Have you ever asked yourself the question why do you need a website? Many site owners enter into the process with unrealistic expectations fueled by media fantasies like this old Super Bowl ad from UPS:
In my experience, there are two types of people on the internet — people who are posting and looking for pictures of ‘kittens and bacon’ and people who are seriously looking to find or get found. If you’re in the first group, create a simple Tumblr site, post lots of great pictures of kittens and bacon and voila — soon you’ll be swimming in likes and reposts. If you’re in the second group, however, there are some hard realities you need to face if you hope to get found in search and use your website to generate leads for your business. The internet is not a ‘field of dreams‘ — if you build a website, they will not come unless you engage in some form of search engine marketing [SEM].
At a very basic level, a website can be a place to inexpensively post the same kind of content you’d put in a brochure at a fraction of the cost. You can write as much as you want and include images and videos at no extra cost. If that is all you want to do, then there are a wide variety of inexpensive options like Wix and Weebly that will do the job quite nicely and you may even be able to do most of the work yourself. Peter Visser says:
Companies spend millions creating brochures and distributing them. By having a website you can skip that entirely. Your potential customers can find out about you and any of your products online. If you get most of your business through networking and personal connections, then they will want to check out your website.” Go to the source: Why Do I Need a Website? Here are 21 Reasons
If you want your site to be more than just ‘brochureware’ and to actually generate leads for you, read on…
Search engine marketing is a lot more involved than simply creating a brochureware website and using it to promote your business. There are two types of search engine marketing; pay per click [PPC] which as the name implies is not free and search engine optimization [SEO] which is organic and free. As with most strategies, there are pros and cons to both. Each of these strategies involve anticipating what your target audience may be looking for in search, organizing your thoughts around keywords related to those goals and publishing valuable information about those keywords.
Pay per click most often involves using Google AdWords [or Bing] to bid on keywords that are relevant to your target market. When someone searches for a keyword that you have ‘purchased’, you may show up in the ad space either on the top or the side of the search engine ranking page. Contrary to what most people believe, purchasing the keyword is no guarantee that you’ll show up — Google must still determine that the content to which you are pointing people is relevant to your keyword. Also, there seems to be a natural bias against clicking on these paid ads and the bias becomes more profound as the age of the searcher gets younger. Searchers seem to favor the kind of organic results that come from an SEO campaign.
Search engine optimization has no upfront cost like PPC but it requires many of the same skills in terms of determining a keyword strategy and it requires that the content publisher be mindful of concepts like technical seo, on-page optimization and off-page optimization.
While PPC is paid and SEO is ‘free’, SEO still involves a lot of time and effort [and everyone knows time is money] so regardless of which strategy you choose, you should have the resources necessary to stick with a campaign for the long haul and by that I mean that it may take between 3-6 months before you see a return on your effort.
Both aspects of search engine marketing require having great content on your site for those who actually find you. Be aware that if you’re looking to get found in search, you’ll need to work hard. Free high-quality content abounds on the internet and you’ll need to create incredible content if you’re hoping to get found. One of my trusted sources Brian Dean of Backlinko recently said this: “If you’re not a good storyteller, learn the skill or hire someone that does. If you don’t, you’re going to have a tough time getting anyone’s attention in 2016.”
In his post Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy, author Mark Schaefer warns about the supply and demand reality of content marketing…
In the post I referenced, Mark says:
According to Nielsen and other sources, the amount of content we consume on a daily basis has grown from two hours a day in the 1920s to nearly 11 hours per day today. Propelled by mobile devices, the average amount of content we consume on a daily basis has gone up by two hours a day just in the last three years!
How much higher can this go? 12 hours a day? 13? Who knows. But there is some limit.
On the supply side of the equation, the amount of information on the web is expected to increase by 500 percent (conservatively) in the next five years. If you can imagine how big the Internet is, in the next five years, we are going to have five of those.
Do you think it is going to be a little more difficult to be successful in content marketing?
Thought leaders of the future hoping to get found in search will not only need to create amazing content but they will also need to use platforms that are hyper-optimized for search. It’s no longer enough to just produce amazing content — EVERY aspect of your online presence will need to be amazing if you’re hoping to get found.
If you’re not certain that your website is sound from a technical perspective, I encourage you to take advantage of my free seo audit — it can either give you the peace of mind that you’re good to go or let you know what you’ll have to fix before you are. Then, and only then, will you be able to proceed with your search engine marketing or content marketing campaign knowing that you’re making a good investment.
Here are the 7 reasons why I love Buffer!
I’m coming up on the 4th anniversary of the day that I started using Buffer and I love it so much that I tell people if you only purchase one tool to help you manage social media, Buffer should be the one!
These are the features that ring my bell right now [although there are many more!]
Watch this to see how these features work:
Questions? Feedback? Comments? Please engage me using the content form below or head on over to Buffer now and get started.
Why do I focus on SEO? I think this image explains it as well as anything else…
The internet has become more competitive and it’s simply getting more difficult to rise above the rest. Forget about blaming changes to Google’s algorithm — there are just a lot more people creating great content and it’s just getting harder to get found. According to this data compiled by Qmee from PCMag data, there are over 800,000 websites launched every day and over 2,000,000 blog posts written [not to mention hours of video and tons of tweets] — and that’s in 2013 data! Consider this…
For these reasons and many more, in the search to get found, SEO should be one of your first priorities. In a situation where there are two great content producers, the top spot in search will always go to the person that has taken the time to understand the culture and language of Google and optimized their site and content accordingly. You alone have to take responsibility for your search results and either develop your own SEO muscle or hire someone else to do it for you.
No, that’s not dumb question — most people don’t realize that SEO has 3 distinct components; technical, on-page and off-page and they are work together to help you get found.
Consider this quote from SEO Neil Patel: “A site cannot be truly optimized unless it has a solid technical SEO foundation. Technical SEO doesn’t make a website rank, but it allows it to rank by means of on-page and off-page optimization.” Technical SEO is the foundation of everything you do on your website and it means that Google is able to thoroughly understand your site contents and your intent. It involves not only using the right web publishing platform but also configuring it correctly and adding your ‘property’ to the Google Search Console and Google Analytics to be sure that Google ‘gets’ you.
On-Page SEO addresses the classic question of “do I write for Google or my readers?”. The answer of course is yes — you must do both at the same time. This post for example is optimized for search using the Yoast SEO plugin. The plugin reminds me of the important things that Google is looking for as I write and it ‘coaches’ me on the important things I that I have to remember.
Off-Page SEO is the never ending process of getting sites that have more authority to link to you. In Google’s early days, the influence of a site was measured by the number of other sites that linked to it and that data is still analyzed by Google and factored into the value of the site. One of the best ways to get off-page seo klout is to produce great content optimized with on-page seo on a site that has a sound technical seo foundation.
The reason I focus on SEO is that of all the skills necessary for an entrepreneur to get found on the internet, SEO is the most dynamic and difficult to master and I have found few resources that can make it as simple as it needs to be for entrepreneurs to embrace it. There are a lot of smart people who write well, but the top of the search engine ranking page will go to the great content on the website that has optimized technical SEO, on-page and off-page SEO. If you want to get found and are concerned about whether your current SEO strategy is sound, I encourage you to try my free site audit and we can talk further about the results of your audit.