In the online world, it can be easy to get sucked into the mindset that Google is the ‘big cheese’ which has to be kept happy if your website is to enjoy any degree of visibility.
This conclusion can be an obvious one to come to when you consider that Google.com and Google.co.uk’s share of the total search market in the UK is more than 89 per cent, with all its rivals scrambling to pick up the crumbs of the remaining chunk of just over 10 per cent.
Given these figures, you might well wonder whether it’s worth putting any time or efforts into playing any game other than Google’s. Yet there are ways in which you can gain greater visibility for your website which don’t directly involve dancing to its tune, a handful of which were distilled by Chuck Price, an American SEO expert, in an article for Searchenginewatch.com.
Be Seen As An Expert In Your Field
But under the above heading come a number of tactics, which include reading, and then commenting on, content produced by others.
By this, Chuck means going well beyond the typical ‘Great article, thanks’ platitudes which are all over the internet. Instead you should look for ways in which you can make your knowledge and opinion add to the information already provided. Read widely about your specialist subject, pinpoint the experts who are writing regularly about it, and make sure that links you post to your own site go directly to content that’s immediately relevant to the topic.
In addition to websites you admire, become an active contributor to forums which cover your subject. But always be sure to learn, and play by, the rules, and steer clear of the habit of constantly turning the conversation around to yourself. ‘Give and you shall receive’ is an appropriate maxim for your efforts.
Get A Leg-Up Using Content Aggregators
Getting your website recognised by Google is something of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. You want your website to be respected and trusted by your peers, but first you have to try to ensure that the people who matter actually see it.
Content aggregators scour the web for information relevant to the subjects they cover, and will redistribute the best examples of knowledge from their particular sectors.
The power of Google+ lies in the circles which individual members create around them. Each one interconnects with those of other users of the platform, and followers of individual communities are typically pretty dedicated about the subject it covers. So in a way, you’ll be conversing with others who already speak your language – and that’s a great help.
Look for real-world problems you can solve
People often go online to find the answer to a question that’s bothering them – and that could cover any topic under the sun.
Take a look at the long-established sites Ask.com and Yahoo Answers. These contain real-world queries to which people are seeking answers. And if you can provide a solution to someone else’s problem, you could gain a follower – and customer – for life, who’ll tell all their friends how helpful you’ve been.
Reddit is another great platform for this. It contains tens of thousands of niches – but beware, your standing, and the visibility of your contribution, will depend on how relevant others deem them to be. You need to find your own tone of voice, and try to be helpful and, with a little luck, you could soon become a trusted voice in your field.
Facebook is one of the most obvious channels through which you can promote your business. But again, the watchword is to guard against being too self-promotional. Otherwise, you’ll only put people’s backs up, and probably get a load of adverse comments for your trouble. Use the site to give your business a persona, and to introduce the faces behind it.
If your business lends itself to visual presentation, also consider using Instagram to show off examples of your work, because you should never forget the old saying that ‘a picture paints a thousand words’.
Make your business a TV star
Along the same lines as the above, you should also consider using YouTube. It’s full of practical, ‘how-to’ video demonstrations. In fact, YouTube is second only to Google for the number of content searches carried out globally on the site. If your work is best explained using this medium, then you can’t afford to miss out on the opportunities that showing off your skills can offer.
Harvest the fruits of your email contacts
As online marketing has developed and diversified, for many businesses email marketing has become a secondary activity.
But you should again consider your list of customers’ email contacts as a useful resource of pre-qualified sales leads. After all, for most businesses, there are few more effective advertisements than a previously satisfied customer, and if you can answer their needs on an ongoing basis, your email contacts will pass on details of your products and services when they encounter a friend, relative or associate who’s in the market for what you have to offer.
Warning – don’t spread yourself too thinly
While no single one of these methods is likely to provide the miracle formula to your success, you should test out each one, and discover which of them work best for you.
Concentrating all your efforts on one individual channel is likely to result in you being seen as a spammer, so pick the ones which connect you with the biggest proportion of your potential audience, and, above all else, be friendly and helpful, but never overbearing.