The paradox about SEO and digital marketing in general is that a lot of it relies on the principle of using another company, for the benefit of your own company. Now, in most other lines of business, this would seem somewhat unsound – after all, it’s a rather risky position to be putting yourself into. What if the company you’re relying on suddenly decides to change the way they do business and to alter the mechanisms and quality of the services they’re offering you? What if they do this often enough and with such sweeping effects as to literally drive companies that rely on them out of business? What if they’re slowly but surely turning into a monopolizing colossus, with an estimated market share of over 80 per cent?
All of the above are, of course, true about Google. In a way, it’s understandable that they should be updating their algorithms often. After all, when in the search engine business, you want to make sure your tools are pitched to perfection, since you are effectively the gate keeper to the world’s information resources. However, when you’re not Google, but simply a small or medium business, struggling to raise awareness and build a brand, an update that leads to penalizations can literally drive you out of business. This, of course, is the case with most brands out there today: they’ve spent the past few years, not to mention time, money, and staff resources, building back link profiles, optimizing keywords for organic searches, and have come to depend on Google to an extent which is sensibly unhealthy.
The good part is there are many instruments companies can use for digital marketing nowadays, which Google doesn’t control (at least not yet). Here’s a list of our favorite ways to grow your market share and promote your business, while completely leaving Google out of the equation:
Email marketing is still important. Yes, social media, likes and shares have made this less immediately apparent, but this doesn’t mean mailing lists just stopped being used, nor that there aren’t some companies out there that still put them to great use. As a matter of fact, two of the world’s biggest SEO companies, which essentially depend on Google for most of the services and products they provide, are also relying on promoting their business with emailed newsletters. They pool together relevant content, make sure they’re targeting the right people with the right content, and optimize said content by paying close attention to their email metrics. Other newsletter strategies that continue to work, even in a day and age when everyone’s inbox is crammed with information, is to create special content for the emails. This way, subscribers get the feeling they are being provided new, relevant content – a fair trade, in exchange for their personal data.
- Perennial content
Yes, of course social media sharing is very important for growing an online brand. Links and shares will garner visibility, but the problem is multifaceted and complex. For one thing, as many a SEO expert will tell you, it’s easy to fall into the trap of creating content that will get links, but fail to represent the client’s brand. This, of course, isn’t as useful as some would have it seem. Then, there’s a problem with the life-span of a link: content that isn’t actually that useful might see a spike in social media stats and links, but this boost will quickly die out, burying with it the content, in the recesses of some blog or website. Ideally, content should be good enough for a reader to want to bookmark it and come back to it. Genuinely informative resources don’t come with an expiry date (hint: you do still own a hard-copy dictionary and/or encyclopedia at home, don’t you?).
- Contacts and relationships
This is a different way of looking at link building, in a nutshell. As the popular refrain goes, you want to build relationships, not links. In other words, putting a link to a piece of content out there will only do so much for a brand. But creating a bond with a webmaster, a brand advocate, an opinion leader, or even a simple content sharer will go a long way. After all, there was a time when the Internet had barely been invented and people networked their way onto the market – with letters, faxes, meetings, and phone calls. In today’s day and age, we have social networks and community platforms such as Buzzfeed, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and many others. Do not underestimate their potential as assets for building your brand presence online.