Is it wise to put SEO on the backburner for my marketing plan?
I know that the immediate reaction is NO WAY, but hear me out: I am a small, one-woman content marketing firm, competing against top spots in google against huge, well-established firms. It seems almost impossible for me to be able to make it even onto the top 2 pages of a search result for content marketing professionals in Boston. Of course I'll keep creating fresh content, but how much should I be relying on SEO for exposure?
I am in the same boat as you; I'm a one-woman show competing against bigger, more established agencies. I've considered this very question myself and I've decided not to put SEO on the back burner. Here are my thoughts:
1. Other companies considering outsourcing to practices like mine may "do their research" and see what I know about SEO (since digital marketing is part of my service offering). If I am not optimized, they'll think I don't have my digital marketing skills intact. Although you focus on content marketing, this is a huge element of digital marketing, so it's something to consider.
2. I don't have to do it all at once. I focus on a little at a time, since I do have other clients and obligations to focus on, as well! In little pieces, I will work on SEO for my Web site, and when I am satisfied, I can set aside some time monthly to update and maintain the SEO portion of my Web site.
I hope this helps; best of luck!
SEO is still key but you should rather invest in PPC pending when you can rank
Getting on page 1 of Google is far easier to accomplish than nationwide SERPS. because of the nature of HOW Google presents results hyperlocal SEO , done properly can result in a 1st page presence.
Since you are marketing content, you must have some SEO bonafides to be credible. If you were a plumber I would say work craigslist, social and real world networking, and some adwords.
For you, I would recommend doing videos for yourself, which are part of content marketing. Do a bunch of good vids, and then share them to social media to kick start your social campaign. Of course, have well written landing pages related to these topics on your site and a good bio page for people to go to, and contact info throughout.
You can also try submitting your profile of work on elance, freelancer, guru, odesk and advertising on craigslist and other places.
But to answer the question, learn some SEO best practices, so that as you do all this awesome content creation and social engagement, you organically build your SEO. Organically building SEO can take years, so you should not spend money on your SEO right away if there is a tight budget, but you needs to be some kind of strategy in place.
Hope this helps, and best of luck to you! I would place this forum here in your portfolio, generated some very good responses.
Developing strong SEO information is not as difficult as you may think. But, I feel that SEO should only one part of your overall marketing plan. It is important for sure, but being wise with you content and properly managing your keywords is going to help out as well. Developing strong keywords and using them in your content is very powerful, provided they are not over used. This is call "Stuffing" and it is considered a Black Hat tactic. Google often overlooks sites that are stuffed with keywords. I recommend no more than 20 - 30 keywords per page and only repeating the same word no more than 4 or 5 times. Adding page descriptions will also make your site stronger.
A lot of new media marketing can be done with little or no budget. These well established firms may have deep pockets and marketing departments within the company that make their job that much easier.
Developing fresh content and combining your SEO into it will definitely help. I also feel that posting on other forums, blogs, making white paper downloads available, and so on are good ways to bring potential customers to your site.
Re-indexing your site with Google on a regular basis can help raise your page position. Creating a site map for the bots to crawl will help you climb in page position. Lots of companies don't do that at all. They figure the site is out and it should speak for itself.
Lots of information, hope it helps someone.
SEO is always part of the game, yet that game is evolving as you know. You're developing content, back links, the usual SEO, but to get noticed you've got to get something visual, as well as leveraging the local capabilities because you are a local market promotion.
Surprised no one has brought up Google Plus - work on getting followers, Guy Kawasaki has a book called What the Plus that's pretty good at outlining it, but you can use this as a way to network as well.
You get followers on G Plus, and share your content there, looking for more plus 1's the more you get, the more relevant you get. I know you likely know this, but working G Plus and YouTube are the way to get on search, in addition to other ways of content marketing.
Let me be one of the few to say, content is not king - relationships and social links are. Content is a commodity, and to get noticed to your target market, I'd not only do search, I'd be interviewing my clients and competitors, getting them to share the links obviously, and link to me, but more importantly to create leverage, because most content marketers just churn out content.
Search is no longer just a game of content, it's a game of social relationships and value. Do a Hangout, don't care if no one shows up, it goes to YouTube, covering one of your articles. Make it short, sweet, 10 minutes to 20 minutes tops, and use this to continually market your content.
SEO today is just part of the game, it's not like being obsessed to be on top of search results is as relevant, after all, my search results are affected by my interests, retargeting, who I'm following on G Plus and YouTube - bottom line, my top 10 are not your top 10.
You just want to own Boston top 10, so do the usual, and one last thing.
Schema.org your business, articles, get those tags, Google Places and Your Google Plus Page are soon becoming one, and get those local tags, tags for your articles, for your Events like a google hangout.
Definitely not just a game of keywords anymore, hope some of this helps!
Hi Kimberly - Don't worry about SEO :) In a severely saturated industry, you could fight, claw and bite your way.... to page 3. It simply isn't worth it. What I tell my small business clients is focus on creating a huge web. Imagine that you are a spider and you want to catch all the flies you can. If you build a single strand of web from one wall to the other, your chances of catching a fly are, well...none to slim. You will likely starve and fall into the bigger web below you, where your competitor will eat you. Instead, dedicate your time saturating the web with your name, company, products, and testimonials. Build a web that leaves a huge shadow over your competitors. Now, instead of you falling into the competitions web, you are setting up a blockade. Your goal is to be in front of your potential client at every turn. If they visit a small business marketing website and see an guest post written by you, they start to know you. Then, they do a good search for best content marketing firm in Boston, and a testimonial on google comes up - they see you again. You want to repeatedly put yourself in front of them. Try to think where they will be and get there first.
An example of this is a client I work with now. She created an ebook on a parenting topic. There are thousands of them out there. Her site would never rank over parenting.com or any of the major media article releases for that matter. Instead, I had her spend time coming up with a list of places her clients might be found. The top choice, public parenting forums and groups. She created an account, started providing other members on those sites with useful information (not selling), and simply put her website address in her signature as well as the name and price of the product. People found her answers useful and she was able to establish an identity in the parenting community. She posted about 3-5 responses/things a day between these 4 parenting forums/groups. By years end, she sold $45,000. Her book retailed at $20.00 per download.
Hope this helps. Feel free to IM me with any further direct questions.
I understand the frustration, the SEO marketplace is a huge challenge, especially when you are competing against what seems to be a content factory.
I have found success by focusing on keywords that target either a geographic niche or an industry niece, ie real estate. If you can invest in some marketing I would suggest sponsored updates on LinkedIn or evaluate Google Ad Words.
If you are looking for more organic growth work with your current clients and build a referral program.
Hi Kimberly, like you I'm a one-woman firm, but in the career coaching industry. I also had this frame of mind starting out, there are a lot of career coaches in London and worldwide, and it seemed highly unlikely that without paying considerable money I was going to be able to get anything from SEO. However, now that I've seen the majority of my traffic and clients come through Google Adwords I'm regretting not doing it sooner, especially as it takes time for Google to move you up the ranks! Claire Jarrett gives free webinars on SEO/Adwords and also has a book on SEO for less than £5 on Amazon, it's worth visiting her website (http://www.clairejarrett.com/). Good luck!
Look at SEO as ingredient in a soup. Alone by itself it has only so much flavor impact. When coupled with many different ingredients it all comes together. SEO is very much the same way. SEO by itself can be powerful depending on your business vertical but if it is the only thing you are doing it better be a very robust approach but when throw into the mix with content marketing, blogging, social media etc.. it has much more power.
I think that's a very valid question; one that I asked myself when we first started our business. First of all, SEO is a very complex, multi-faceted concept. One important variable is time: the longer your content is around, the longer your website is up, the better your SEO. With that in mind, building SEO into your website and your content as you create it is much more effective and efficient than trying to play catchup later.
Another thing to consider is the amount of money you're currently spending on other advertising. Say, for example, you spend $500/month on Google Adwords. With a good SEO company, that same $500/month could generate as much or more traffic and leads via 'organic' search results. Additionally, people tend to trust organic results more than ads, so the quality of your leads would be better, too.
Of course every market and product is different, but I would say that redirecting some of your marketing funds to chip away at the SEO monster would be funds well spent. You may not see the results immediately, but in 6 months time, it you would be in a much better place.
I hope that helps, good luck!
The sooner you start, the better.
Here are things to consider for optimizing your site:
1) Is it mobile friendly? Mobile responsive is the easiest way for small businesses to tackle mobile. Google has been vocal about how necessary it is, especially in mobile search.
2) Does it load quickly?
3) Is it coded cleanly?
4) Have you added your rel="publisher" tag to your homepage, and your rel="author" tag to your blog posts/pages created?
5) Have you taken care of your page titles and meta description (don't worry about meta keywords - search engines don't use them anymore... or so they say.)
Your fresh content is contributing to your onsite optimization (if it's relevant to your services.) Once you have the basics of onsite optimization taken care of, you should be fine. I wouldn't worry about link building or anything like that.
Everything that I listed is what I did for my personal blog. I'm targeting "Digital Marketing Atlanta GA" among a few other keywords. I didn't do any link building, or build any local citations. All I did was post (when I felt like it), and take care of the basic optimization of the site. Now I fluctuate on page one from #1 to #5 for "digital marketing atlanta ga".
If you take the time to check off these basic steps, and work them into your content strategy/calendar, then you could definitely rank for "content marketing boston". Remember; Investing in SEO is all about positioning yourself in the future. Nothing is immediate or overnight.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact. I'd be happy to help. http://kevinekmark.com/contact/
1- sign up for a free account at SmartGuy.com. Their own SEO will move your SmartGuy site way up on Google. Say HI to Jordan Wexler for me
2-If you have a specific target market, you might want to try mass emailing. I use it in mine, and it does work - with some caveats. tomm^ astound.net
3-If this is of interest, we might be able to collaborate: you write, I email for you.
So as not to be duplicative, here is one more resource for you that will help the "one-woman content marketing firm."
"SEO Made Simple" by Michaels Fleischner can be purchased on Amazon for $3 (Kindle version) and has a number of practical, easy to understand tips. I can tell you from personal experience that I am out ranking some larger players in my market for the areas I blog about.
I would encourage (and challenge) you to not acquiesce on where you rank. First page ranking is within reach, but it requires intentionality. It's really easier than you may think.
Don't just rely on SEO, create a Gumbo!
I would get creative with the marketing. Possibly focusing more on the on-page optimization/seo more than off-page.
Get active/remain active on forums such as this one, and others like Warrior Forum. List your business on the top directories in the world, and ensure your Name, Address, and Phone Number are the same across the board.
Also, create videos and submit them to Youtube linking back to your site. We all know Google owns Youtube. We have found out that more people rather watch a short video than read a lengthy article. It works for us.
Creating a listing on Craigs List is also another way to capture leads. Craigs List is a powerful site. Heck, link it to your website.
We have found it very successful to drive traffic not only to the website, but to our social media pages, and to our directories as well. If you have to sprinkle in a little Adwords campaign to help brand and boost the exposure, that could be beneficial as well.
Wow, thank you for all of the amazing answers! This thread has been incredibly helpful.
If your marketing plan is limited to your local area, you definitely don't need global exposure, you don't need SEO.
SEO by the way means search engine optimization. What does this mean? In simplest terms, it is a way to make your website visible to the various search engines available in the Internet.
How do you want your website to be seen? For its brand? Commitment? Products? Services? Articles? Innovation? Profit? Ideas?
How? Through exposure, "mentions", social media, and other relevant website LINKS. Linkbuilding is an important campaign in SEO. Written Content used to be King. But Videos with content is starting to gain ahead of it. Linking is not limited to URLS, but also network contacts, potential customers, goodwill and more.
If your marketing plan involves the Internet and the global market, you simply cannot ignore or dismiss SEO completely. Even without consciously knowing it, you are already doing SEO work by posting your plan, website on other social media platforms. In essence you are trying to funnel traffic into your website from various different sources. Without SEO on your global marketing campaign, you are just living on an island, alone, without any connections to anyone or anything.
There is a reason why google has "spiders" and "crawlbots". Those things are riding the wave, the surf that is the web, the Internet. Those web lines are links that connect to other various websites on parameters like keywords, meta tags, content, videos, and more.
If you are doing content marketing in the form of blogging or on site articles, then I'd have to say it is unwise to ignore SEO. I run Small Business Ideas Blog and only did 3 blog last year and only did SEO for one blog post. Traffic went up by 300% for that month, but the best thing is that the search engines continue to send me ongoing traffic as a result of that one campaign.
Over 70% of search traffic is for related terms (long tail traffic) that you aren't intentionally targeting. If you are using Facebook and Twitter, the traffic will die off after you stop promoting... search engines will bring you ongoing traffic, Just make sure you are doing your SEO correctly. If you don't much about SEO then start with guest posting on related high traffic blogs in your niche.
Here's my write up on the long term results from 2013:
It depends on your marketing plan!
If you have taken into consideration your target market, your competition, your goals and your budget and SEO is your only or best by a long shot option... then no, putting your best marketing option on the back burner is not wise. For most businesses there are more then one way to get the exposure you need so you may not need to rely on SEO for exposure. If bigger businesses with bigger budgets are keeping you from page one, then you should be looking at other options to get your business found and you are just wasting marketing budget on marketing that doesn't work for you.
I agree that content is king. However this does not mean putting all SEO on the back-burner. You can do the simple, quick SEO bits for little expenditure in time ... just make sure that the first few and last paragraphs of your articles contain you most important key words, a minor editing job. Hope this helps