Why SEO Is Just The Beginning: What Your Business REALLY Needs to Get Noticed Online
Updated on January 29th, 2015
This is a guest blog post. Owen Andrew is a journalist in Southern California. He enjoys using his experience in business management to inspire and inform others.
Welcome Owen Andrew
While ranking highly in the search engine results for relevant keywords certainly isn’t a bad thing, it is also not the end all, be all of online marketing. In fact, there are plenty of other options that have little to do with search marketing, at least on the surface. Many of the following tactics may result in ranking improvement, since overall popularity online and related social signals tend to indirectly boost a domain’s SEO.
Image Courtesy of Shutterstock
Sure, everyone’s heard the phrase “paid, owned, and earned” as it applies to social media. To kick it up a notch, here are several tactics that go beyond that basic phrase – although at the end of the day, all marketing falls into one of those three categories.
Social Media Advertising (Paid)
Running ads on popular social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, and other relevant sites is the simplest, and perhaps the most immediate, way to make a quick impact on your website’s traffic. The ability to carefully target your audience by interest, location, age, gender, and other demographics is helpful as well, since you’ll know exactly where your advertising dollars are going, and you can adjust on the fly in real time.
Post Shareable Content (Earned)
People love to share interesting, funny, informative, or otherwise entertaining content with their personal networks, so make it easy for them. When crafting your content strategy, remember that it needs to be about more than just keyword-dense copy.
In addition, don’t be afraid to post or link to content generated by your users, as well as newsworthy articles that you think your audience will find interesting. Sharing user generated content helps your fans feel a sense of brand ownership and loyalty towards your company (making them that much more likely to reTweet, repost, or otherwise extend the love by linking your posts to their own networks).
Likewise, posting relevant articles is helpful to your followers and may get you on the radar of the publications you link to – trust us, reporters and their editors pay close attention to the social shares and reach of their content.
Help A Reporter Out (Earned)
Yes, it is the name of a popular service (HARO), but it is invaluable for business owners, entrepreneurs, and anyone else who wants press coverage. HARO is a great and relatively organic way for those seeking publicity to connect with reporters writing about topics that require their expertise, which makes it a valuable resource for business owners, marketing managers, and anyone responsible for public relations.
Multimedia Marketing (Owned)
Everything from interactive video to gamification to developing funny or creative gifs is an option nowadays. People are beginning to expect video content as part of a brand’s overall online presence nowadays, whether that video comes in the form of ads or more shareable or creative formats.
Don’t be afraid of participating in popular memes and web trends, either – keep an eye on social forums like Reddit, Twitter, and the Gawker network of sites, where the digital native types hang out, and see what you can adapt to suit your company’s marketing goals.
Go Offline (Owned & Earned)
It might seem counter-intuitive at first, but holding special events that are heavily on digital integration (such as a scavenger hunt with a social media or geocaching component, or some kind of competition that is aired on YouTube) or creating traditional marketing materials that may or may not have digital components, but definitely have the sort of value, luxury, or other cachet will encourage anyone who receives them to share them online.
One way to is cash in on popular local events or festivals. Consider sponsoring part of the event, having a booth, holding giveaways, or donating coupons or products. Or you can work with an aligned company; run a food-focused business? Work with a popular food truck. Make jewelry? Partner with a local beauty brand or boutique?
What You Can Accomplish Right Now
- Assess Your Unique Assets What makes your company different?
Everything from your employees’ hobbies and backgrounds – maybe they have unique hobbies or interesting back stories that lend them unique skill sets that set your company apart – to your location. For instance, if you have a unique office space, an unusual hometown, or similar set-up. A home-based business can be quite compelling, as well.
- Consider The Season Any relevant holidays coming up?
How can you take advantage of those with your online marketing efforts? Offering birthday discounts, digital “punch cards” or special deals for sharing your content with their social networks can also be good concepts which are executed fairly easily.
- Plan A Viral Stunt Everyone loves to share ridiculous and noteworthy content.
You don’t even need to spend a ton of money to do so – if you have a good idea, simply pull out your camera phone and get started. There are plenty of free or low-cost software options readily available online too, so a big production budget is unnecessary.
- Plan A Special Event – Online Or In The Real World (Or Both)
Is your company approaching a big milestone, such as an anniversary? Or maybe there is a charity that has a connection with your brand, or organization that you or another team member are connected to personally. Or perhaps you just want to do something amazing for your loyal customers – you don’t need a particular to celebrate, after all.
Ignore SEO And Be Rewarded
Clearly, there are plenty of reasons to focus on tactics that don’t include search, and surprisingly, doing so can actually improve your overall rankings at the end of the day.