If you’ve noticed your ecommerce friends look a little haggard or stressed out recently, it’s for good reason. Google recently overhauled its entire search engine with the Hummingbird update.
Even those not in the know with SEO (search engine optimization), have probably heard of Google Penguin or Google Panda. These are Google crawls that affect keyword rankings. They’ve been the bane of online companies in the past. In fact, back in May 2013, when Penguin 2.0 rolled out, many companies went out of business due to the changes in their keyword rankings.
As important as Panda and Penguin are, their influence on the Google search engine pales in comparison to what Hummingbird has done. Hummingbird is a strong push by Google to make content and context more important to their users. It is a completely new way for Google to crawl the internet. It is not a crawl or a monthly occurrence; it is a wholly new engine for Google.
Working in the search engine optimization space, I’ve seen much hand wringing and hair pulling over these changes. The truth of the matter is—most SEO work is done with one purpose, raising keyword rankings.
This is a flawed method of search engine optimization. Business owners should not be concerned where they appear in the Google rankings for an exact term keyword such as “commercial financing”, but instead should focus on what their internet presence says about them and how it drives visitors and revenue to their sites.
I once heard an SEO expert say if all of his links were to disappear tomorrow, it wouldn’t really affect his site. He had spent so much time crafting a true presence that losing the links wouldn’t preclude his customer from finding him. He spoke of interviews, articles, blogs, and whitepapers that were posted to authoritative sites that also had great readership. Most of his company’s traffic was coming from people who found them on websites and not from search results.
This is a true internet presence, it is organic, it’s real, and the company’s customers appreciate it. The best part of all of this—if SEO managers were solely focused on this type of work, their rankings in Google would take care of themselves. Especially with the shift to Hummingbird, this type of presence will be highly valued and thus rewarded by Google.
So, stop worrying about what Google is doing, stop fretting that your rankings will drop if any one of the aforementioned animals crawl your site. Stop and evaluate what the purpose of your internet marketing should be. It shouldn’t be based on arbitrary rankings of random keywords. It should be based on customer interaction, sharing your expertise, and ensuring your internet presence is real. By working towards this goal, your customer will find you and your rankings will take care of themselves.
Now, that you know what to do, you’re probably wondering how to do it. Fret not. Here are three ways you can create real, organic content that drives customers to you.
Take part in an interview
I get it. We’re not all Rhodes scholars bursting with academic knowledge. However, if you’re a business owner, you probably have a high level expertise in some area. Focus on that area of expertise and offer your knowledge to newspapers, websites, and bloggers.
Create a blog and really work at it
This goes hand in hand with #1. If you have a level of expertise, then share that knowledge with your customers. If you share a portion of your expertise with your clients, it won’t dissuade them from using you. You’re not giving away national secrets. Clients are coming to your site for your services. By showing them value, they will be more likely to patronize you.
Do something truly news worthy
Do you know why stories make it on the news? Because they’re interesting. If you’re fretting over your lack of exposure, try doing something newsworthy. Start a charity, sponsor an event, or come up with a great idea. Then, go out and promote it. Email editors of newspapers and websites. Let them know there is something significant going on. You’ll be surprised how much interest you can drum up.
Mike Templeman has worked in the online marketing industry for the past 10 years. He’s passionate about organic marketing. He is an independent marketing consultant that specializes in PPC, SEO, Social Media, and Conversion Optimization. You can find out more about Mike at www.michaeltempleman.com.