If you know a bit about search engine optimisation you’ll already be aware of the split between marketing pre- and post- Panda/Penguin.
It’s really important for small business owners to know about it because it fundamentally changes the way you do marketing.
It can save money on marketing and advertising too, especially if you have decent writing skills, ie. you can write plainly and clearly.
So what’s been going on? Here’s some background
Google uses mathematical algorithms to figure out how to classify, rate and rank websites in its search results. Panda and Penguin are recent Google algorithm updates, and they changed the face of SEO profoundly. In a nutshell, their combined effect devalued various types of bought links and poor quality content, which meant millions of websites were penalised or dropped from the big G’s search results altogether.
If your website is full of duplicated content you’ve copied and pasted from elsewhere, or your SEO expert has sailed a little too close to the overt link building wind, you’ll know exactly what I mean. You’ve got some work to do!
It’s been catastrophic for countless businesses, but on the other hand it has also cleared the field for good quality content and naturally-generated links. If all this might as well be Greek to you, don’t worry. All you really need to know is how to make the most of the situation.
One way to take advantage is… get blogging!
- if you haven’t done it yet, add a blog to your business url
- use WordPress. It’s free, trusted by millions and ridiculously easy to use
- start blogging about your business and associated subjects
- you don’t need to write massive long blog posts all the time. Write anything from one-liners to 700 worders for variety
- you don’t need to be an expert at writing, although you do need to be able to express yourself clearly and plainly, and spell and punctuate properly
- feel free to be yourself. Likeonomics is a new marketing theory that proposes niceness, honesty and so on are valuable marketing collateral. Consumers like dealing with human beings more than faceless corporates. Your blog is where you can let loose and get involved without feeling self conscious. It’s a simple and highly effective marketing mouthpiece and it’s practically free
- SEO experts will consciously weave key words and phrases into their posts to show Google and co exactly what the post is about. But as long as you write on-topic you’ll include key phrases perfectly naturally, as a matter of course
- having said that, you can cover all sorts of stuff. Imagine what you’d find interesting and write about it. Go off-piste into related subjects for added texture. Ask other people for their ideas about subjects to cover. Monitor trending topics on Twitter. React to breaking news. Write a weekly diary piece about what you’ve been up to… get creative with your blog for maximum impact
- what about timing? The more often you can blog, the better. Once a day is totally fantastic. Many people manage one or two a week. Whatever you can manage, stick with it religiously
- when you make a hole in your diary for blogging, you stand more chance of actually fitting it in. Diary your posts a month in advance
- if you employ staff, you can let them loose on your blog. Just make sure you exercise editorial control!
- what about the link building bit? The more interesting, relevant, useful and entertaining your blog posts, the more chance you stand of a post becoming ‘link bait’, where people love it, share it and link back to it. Because Google uses naturally-built links to help it ‘decide’ how good your site is, writing interesting stuff has significant business benefits
What do you get for your blogging efforts?
More visitors. More links. More credibility. And eventually, better visibility in Google’s search results.
Simple? I hope so. If not, feel free to ask questions and I’ll do my best to answer them!