As we start planning end-of-year parties it’s also time to start planning for next year’s marketing. This means not only working out where you want to place your business, but how you are going to be found. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has been around since the launch of public internet access, but will it continue to be relevant, or has social media marketing taken over?
SEO 101 Crash Course.
Most people now understand Search engine optimization as the way you structure your content on a webpage. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, have pieces of code that crawl the internet remembering everything they find and creating an unbelievably large index page. That’s all your search results page really is.
In the very (very) old days, businesses used to come up with names like AAA Plumber or 123 Computer Repairs to ensure that they were listed first in a telephone directory. Optimizing your content to be easily found is not new.
Creating Keyword & Topic Focus.
SEO is really the art of creating a webpage that is very clear about what you do. If you design wedding dresses, your “about me” page should focus on your development of design skills, love of creating wedding dresses, and your desire to help make every bride unique. This keeps the page focused and on topic. If you start to talk about getting inspiration from watching your kid playing in the playground you are diluting your topic.
Every word, image, heading, description, tag, and link should be focused on your core business in one way or another. For your wedding business, this may mean writing a blog post about working with a wedding photographer, or a horror story about stain removal from satin, but these are still on the general topic.
You do not need to repeat yourself or repeat your keywords. In fact, this is not only boring to your potential client but will see you penalized by search engines.
No Webpage? No Worries.
People tend to get worried about how to rank on Google because it is the leading search engine, at the moment. But depending on your business, you may not even need a webpage, so why should you learn about SEO?
Facebook is still one of the fastest ways to grow a business, more so since it purchased Instagram to give it more reach and power. Other social media platforms like LinkedIn and YouTube are also great ways to gain an audience and new customers.
While this may mean you think you do not need a website, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to know about SEO. As we’ve already mentioned, the way to “win” and SEO is to create focused content. With social media marketing, the exact same principles apply. You need to find your niche market and stay focused.
The Danger of No Website.
If you only use social media or third-party sites (such as Amazon) to build your business you are at the mercy of the platform. At any stage they can, and do, close you down, shadowban you or in other ways cause significant disruption to your business.
Amazon regularly comes under fire for changing sales percentages and for not providing customer details to a seller. This means that if you build a great business on Amazon, and they decide to undercut you, your only real option is to start again. You can’t contact any of your previous clients to say you’re moving to your own platform.
Social Media and SEO.
Yes, this is a thing, and it’s knowing, unsurprisingly, as Social Media Optimisation (SMO). And the principles of SMO are very similar to SEO.
SMO is different from Social Media Marketing. With SMO you are ensuring that the content you are creating is the best you can do for a particular platform.
While this is still a new field of digital marketing, it is still a vital component of your future growth. You will need to have an understanding of how your social media platform works in order to be able to optimize your content for maximum engagement.
For Instagram, this means great images and videos, short captions, and a good understanding of hashtag useable. For Twitter, this means correctly sized and titled images, subtle use of hashtags and emojis, and using statements of fact or direct questions. Each platform is unique and separate, and what works on one doesn’t necessarily translate to others (even between semi-joined Fiverr, Facebook and Instagram).
The future of SEO.
So, should you still worry about what SEO is? Absolutely. Google is still the leader of online search. In fact, as they have purchased YouTube, you should be even more interested, as YouTube is also a huge search engine that follows similar search result practices.
However, the key point to a great online presence isn’t to find all the latest tricks and hacks. Nor to leap every time Google, Facebook, or Instagram update their algorithm. It’s very simple. Find your niche. Stay focused. Keep producing great content. SEO principles will be with us for quite some time to come.