SEO Is More Than a Numbers Game. The Real Goal Is Engagement.

The goals that are typically established for an SEO campaign are often aligned with a numbers-driven strategy and closely tied to the vagaries and constantly changing rules of the Google algorithm. Those goals are fundamentally flawed.

The primary goals of most SEO practitioners are to increase rank in the SERP and drive traffic, but they are not going far enough. Because most practitioners use artificial means to accomplish that goal, results are focused on those metrics alone, and not on actual engagement and conversion.

The true goal of SEO should be to engage customers and deliver conversions, and that cannot be accomplished with the artificial tactics used in traditional SEO campaigns. What SEO practitioners are missing is the fact that a highly-ranking search result that does not engage offers no value.

When SEO doesn’t engage.

Because the focus is on numbers, SEO practitioners, before deploying any given tactic, will ask first, “Will this increase my rank in the SERPs?” And if the answer appears to be yes, then the tactic is executed. The flaw with that methodology is that Google ranking is transitory. The algorithm changes constantly. Also, this overlooks the fact that position is not only dependent on your own SEO work, but on the work done by your competitors, which you cannot control.

Those tactics often fall short of actual engagement, and as a result, even if SERP position is increased, no additional sales will result.

Let’s take a common tactic — content marketing. SEO specialists believe strongly in the value of backlinks, hyperlinks on third party sites that point back to your site. There is no doubt that Google values legitimate backlinks highly in calculating a website’s position. Practitioners accomplish these backlinks through a variety of means. A common tactic is creating dozens, if not hundreds of short backlink-containing articles, which are then placed in blogs and websites that have been created for the express purpose of SEO. The flaw in that thinking is that those articles — and the sites on which they are published — are created for search engine algorithms, not for real people. Content is often thin, poorly written, and contains very basic information that is of little value to someone looking for guidance in making a purchasing decision.

Those types of articles do not lead to conversion. In fact, it may lead to the opposite, since the poor quality of the article may harm your brand rather than help it. The end result of that strategy is a temporary boost in SERP ranking, but no actual sales.

What Fred has to say.

The March 2017 Google update, known as “Fred,” was designed to penalize websites that host thin or low-quality content. Anecdotal stories show a significant amount of consternation on the part of SEO marketers who have seen their boilerplate affiliate websites, sites meant solely to drive AdSense revenue, and “private blog networks,” designed to artificially generate backlinks, take a significant dive in rank.

Does this mean that SEO practitioners and marketers should stop using SEO? Not at all. But it does mean that the goal of SEO has to be redefined before it can have any lasting value. SEO that works will have to shift away from mechanical tactics and numbers-driven strategies that ignore quality and rely on thin content created by non-professionals who are more concerned with keywords than value. Private blog networks are out. Brand journalism is in. Brands with a strong SEO strategy are already replacing SEO managers who understand metrics and tactics with managing editors who have journalism experience and understand quality and thought leadership. Larger brands like Kroger are already getting in on the act with branded sites with thoughtful stories. Bulk posts in article comment threads that don’t add to the conversation are being replaced with thoughtful discussion, curated by editors and often by invitation only.

A new shift in SEO strategy, and a redefinition of its goals, will ultimately result in a stronger campaign that can withstand the changes in search algorithms. Google may penalize specific tactics, but they will never penalize quality.

Via Entrepreneur

5 Reasons Why Every Business Needs a Website

Do you have a business without a website?

We understand the reasons why you might resist building one for your business: “I’m not tech savvy”, “they’re too expensive”, “I don’t have the time”, or the infamous “I have enough business and I don’t need one”. The reality is, you don’t need to be tech savvy, getting a professional website for your business can be cheap and easy, and to make it even simpler for you – not having a website is costing you time and money.

Check this out… 81% of people research a business or service on the internet prior to making a purchase decision. That’s 25.92 million people searching for businesses online. Yet, 46% of business owners listed “Business currently doesn’t need one” as their #1 reason for not having a website. We’re not statisticians, but we can see that there’s a glaring disconnect here.

Still unsure if your business needs a website? Keep reading…

1. Having a website will attract new customers to your business and make you more money.

We like this stat so much, we’re mentioning it twice:  81% of people research a business or service online prior to making a purchase decision. If you don’t have a website, you have no chance at capturing a share of this market.

Your website can be available 24/7/365 even when you’re not. A website acts as your “always-on” business advocate during and outside of office hours.

Websites help you convert more of your existing referrals, because most people still do their own research and stack you against your competitors.

2.  Add instant credibility to your business simply by having a website.

The 21st century consumer is a skeptic; in fact, 56% of people stated that they won’t trust a business without a website. Having a good website instantly boosts your credibility as a legitimate business.

First impressions count, and websites allow you to make a very strong impression with a well designed introduction for your business.

A website can help showcase your expertise and better position your business. A website can be your number one tool for standing out in a crowd.

3.  It’s not as hard, or as expensive, as you think.

You don’t need to be tech savvy to get a website. Many web development companies have very simple signup processes which make the process quick and painless for you.

It can be very cost effective. Websites offer a better return on investment than any other form of advertising. If you’re planning to market your business, a website should be your first priority.

Over time the relatively low investment of getting a business website will pay dividends by driving you new customers and building your brand. Plus, it’s a legitimate business expense and a tax write off.

4.  Having a website will end up saving you time.

Whether you’re trading emails, taking calls, or sending out proposals – communicating with potential customers takes time. Your website can save you that time by providing answers to common customer questions and inquiries.What does this mean for you? You can spend your time doing more valuable things.

5. Position yourself and stay in control of your brand.

A website acts as a platform for your messaging and shapes the online perception of your business in a way that your social media channels cannot provide.

The platform allows you to position yourself in the market to get the exact type of customers you’re looking for.

Many business owners have been reviewed online, sometimes unknowingly and/or negatively. How does this affect you? 79% of users who read online reviews, believe them. Combat that negativity by posting your own positive testimonials.

To summarize… You need a website, and it’s easier than ever to get one.

So again, while we believe that not every person needs a website, we’ve shown you why every business needs a website. There’s a very small and inexpensive barrier to entry, and there is a massive opportunity to help grow your business.

If you’re going to do one thing today to help your business be more successful, it’s to make getting a website your top priority.

It’s easy to be a better business. Get a website.

Via Beam Local