The year 2011 is almost here and it is the start of a new decade. But sadly, most people are still stuck with the decade old SEO techniques, which deliver results only for a short while. It is time people realized the evolving face of SEO and make the switch to SEO 2.0. I wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year, as I move into the top 10 rankings of Google, within a span of 1 month, thanks to a better SEO strategy. May this new year bring with it loads of joy, happiness and success for all of you.
As businesses grow more complex, ensuring a unique online visibility becomes tougher by the day; old SEO techniques no longer remain effective. When the blogging world was smaller and simpler, techniques like keyword linking and site rankings did benefit the average blogger looking for an easy route to online presence.
But in today’s cut-throat world of continuous learning and dynamic campaigning, you need a more effective and a more street-smart promotional strategy to take your website ahead in the race.
Millions of websites are created today, all seeking the same goal and target audience. If you continue to stick to the age-old SEO methods, you are likely to be lost in the crowd. You need to update yourself with the latest SEO techniques.
Here is a partial list of the old SEO techniques and how SEO 2.0, as the new SEO is popularly called, can help you with your visibility efforts.
1: Link Baiting
It is the old SEO technique whereby a person tries to drive customers to his site or blog by giving people improper or incomplete information. Many social media sites like DIGG, blacklist ‘link baiting’ as it unethically goads users to take action and is manipulative. However, latest SEO strategies look at ‘link baiting’ from a new perspective. The idea is to respect users, and create reasons for them to consciously link to your site. This can be done in three ways:
- Providing incentives, such as a review of their site, because of which people will link to your site.
- Giving people the information they need, by creating interesting content, because of which they will link to you site.
- Being innovative and controversial in one’s opinion, and making statements that go against popular opinion; this piques people’s curiosity, makes them disagree, and incites them to link to your site. More than being provocative, it’s about being fresh and honest.
2: Bad blog commenting etiquette
Old SEO techniques focus on incoherent commenting on blogs and etiquettes. They do not pay any heed to the rules and regulations of commenting on forums, or on blogs for that matter. Such disregard for other people and forcefully intruding in their discussions is not only going to get you negative PR but will also result in your comments getting blocked, which will not help your SEO efforts. Here are a couple of examples of bad blog commenting:
Amazing blog and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading through some of your earlier posts as well and decided to drop a comment on this one! Anyways, I just signed up for your newsletter and will definitely come back for more. Feel free to do the same for my blog when you get a chance! Also, if you are looking to do some guest posting or promoting some of my products definitely check out my blog… All the best, Dino Vedo PS: Like my Facebook fan page and follow me on Twitter and I’ll do the same for you!
Hi there. Is it okay that I kinda off topic? I am trying to view the site on my new Mac but it doesn’t show correctly, do you have any solutions? Shall I try and find a fix for my computer or something? Thanks! Jo x
Commenting is used in SEO 2.0 as well, but in a manner which is beneficial. Rather than posting comments on blogs and forums randomly and then forgetting about them, one should actively take part in discussions and post the link to one’s website only after making two or three useful comments on a thread. That way, one comes across as more genuine, and that prompts the readers to follow the posted link.
3: Sticking to obsolete blogging
Blogger maybe the first blog platform to hit the internet, but it hardly works these days if SEO is your motive. WordPress is the most cutting edge technology for managing content and blog publishing. With in-built search engine optimization, link management system, automatic filters etc., it is definitely the most user-friendly and effective tool. Just to let you in on its popularity, WordPress 3.0 has been downloaded 12.5 million times as of August 2010! It is imperative that you have a WordPress blog for your business if you want your website on the first page of a search engine; old SEO techniques miss this point more often than not.
4: Targetting only a handful of keywords
Most websites and SEO firms target the popular, top 10-20 keywords, and their strategy aims to maintain high ranking for those keywords. Try something better. Turn the 80/20 rule on its head and target the long tail. Targeting hundreds of less frequently used keywords is a more viable business strategy. Take the case study of Amazon.com, which builds on keywords outside of the popular ones, and this strategy accounts for 57% of their sales.
5: Ignoring Social Media
Old SEO techniques ignore the social media completely, treating it as something solely for the teenagers. If you are serious about SEO, don’t ignore it. Social media, according to Wikipedia, are “the online tools and platforms that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives with each other.” In other words, social media websites are an online version of word of mouth. Social Media Optimization (SMO), can be seen as complimentary to SEO techniques, and a good SEO consultant should be well versed in both. It is done through:
- Adding features to the website and blog content to make it more social media friendly. This involves having tools that make tagging, bookmarking, and linking easy.
- Active promotion of the website and its content in social media through blogging, posting updates on social media sites and participating in discussion groups
6: An all Google strategy
An obsolete SEO strategy is one which gives Google all the importance while ignoring the rest. In the current, competitive e-marketing scenario, depending on one major source for traffic is a risky SEO strategy. The best marketing strategy is to have a diverse approach, where multiple points are created from where traffic can be directed to your website. This could include PPC, article marketing, social media marketing, as well as focusing on a variety of search engines.
7: Going the popular way
For your website to be popular, popular marketing techniques won’t help, innovative will. And that is exactly the point which the traditional SEO firms miss. Guerilla marketing techniques, which are high on time, energy and imagination often work out better than a popular, expensive campaign. For example, you can ask people who visit your website to write something personal, provide them with a horoscope reading, use T-shirts with attractive slogans to promote your blog etc. Such techniques will give you an advantage over your competitors, as they are less frequently used.
8: Ignoring web design
The traditional SEO people still think that web design has nothing to do with SEO. And they could not be more wrong. A website high on easy usability fetches much more traffic than an average one. Using style sheet languages such as CSS to design your website in a systematic way, with well organized portions for different content, help make your site popular. The idea is to have layouts, colors and fonts that are not only pleasing to the eye, but convenient to user as well.
9: Staying put with a single media
Traditional SEO still uses the writing method alone when executing the optimization of a website. While writing is no doubt the most effective, taking advantage of multiple media helps you beat your competition, and that’s what name of the game is. New SEO techniques are all about making one’s strategy wider, and all inclusive. Make use of videos, audio, pictures and anything and everything that may make the people interested in your product or service.
‘Internet Economy’ is a lucrative field today, with success stories such as Steve Wozniak and Apple computers and Sabeer Bhatia’s Hotmail. Naturally, everyone wants to get a share of these much ‘touted’ e-commerce profits. However, to succeed in the online world, businesses need to know all the possible causes of failure, even though it seems like an exercise in pessimism.
These are the common reasons why many startup e-businesses fail
Web businesses that have nothing new to offer, and are mere clones of an already successful business, don’t succeed. Does your e-business sell a product that is innovative? Is there something completely new about your social networking website? The key to avoid typecasting is to stay fresh. Look for problems and needs that you can solve.
Not defining your customer
The first rule in selling is to know your customer. Some startup e-businesses offer a variety of services and products, not knowing the profile of the users. As a result, they cannot offer tailor-made services for any specific age group or nature of target audience and this reduces the chances of succeeding.
The best marketing strategy is a well calculated plan. Marketing is the backbone of any business. A web site that has been creatively marketed without any regard to user acquisition costs might become cost ineffective.
For example, even buying keyword ads is a complex process. A good entrepreneur buys keywords that people most frequently use in searches while having high relevance and low competing advertisers. A common mistake most businesses make while cost cutting, is not hiring professional marketing consultants. They work on instinct, and their marketing plans lack a well researched strategy. This makes their marketing strategies ineffective. So the websites they make have inadequate SEO, SEM, and low virality, which results in low traffic to their website.
Poor web designing
Today, most websites seem like clones. Businesses make compromises while designing their web pages. They use free software and badly designed user interfaces. So, first-time visitors find the home page unattractive and it fails to register in their minds. It is highly unlikely they will ever go back to a web site that’s hard to navigate, is poorly designed and does not offer them something interactive.
A person who wants to use an online personalized gift services will look at several companies that provide the service. He is likely to choose the site which gets the first rule of ‘catchingeyeballs’ right, more so when you are dealing with the business of ‘feel-good’- gifts.
Web businesses with cluttered, badly color coordinated websites, which have long download time and unclear navigational tools don’t work. Only professionally designed, well branded websites, with original and relevant content can be effectively marketed.
Given these reasons, it is best to employ the services of a web designing company to ensure significant online presence.
Lack of web analysis
Web Designing Vs Web Development. Web analysis is a process of analyzing the behavior of visitors to a website and then enhancing and modifying the features of the website to maintain and increase the traffic. Many web businesses design a website and then forget about it; and the resources invested in web designing go waste.Such e-businesses have no feedback regarding their website, as a result of which they cannot maintain a competitive edge.
An entrepreneur needs to be friendly and people-focused. It is good to have an extended professional and personal network, before launching a web business.Web businesses that de-prioritize good partner and interpersonal relationships lose out in the long run.
Bad time and money management
A failed web business means that the founders have not managed their finances well. It includes over-spending or ineffective spending. Such individuals overlook the basic tenet of every business- time is money. They spend a lot of time bargaining for small cost reductions, while delaying launching time and other activities vital to growth in the world of start-ups.
The most important thing that leads to failed web businesses is lack of commitment and passion towards the work. Such people may know all the theoretical pitfalls that they can encounter, yet put in a half hearted effort to avoid them when confronted in the practical world. Hence, they continue to fail.
Web marketing is the cornerstone of successful business marketing. One key component of web marketing is the search engine ranking and internet presence of the business’ website. This realization urges businesses to hire professional SEO consultants to manage the internet marketing of their website. However, simply hiring a SEO consultant is not enough. You need to ensure that the firm is capable of providing world class services as well. To do that, look for business practices that are the mark of an excellent SEO service provider. Some of these qualities are:
Extensive Knowledge: A SEO guru should have knowledge of SEO consulting, keyword analysis, content development and copywriting skills, link building and directory submission guidelines. Along with these technical skills, a SEO consultant needs to have a good idea about marketing and the latest developments in the SEO domain. Marketing skills also include research orientation, which will enable the consultant to gain valuable insight which can be translated into optimization tools.
Ability to take hard decisions: The top priority of a SEO consultant is marketing of the website. So the client has to be informed of changes in the website, which might not be very welcome. In such situations, the SEO consultant needs to get the changes done in a determined way. For example, informing a client that expensive Flash designs on the website have no use from a SEO point of view.
Good SEO Consultant
Customized services: It is rightly said ‘different strokes for different folks’, and this age old proverb holds true for internet marketing as well. No two websites are exactly the same, and so the SEO strategies used for them will also vary. A good SEO consultant will not use the same set of strategies for each client. Rather, the consultant should be able to analyze the unique requirements of the client and provide suitable, customized SEO solutions.
Business understanding: To be able to provide customized services, a SEO consultant must be curious about the client’s business and marketing goals. This drive to know and understand the client’s business shows that the SEO consultant is passionate about the uniqueness and challenges of each project. And the more the consultant understands your niche market; the superior will be his SEO solutions.
Prioritization: In SEO optimization, there is often a need to prioritize content over web aesthetics and long term goals over quick gains. An SEO consultant needs to be able to look at the client’s web pages and logically analyze the level of optimization of the content to come up with strategies. He needs to identify natural integration of keywords, keyword density and remove duplicate content from the text. The tone, choice of words and writing style should be geared towards relevant content, which can then be optimized, before putting the final strategies into action.
Transparency: There are SEO firms which use illegal black hat practices to promote websites and get quick results. SEO firms which use legal and credible practices are willing to share their plan of action with the client. They communicate the basic method and its intended results honestly and professionally to the client. Only those consultants who have something to hide remain furtive.
Internet has changed the face of commerce drastically. Gone are the days, when customers would call up to enquire about the services of a company. Internet has brought the world to the fingertips of the customers, and all they have to do is Google the name of a company to gather information about it! There are also numerous blogs, social media sites and online consumer forums, for consumer reviews. Business owners are severely affected by such reviews, which can make or break their brand image.
Web reputation management(WRM) is gaining importance, as indicated by the World Economic Forum’s recognition of web reputation firms as an important entity in today’s scenario. A bad review by an irate customer, internet slandering campaigns by competitors, and negative feedback indicating consumer dissatisfaction could cause considerable damage to your business reputation. In such a situation, you need to act fast by hiring professional search engine reputation management (SERM) consultants.
Web reputation management firms use a variety of strategies to prevent potentially harmful content about your business from showing up in the first pages of search engine results. Here are some of the benefits of using professional web reputation management services:
- Building Positive Brand Image: During difficult times, a web reputation management firm can build positive blogs and websites for your company. By reducing the visibility of negative comments, creating a positive PR, and pushing positive information about you in the top search engine results, they promote a positive brand image. Their reputation management services will ensure that when potential clients do a background search of you and your company, they will find positive results.
- Effective Monitoring – A professional web reputation management firm will monitor the information about your company in search engine result pages, social networking sites, and other web sphere content. They can track consumer opinion using search engine alerts, RSS feeders to track keywords, and conduct extensive research about the company’s internet presence. Through monitoring and extensive market research, they can quickly identify sites with negative user comments and deal with them effectively, so that they don’t turn up in the first few pages of search engine results.
- Creating Content – The basic tenet of SEO is content creation. To combat negative feedback, web reputation management firms create positive content which are seen by search engines as more relevant and push down the other negative comments about your firm. SEO and web reputation management usually go hand in hand, so it is essential to hire a firm that has both the skills.
- Other remedial measures – User generated content on the web impact the brand image of any business, be it an online company or a brick and mortar company. Brand management strategies cannot be limited to a few mechanical steps. Good web reputation management includes diverse measures such as social network profiling; blog, article and press release; and promotion of existing positive content. Formal take down requests and negotiations can also be used to remove negative content from the web.
Web reputation is a part of SEO itself but not all SEO firms have the expertise in this field. Only an experienced and competent firm can handle your web reputation effectively. And thus, selecting the right SEO firm gains paramount importance.
Don’t wait for a crisis to turn to web reputation management professionals. Do it right now. After all, as the saying goes, “the early bird catches the worm.”