It’s no secret that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a household term tossed around in all facets of business development and marketing. More and more small business owners are being convinced (for the right reasons, of course) that they need to adopt this practice to drive more eyeballs to their website, or fall victim to the search engine abyss. Without needing to know all the technical jargon associated with SEO in the true sense of the acronym, business owners often default to hiring a 3rd party web developer to assist them with getting their website high up on the page rankings. This article is not to discount the effectiveness of SEO – in fact, SEO should be made mandatory for any business with a website. What is critical is hiring a reputable company who can do the job well – there are many many many people who claim they can. SEO notwithstanding, is that the ONLY way to bring eyeballs to your site? Read on.
This may be redundant, but the tried, tested, and true practices of engagement, participation, and visibility will continue to be significant pillars for building your brand awareness. Technical SEO Tactics help to attract people that are typically beyond your social and business sphere, often to the 5th or 6th degree of separation. This is great for when you have other competitors, and if your business can foster a revenue stream without much convincing from the principals (e.g. you). However, if the core success of your business comes from a direct result of personal touches, referrals, and relationship building (think restaurants, hairdressers, real estate agents), you may want to consider some Non-Technical SEO Tactics. Just remember, as much as implementing technical SEO tactics to your site will help your page rankings, you can also help your cause by…wait! Hold your breath…being a human being again and communicating with people!
Of course, all the tactics outlined below are useless if you do not employ some measure of stats. Be sure to regularly track your web stats and traffic after each of these initiatives to see what is most effective for you. Depending on your business, not all of them will yield the same level of ROI, so you don’t want to be wasting your time and resources on tactics that do not work.
In no particular order:
- Networking events: probably the most fundamental, whereby your business card and elevator pitch will help drive at least one, maybe more people to your website. The scope may be small, but the exposure potential can hinge on how influential the people you network with, are.
Quick & Dirty Trick: networking with people who are bloggers or social media enthusiasts.
- Speaking engagements: while it’s not for everybody, the ability to engage new visitors is often quite rewarding. You’ll definitely reach a much larger audience – your website traffic usually spikes in the 24 hours following your presentation – that’s if you remember to give a shout out to your site (orally or visually).
- Blog comments: posting inciteful and informational comments on other sites and blogs (and conveniently providing your website URL) will often stimulate a click through to your site. Obviously, the sites you are commenting on should be related to your industry. It is important to remain consistent, but not spammy. Do it often, but don’t overdo. Stay relevant.
- Email blasts: the information you write about must be unique, or there will be little to no click throughs. You may want to include contests or other carrots to dangle, but again, keep to your specialties/industry. The deathtrap is to write about stuff that everyone else in your industry is writing about. If you’re a mortgage broker, write about the red tape for investing in the US, not listing the best variable rates you can get for people.
- Write new, unique content on your website: definitely a no-brainer. Search engines love fresh material. Even if you come across an interesting topic on someone else’s site and wish to reference it, it would be in your interest to put your own spin on the information. Perhaps a rebuttal.
- Publish articles or press releases and distribute: again, you need to include a backlink to your site. You can build quite a bit of credibility if your articles get picked up by the media, not to mention circulation.
Quick & Dirty Trick: Check out this list of 20 places to distribute your press releases for free.
- Brand your website everywhere: from car wraps to SWAG to invoices to print publications to your actual products, your website address should be made visible as much as possible.
- Cross-promote with other websites/clients/vendors: very old school, but can still be very effective. The only thing to watch out for is where and how your address is posted on the party’s site. If you ever update your logo, make sure your partners have the latest version. Strategically align yourself with the right people/industry with a strong reach. It’s best that your banner appears on their homepage or their next busiest page.
- Find ways to reward/recognize/profile your clients/vendors/industry experts: this could be in the form of interviews, awards, announcements, testimonials, etc. The point here is to get the other party to start word-of-mouth promoting; letting their network know they are being acknowledged by your company. If somebody receives an award from your company, there is a good chance they will inform people within their social networks that they won something.
Bonus: It`s good PR for the company/individual being interviewed as well. A win-win situation.
- Utilize social media and social bookmarking: requires no cost and just a bit of time. If you have a new service promotion, blog post, sale, updates of any kind – inform your social networks and put your link up. There’s a huge array of bookmarking sites that can help your company get indexed into their networks. Yes, you can spend an afternoon to blitz every site to submite your URL, but because it’s not targetted marketing, there’s little ROI in doing so. So better not to waste your time.
Quick & dirty trick: use a URL shrinker or changer like TinyURL or Bit.ly so that it piques the interest of curious people who want to know what the site is about.
At the end of all this, the ultimate goal (once visitors arrive) is to make them stay. So make sure your communication is compelling and engaging. An ineffective site will not make them stay long.