If you are a small to medium-sized business
owner, chances are by now you have jumped into social media in
addition to search engine optimising your website and even running
paid advertising campaigns.
The biggest problem that we see for small
businesses is their approach to content. Many small business
websites have a lumpy approach to content, whereby a lot of effort
goes in to content when a website is launched (or re-launched) only
for the website to be subsequently updated sporadically. It is for
this same reason that many organisations struggle with social
media; setting up a social media channel like a Twitter account or
a Facebook page is very easy, what is far harder is keeping that
channel populated with engaging content on a continual basis,
particularly when resources are scarce.
However looking forward into 2012 and beyond,
having a content strategy is going to be as important to most
organisations as search engine optimisation or pay per click
advertising has become. The big reason for this is that the search
engines are being adapted to the fast-moving web ecosystem of news,
blogs and status updates that we have today. Take the Google Panda
update as an example; this update to the Google search engine aimed
to lower the rank of “low quality” web presences such as link farms
and screen-scraping sites to improve the quality of search engine
results. Google does this by using an algorithm that identifies
signs of website quality. One of these qualities is recency of
publication. Therefore, if you are not actively publishing new
content on your website on a regular basis your web pages and
website as a whole will have reduced visibility in search engine
results over time.
Your search engine optimisation will not
necessarily save you either, as more traditional search engine
optimisation techniques like on-page tactics carry less weight in
influencing search engine ranking.
It may not be just small businesses that may
be affected by this; many organisations have the concept of
‘evergreen’ content. Take for example an emergency service, that
may have produced content on practical tips on firework safety.
This content although seasonably relevant, would fall in the search
engine results as it gets older if the content is not subsequently
revisited, updated, optimised and socially flagged.
Therefore, if you are going to make one
resolution for 2012 to help your business succeed online, set some
time aside to put a content strategy in place. Look at simple ways
that you can make your website up-to-date, such as sprucing up that
News and Events section, planning a press release schedule or
publishing a series of short interesting articles that cross-link
to your products and services. Get your social channels in hand,
selecting the ones you know you can commit to keeping up to date
and that you can productively engage with.
Having a plan will help your keep your content
production on track, whilst getting your social media in order will
increase your visibility through a wealth of channels including
social networks, search engine results, apps and mobile
Authored by Ian