Emergency! Emergency! Google tweaked its search results algorithm again. You immediately get a huge knot in your stomach. You just spent a big chunk of money optimizing your small business website so you’ll appear higher up in the search results and then BAM, out of the blue the visibility of your website hangs in the balance. Sound familiar?
When Google announces wholesale changes to search (which typically happens every few months), a lot of small business owners go into pure panic mode. They want to react to those changes on a dime so their online presence doesn’t take a huge hit.
Don’t be an SEO chaser
Chasing SEO is a lot like chasing storms. At the first sign of activity, you want to spring into action. You hop online and start reading everything you can so you can try to crack the code or you hire someone to re-optimize your website yet again. Just about the time you’re able to make changes, another storm blows into town and you have to start the process again.
Here’s the thing--most folks, SEO “experts” included, are never going to fully understand what Google is doing when they make changes to their search algorithm. Sure Google communicates some of the rationale behind their updates, but there’s also quite a bit of mystery. After all, they want to make gaming the system as difficult as humanly possible and that’s hard to do when you start giving away the recipe to your secret sauce.
SEO is important but it’s not the be-all and end-all
Of course you want to be seen by prospective customers and clients and SEO is a big part of it. But you also need to spend just as much time, if not more, thinking about what they’ll do once they actually find your site.
Navigation, content, calls to action, images, social sharing—in order to turn that traffic into leads and to ultimately turn those leads into sales, you need to have all of your marketing ducks in a row. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to engage with your content AND your business. Sure getting them there is great, but if they don’t know what to do once they arrive, all of that SEO won’t amount to a hill of beans.
At the end of the day, most small business owners probably aren’t going to make the first page of Google search results no matter how hard they try. That means you can’t let SEO dictate your entire marketing strategy. Stay informed about any big, game-changing updates Google makes to their search algorithm and act accordingly. Otherwise spend most of your time creating smart content that prospective customers can’t live without.
By: Shawn Graham
[Image: Flickr user j. lindsay]