by Stella Fayman on July 2, 2013
This is a guest post from Rod Holmes (bio below).
If you guessed, “be the CEO of Starbucks,” then you’re definitely observant, but cold.
If you guessed, “have an amazing, online presence” then you’re much, much warmer.
These days, prime business real estate is no longer physical — it’s digital. And if you can establish your company’s online presence to be the best in your industry, then you’re that much closer to cornering the market in your business. (pun intended).
Ever since we stopped playing “Oregon Trail” and the modern Web evolved, SEO (search engine marketing) has been at the forefront of helping companies achieve just that. But for too long, SEO has been marred by shady tactics, sometimes thought to be an elaborate scheme or simply a numbers game based on acquiring a massive amount of links.
Since Google has become more sophisticated and users have become savvier, the path to Internet marketing success has rightfully shifted. Establishing a strong online presence is not about quantity; quantity of links, posts, sites, or followers.
It’s all about quality.
The Internet is smart now. It has evolved to reject spin, tricks, and thin, useless content. If you want your new business to rank in search results and acquire valuable, engaged followers, then you need to cultivate quality in the following areas.
Your Quality Website is Your Identity
Just like any physical storefront, your website should have an appealing design. This isn’t marketing rocket-science, but what many designers don’t realize is that there’s more to good web design than just how something looks.
Your website should also be optimized and streamlined for Google’s crawl robots. Pay attention to URL’s, HTML tags, site architecture, redirects, content delivery, and many other details. A quality website is set up to suit both your visitors and Google’s robots.
Your company site is the true face of your business, and should easily allow visitors to engage with you, whether that involves a contact page, email list sign-up, social sharing, blog comments, or other avenue. Always look to improve your website from a technical, functional, and aesthetic perspective.
Your Quality Content Proves Your Value
Perhaps the most rapid development in the SEO world is content marketing. Internet users want informative, entertaining, useful content. It’s already been displayed by the astronomical popularity of YouTube or Wikipedia, and it holds the key for businesses to be relevant online.
By providing quality content, you establish yourself as a thought-leader in your industry and a valuable resource for potential clients. Even if the content is not directly geared toward converting visitors, your site will gain authority and trust in the eyes of both real visitors and Google’s algorithms.
Here are some ways you can provide good content and attract valuable, relevant traffic:
- An updated, curated blog
- Youtube videos and tutorials
- Social media engagement
- Guest posts on partner sites
Identify what your target audience is searching for. What do they want? What questions are they asking? If you can give them what they’re looking for through your content — possibly independent of your actual product or service — then you will attract new traffic and inspire repeat visits.
Your Quality Links Serve as Endorsements
Once you have a strong website — well-structured inside and out — with in-depth, updated content, you’ll be in a position to earn quality links. Each earned link will serve as a vote of confidence in your site and your business, boosting your reputation in the eyes of Google and the world.
While you should always look to acquire links on your own, any link farming or directory stuffing will come back to bite you. Google will sniff it out as spam and demote your page rank accordingly. Instead, be smart about placing links to your site on other pages you control (including social media) as well as partner sites. Keep in mind that contextual links (within the body of an article or other piece of content) are best and that your anchor text should not be 100% identical every time.
There are always ways to attract links to your site and get attention. The most trusted method will be to put the time and research into providing the right content to the right people, providing quick and easy ways for them to share it.
Quality Equals Trust
Focus on building quality websites, content, and links, and your reputation and brand will naturally benefit. The best first steps would be to assess the technical strength of your website and to create a calendar for producing valuable, attractive content. As with most things, intelligent business SEO starts and ends with quality.
Rod Holmes is a partner at Chicago Style SEO, a full-service Internet marketing company in Chicago. His main responsibility around the office is being the head PPC wrangler (he’s a certified Google AdWords expert). He also seems to spend a lot of time on the phone talking with clients and prospective clients.You can find Rod on several social media channels: Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.