Are new social media platforms killing the SEO Star?

People wonder if SEO is really all it’s cracked up to be. After all, it isn’t a magic formula you plug into your website and then sit back to watch the views pour in. It takes a lot of consistency, time, and effort, and the results are slow to trickle in. Shouldn’t there be an easier way to gain traction online? writer Gene Marks said, “Search Engine Optimization has always been difficult for most businesses, particular smaller ones. . . . Just about every client I know is trying to find the silver bullet of search: the secret way to get your company listed on the first page of Google without paying for it.”

Two types of people

Just tagging your websites won’t work anymore. There are only two types of companies that get on the front page of a Google search results page: the ones with lots of money and the ones with lots of time. And once you get to the front page of Google Search, you have to work harder than ever to stay there.

Belinda McElroy, the owner of Maxwell Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast, said, “[Getting found online] takes  a lot of work on my part. Believe me, there are days I wonder why I am doing this. . . . It can be frustrating and exhausting some days.”

To Google My Business and beyond

These days, though, some businesses are choosing to go a simplified route for SEO. Bing Places, Yahoo Small Business, and Google My Business are all options small businesses have for getting their names circulated more widely. Marketers can post events, discounts, sales, and special offerings. McElroy said she also promotes other businesses in the area because it brings people closer to her bed and breakfast. She posts blogs, responds to online reviews, and contributes to forums, all of which interactions help get her B&B’s name circulating and pleasing those pesky Google algorithms.

Google My Business has analytics built in which monitor traffic and click-through rates. McElroy hasn’t done this all on her own, however, she said she uses “an outside consultant to help [her] with all of this because it doesn’t matter how easy Google says it is, people like [Belinda] don’t have time to be experts.” In a perfect world, you would repeat this process for each of those three platforms, plus Google and Twitter and Pinterest. But small businesses don’t have armies of marketers to do their bidding. Sometimes, it’s just one person.

No such thing as free

Don’t be fooled thinking any of these platforms are “free” in the true sense of the word. Any time you spend on marketing is time you could have spent somewhere else, so don’t underestimate the value of your time. Keeping all your accounts active, posting videos and photos, responding to comments, positive and negative, blogging, and updating will take lots of time, but Marks promised it can be worth it in the long run.

“At the very least,” Marks wrote, “in the case of google, someone will find you on the ‘knowledge panel’ that appears on the right side of the search page. . . . Maybe you won’t take advantage of AdWords but don’t worry about Google – your traffic and data is good enough for them.”

Source: Forbes

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