18 Jun To optimize your brand for SERPs or audiences, that is the question
Let’s start with SEO first.
At its basic level, SEO is where companies hope to be found in search engines for people interested in their products or services.
It’s well-known to be among the most profitable traffic sources, but it’s risky. Very risky.
Relying solely on Google for organic traffic has taught a number of companies a stern lesson after an algorithm update.
Many companies recently saw > 50% drop in traffic and some had to lay off staff because their rankings in Google fell precipitously. Google doesn’t publish a foolproof way to always maintain rankings and so you’re at the whim of the search giant.
Many incorrectly assumed that organic traffic was “free,” because you weren’t paying for each click to your site. But nothing is free. It required investment although that investment was much smaller then than now.
Being found in the SERPs requires link building and staying ahead of Google’s algorithm, which means anticipating what it is looking for and creating “signals” that are rewarded by the search giant. This was much easier when Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird updates weren’t taking place on a regular basis.
Let’s look now at the shift in content consumption.
Search was the dominant vehicle for finding content on desktops and PCs. That was pre 2012. It’s no longer the case in a multi platform world where mobile and tablet growth is far outpacing PCs and desktops.
Content accessed on mobile and tablets come from trusted publishers apps (e.g. NY Times), social platforms (eg Twitter, FB, LinkedIn), as well as search. On mobile, search is just one piece of the puzzle for content discovery.
Who are you?
Anonymity is also no longer a dominant form of internet activity. See Google Authorship, 3rd party directories, reviews, etc. That makes search for unknown or little known companies risky. Therefore, if people do find your company on page 1 in the SERPs – and that’s a big if, without any knowledge of who you are, how confident do you feel you’ll generate the same ROI if competition on page 1 has a strong reputation?
Which brings us back to optimizing content for audiences through influencers.
Since the goal of any piece of content is to get it in front of the right audience and build trust with that audience, positioning content for your target through the lens of a trusted 3rd party influencer kills two birds with one stone.
Why bloggers and social influencers?
Readers flock to their favorite blogs daily because the blogger has earned their trust. Bloggers and social influencers, provided he/she has good things to say, can talk about your brand which makes the reader aware of you, and provides the social approval needed to drive buying decisions.
It may not happen overnight, but putting aside the fallacy that exists on the internet that each dollar out can be quantified to each dollar in over the short-term, we can recognize in our own buying patterns that things don’t happen overnight.
How do you find the right ones?
You can do it yourself, or work with a company that has taken the time to build relationships with influencers so you don’t have to, and allow you to bring the right influencer’s in for a campaign to amplify your message to your target audience.
As you begin to build your own online business today, or rebuild it after getting hit by a Google penalty, which course of action do you think is most wise: building links which may or may not be enough to have Google feature you high in the SERPs, or bringing your brand to its audience through sources with loyal readership and established trust with their readers?
It’s not pre 2012 anymore. The choice seems easy to me.