I want to cover a topic I think many small business owners rarely think about, the viability, and scale-ability of their current advertising efforts for the future. In times past, for many small business owners, thinking about the future of their advertising was as simple as knowing what ad size they wanted to purchase in the next edition of the local yellow pages, or perhaps the next ad they ran in the newspaper. Unfortunately, this type of thinking does not, and will not translate into a successful and long term internet marketing strategy.
Why internet marketing is different than older forms of advertising
When it came to older forms of advertising such as yellow pages, direct mail, and newspapers, shelf life was limited, and research options for consumers were even more limited. Ad positions were determined by factors such as who was willing to pay more for their ads, how long they had advertised in that particular medium, and the frequency they advertised. Fast forward from those times years back, and you get to 2015, the age where consumers rely on online mediums to make buying decisions.
Unlike times past, search engine rankings are not determined by who pays the most, but instead businesses are graded and ranked by who does the best. If you think about all the different options out there when it comes to online properties to use when making buying decisions, search engines like Google have become experts in delivering the results their users want. Search engines rely on people coming back to their properties to use them over and over again. If they lose users, they lose market share, if they lose market share, then they lose revenues generated by advertising platforms such as pay per click.
The wrong way to think about internet advertising when it comes to hiring a SEO Company
Can’t you just get my website ranked for the keywords I want, then I stop paying?
We here at City Ranked get asked this at least once a week, if not more, and sure we’d love this to be the case, but unfortunately it’s just not the way that quality internet marketing works. Rankings on major search engines are highly sought after, as they can equal new customers and business growth. Competition for first page rankings is fierce, and there’s always someone looking to take the top position on these searches.
Getting to the top of search engines, and staying there takes hard dedicated work, and it gets harder every year as more and more small businesses compete for the very same keywords you want to rank for.
The search engines judge your business all the time
You may not know it, but the search engines are keeping track of your business, every day. The search engines, especially Google have become very good at understanding consumer needs and wants, then matches them up to businesses that meet their needs and wants. Google delivers personalized search results for virtually every person that regularly uses their search engine. Google has been able to deliver these personalized results because they’ve become experts in understanding information provided to them through a variety of sources.
Search engines like Google judge and grade virtually every business on the internet. This grading system, also commonly referred to as a Search Engine Algorithm is the tool they use.
Search engines change their algorithms
The determining factors on how a business ranks for top keywords is nothing more than a mathematical equation fed by hundreds of inputs to determine specific rankings delivered by the search engines. These algorithms are being changed all the time to improve search results, and keep up with consumer demands. Businesses that are serious about generating leads from the internet over the long term will need to keep up on these changes and the ever changing landscape online to remain competitive.
Understanding SEO, Web Design, and Internet Marketing for the Future
Whether you decide that outsourcing your efforts or keeping them in house is the right thing for your business, the same thing will be true for both situations, forward thinking. With changes in search engine algorithms, and the consumer driven demand for changes online, one thing is certain; change will occur. This change is happening right now, and companies are stepping up to meet the demands of the new consumer. Everyday companies like Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and many others are delivering goods and services once reserved for the small business segment. Have they infiltrated your business vertical? It will only be a matter of time before someone figures it out.
Understanding how to anticipate, adapt, and maximize return with these changes will be the key to ongoing and successful small business advertising online, well into the future. Those businesses that make continually smarter decisions now will position themselves as the competitor to beat well into the future as long as these marketing exercises are completed regularly and adapted to meet the ever changing demands of the consumer. Businesses that are willing to take calculated and educated risks with their marketing stand to become the trail blazers of the future, and the new game to beat in their specific business segment.
The risk of the “wait and see” approach to Internet Marketing & SEO
The concept of “first to market” with ideas is no greater than it is now. Those that wait and follow the crowd when it comes to blazing their own path online will always be just that, followers, and as such, never leaders online. Sure when it comes to internet marketing and rankings, there are always areas to exploit to help your business grow, but being behind the times, and playing catch up to a game that should have been started long ago is no position any business wants to be in. So when deciding on a viable, long term internet marketing strategy, small business owners need to determine the viability and growth potential of their strategy for long term success.
Determining if your SEO & Internet Marketing Strategy is Future Viable
No one can tell the future, but savvy internet marketers can certainly see which direction it’s going. Do you understand how your target audience is changing? Are you taking advantage of technological advances in your industry? Are you keeping your website and marketing up to date with these changes, and changes in your business? If not, you’re missing the boat, and your competition is doing exactly what you’re not.
Understanding what your customers want, how to engage them (and I’m not talking about a phone call), and how to turn someone that’s shopping into a customer. These are all paramount exercises for a small business owner to complete when it comes to completing an honest assessment of their online marketing.