If you use the internet to market your business – to get new leads and customers – you should keep up with news in the internet marketing industry. In this case, so that you will know what NOT to do.
Just before Valentine’s Day, 2011, the JC Penney story, known as The Farmer Update, became public in the New York Times, and Overstock.com had a similar slap by Google. It appears that both companies were utilizing marketing strategies that Google does not like.
JC Penney was using content farms to create lots of content and massive numbers of website pages to link back to them. This is not the kind of new and original content that Google likes. And Overstock.com was using college students and people with access to .edu links to increase the links to their website. Google does consider .edu links to be valuable but not when obtained in this spammy way.
Google likes natural content – that individuals produce and post. It also likes comments that people make when they provide a link to go with that comment to be natural and unique – and posted individually.
We are still in the infant stages of using the internet to market our businesses. The same as we use best practices offline, it’s important to use them online. You may get away with some things for awhile, but when you depend on a search engine like Google to send traffic to your website, you should be aware that they can take it away if they don’t like how you have obtained it.
Some other news: Matt Cutts, spokesman for Google, recently gave us some insights to other things Google is concerned about. He said that going forward Google searchers are more likely to see sites that wrote the original content (rather than a site scraped or copied from original content) as top results on search queries. He also said that their spam engineers who had previously been pulled for other projects are back to working on the task of keeping Google search results valuable and relevant – a hint that more slaps may be in the works.
Another specific mention that Matt made concerns the value of having a domain name that is the exact match for your main keyword. An example would be horseridingtips.com. Recently Google has been rewarding website owners with almost immediate top rankings if the keyword was in their domain titles. There are people abusing this strategy and creating large numbers of poor quality websites. Many of the sites built on these domain names are put up quickly and do not contain much content or value. Google is changing that. While it won’t hurt quality sites, it’s not going to help internet marketers that are putting up these websites in order to quickly monetize them and not provide good information to the reader.
There is one last issue to note (in case you haven’t already noticed). When you go to Google and enter a search query, you will see more social media sites listed as results. These include anything from real time Twitter tweets, to Facebook pages, to blogs or bookmarking sites. Google is paying more attention to your business website’s social value. They want to see if people are interacting with you, or basically – liking your website. So, having social presence is a way Google can measure what people are looking for in a search engine result; and it provides more value to you in terms of getting more Google traffic if you have some social power.
It can be hard keeping up with ‘everything marketing on the internet’. That’s because a lot of it is new and also because things change so rapidly. It is beneficial to be connected to a service that will track internet marketing news and strategies for you, or at the very least pick a good blog to follow that posts ‘everything internet marketing.’
Takeaway: If you want to count on getting more traffic to your website (and more leads and customers) from Google, focus on some of the things Google likes:
- A blog where you post regular content that is good quality (you get 55% more traffic if you have a blog on your website)
- Social power – join at least a few social media websites AND be active on them
- Variety – write press releases, post a video or image, get some quality links to your website – Google likes to see you are doing a mixture of work on your website