally. There’s no tactic too black hat to use, as long as it’s going to cost-efficiently bump up the tally of the backlinks they create for you. The problem is, while the backlink count starts to look impressive, in the long term, the search engines will not be fooled. They smell irrelevant links and junk content miles away – odors that are repulsive to them. Stick to the high road, understanding that your website presence won’t be built in a day – but if you do it right, it’ll serve you as long as you like.