Many small businesses ask me, ‘how can I get found more online?’ Or, ‘I have a web site but I rank so low that I never get found so I get little traffic’.
So you may expect me to answer: ”just list your business on Brownbook.net (the global wiki style directory site that I founded with @daveingram) and you will be fine,” but that’s NOT where I start.
I start like a teacher in a classroom, ‘have you read the Google webmaster guidelines?’ Even as a person fearful of technology, the basics are listed, they clearly explain many areas that are blown out of proportion by some developers and SEO experts. Sitting down with your webmaster and going through them one by one would be time very well spent, it prevents you from making elementary mistakes and highlights areas that you will need to make a decision on, or test out to see which works best.
And there is more; do you subscribe to the Youtube Webmaster Help channel? You may not hear anything for weeks, but then there will be one question that Matt Cutts (from Google) answers that either saves you a fortune in development time or highlights something you are doing that may adversely affect your site.
On the same channel, you also get Matt elaborating on developments or changes and videos like this one covering last year and giving a few hints of what may be happening this year. If you watch this video, you can start at the web developers part, at 8:36 into the video. In this video, he mentions that speed may factor in search for 2010… my betting is that’s a subtle hint saying ‘we are coding speed in to the algorithms right now, so it is coming and will be a factor some time in 2010’…
Then there are posts like this one from Adam Ostrow, Editor-in-Chief at Mashable that keep reminding me that rather than running around trying to find the pot of gold at the bottom of the rainbow, the SEO golden nugget, or the one thing that will catapult your online business presence, doing the small things well will pay dividends time and time again,
With the experience that I have; taking an honest ‘white hat’ approach to SEO and doing all the small things right will make the biggest difference. Having a strategy that you can fit in to your schedule, one that you can keep on-top of, keep active and maintain over time will pay dividends.
Your strategy will certainly include good SEO, it may include elements of social networking like Facebook, but it may not as this takes time to upkeep and the question you really have to ask yourself is; ‘is it really giving value to you customers and potential customers, are you using it well so that your investment of time is being rewarded?’. Listing on business directories may or may not be part of your strategy, but especially with directories, you need to set time aside to upkeep and improve your listing so the search engines get to see that its being updated.
So in summary, don’t lose sight of the basics, set the strategy, have a plan, assign the time, follow the plan and then evaluate the results quarterly or half yearly. Don’t spend all your time looking for the quick fix (the SEO golden nugget), or adopt magpie tendencies where you go for everything new and shiny. Having said that, my next article will be on the impending mobile tidal-wave that is about to hit us. If we thought the web evolved and re-shaped industry quickly in the past 12 years, we haven’t seen anything yet…
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.