Building Your Business with SEO and Author Ranking
by CF Foundry
Generating Revenue Means Mastering Google - Here’s How
We constantly hear questions like, “How can my small business increase revenue without spending a fortune on advertising?” “How come my business doesn’t appear at the top of Google?” Or even more generically, “What is SEO and why should I waste money on it?” All these questions lead to the same issue: how can your business generate more money on the internet?
So how can your website make more money? Are the people that promise you top search engine rankings legitimate or just out to take your money? Don’t buy into falsehoods and waste your money. Let us show you what it takes to get Google’s attention today, which will allow you to leverage the internet to increase your revenue and grow your business.
To get to the top of the Google mountain, your website needs to implement search engine optimization (SEO) and potentially search engine marketing (SEM). SEO and SEM entail different activities that, in the end, are intended to allow Google, and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo, to be able to judge the value that your website will have to visitors, based on the information (keywords) that people search on.
SEO consists of activities done within your website (topics we’ll discuss later such as meta tags, content optimization, use of heading tags, etc) as well as external activities (things such as backlinks, social media usage, etc). There is still more to consider even beyond this, so let’s dig in.
The Value of Brand
Do you ever wonder how companies like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and more are always at the top of the search results? Google claims that the internet offers anonymity and impartiality when it comes to search engine rankings, but as many have suspected for a long time, it simply isn’t true. Research has shown that companies with well-established brands (Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, etc) show up at the top of search results, even though they often lack the search engine optimization implemented by their competitors.
You’re Not the Only One That Doesn’t like Ads
Many cheaper hosting solutions integrate ads into your website to offset the discounted rate for hosting your website. Other people intentionally integrate ads into their site to help generate their own revenue. Either way, not only do your website visitors dislike ads, but Google can take a dim view of them as well and reduce your search engine ranking position, based on how you’ve implemented ads into your website.
Is Tweeting for Twits? Why Does Everyone Keep Talking About “Social Media”?
How Google ranks your site is undergoing a paradigm shift. It isn’t so much about Google trying to make things difficult for you, but rather the new tools available for Google to do what it has always tried to do: determine the value that your website will have to visitors that are searching for specific keywords.
Historically, and still to this day (albeit to a lesser extent), Google scanned your site for the content (text in the headers, page titles, text in the main body of each web page, etc), meta tags, and other information in an attempt to determine how valuable your site would be when someone is searching related information on Google. This wasn’t easy; people would intentionally oversaturate their website with keywords they thought people would search for and attempt several other tricks to illicit better search rankings in Google. Consequently, Google has constantly had to adjust (and not publicize in any detail) how they value the information on your website in matching it to searches people do.
Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc) and business directories (Manta, Yelp!, Kudzu, etc) now give Google a better way to value your website. By seeing how popular your company/organization is on these social media and business directory websites, Google can infer the value of your company/organization and your website in meeting the needs of search queries on Google. The content of your postings, how many “likes” you get, and how much your postings are forwarded and discussed all reflect back heavily on your search engine rankings.
Are You a Business Owner or an Author?
Surprise! You’re both. As early as 2005, Google saw the value of social media for valuing website content and started working on what is modernly know as “Author Ranking”. Author Ranking serves as a tool for Google to measure the popularity and value of information that you post outside of your website through social media channels. By examining the volume of postings, likes, level of engagement (forwarding/discussion of your postings), and outside authority indicators (e.g. a Wikipedia page), Google can then combine the information with your core website ranking (called PageRank) to better position your website listing in search results. An excellent article by Mike Arnesen on SEOmoz details the components of Author Ranking as shown in his graphic below.
So What Are You Supposed To Do?
Your website requires regular monthly work to promote it as a selling tool for your business. Without those efforts, you can envision it as a salesman that never picks up the phone to call anyone. The salesman that simply waits for the phone to ring misses a lot of business opportunities and your suffers as a result. Getting your website to produce leads, sales, and other elements to drive your business is critical.
Here are some key recommendations for promoting your website and making it an effective business tool.
- Create an effective social media marketing strategy – Some of the elements of an effective social media marketing strategy are included below.
- Build your brand – A strong brand is something that will yield positive dividends time and time again. It helps you generate leads, close sales, and build a viable exit strategy for your business. It is critical to build and protect it.
- Implement SEO for your website – Make sure you are making correct and effective use of headings, meta tags, alternate image tag parameters, keyword saturation rates, etc.
- Keyword management – Use tools like Google Analytics to see what keywords are and aren’t driving visitors to your website and your competitors’ websites.
- Build viable backlinks – Backlinks are still a critical way to build your PageRank in Google. However, these backlinks need to be real backlinks from businesses that are paid advertisements or links from partners, news sites, or related businesses. Do not pay for backlinks from a site that makes its money from selling backlinks – these will cost you in the search engine rankings – not help you.
- Look to authority/credibility lacking with your competitors – Getting press releases, Wikipedia pages, local news stories, and more about your business will build your brand and credibility, helping to differentiate you from your competition.
- Traditional advertising isn’t dead – Magazines, radio, newspapers, billboards, and other advertising media combined with traditional business cards, flyers, brochures, tradeshows, and more are still highly effective ways to build brand and promote your business and website.
- Social media – Link your website to your dedicated Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other pages. Post new content on the regular and work to build a family of followers on each channel so that you have a large, dedicated marketing audience.
- Watch your competitors – As the saying goes, if your business isn’t growing, it’s dying. If your competitors are smart, they won’t stay stagnant with their websites and other marketing efforts. Make sure you continue to adjust and distinct yourself from your competitors.
But I Thought I Could Get a Website For A Dollar?
Websites aren’t a “Field of Dreams” kind of thing; it isn’t a “build it and they will come” environment. As you can see from the information contained in this article, there is a lot that needs to be done to build your brand and promote your website and business on the internet. As much as your website creation requires careful forethought and planning to ensure effective content, what is done to promote your website and update it post-launch is even more critical. Your efforts (and cost) to implement effective SEO, good pictures, business differentiators, etc in your content can all be wasted by not effectively promoting the site to enable it to generate the leads and value you need. Without monthly efforts to promote your site, you will be missing out on revenue that you’re passing on to your competitors.
As with many things, you will only get out of your website what you’re willing to put into it. SEO and SEM have always been as much as of an art as they are a science and, with the popularity of social media increasing daily, optimizing and promoting your website is more involved than ever. Some businesses can afford to allocate dedicated resources to building their brand and empowering their website to build sales, leads, and revenue. However, many smaller businesses cannot afford these assets but have an equal, if not greater, need for these services to build their businesses. For these smaller businesses, an outsourcing model for monthly website promotion can be a critical asset that will produce positive ROI results.