If you have been placing all of your online marketing eggs in the Google’s organic search basket, then you may want to start working on a backup plan. Matt Cutts has publicly announced an upcoming update to Penguin (version 2.0) as well as released a video on the YouTube Webmaster Help channel about the changes you can expect in the near future. Unless you are absolutely certain that your website will not be affected by these changes and that your search engine traffic volume is safe, then you should consider the following strategies to supplement your traffic in the event of a decrease in rankings.
Watch out for the Arrival of Penguins
How can you find out if you have been affected by a Google penalty or algorithm change? The best way to start is by monitoring your Google organic search traffic. Sharp spikes here and there are typically due to ranking for a short-lived trending topic or having a website outage. What you are really looking for is a major decline that stays steady. If you notice a decline, you can try matching the date where the change begins to the list of notable Google updates.
If you don’t want to have to monitor your analytics, you can also set up a visibility alert in the AWR dashboard. This way, you will be notified when you have a change of 10% or more in visibility in search.
There is Local Search Marketing Beyond Google
Can’t get your own website to rank for your brand name because of a penalty? If you have a local business, you can opt for local search marketing. Sites like Yelp, Merchant Circle, Yellow Pages, and others will tend to rank well in search results. The key is not to just have listings on local review sites, but to claim them as well. That way, if they are the only online properties ranking for your business, they have all of the information that a visitor would need to learn more about your products or services and contact you.
Get started by claiming the local review listings that comes up for your business on the first two pages of search results. If you don’t have a presence on local search sites, you can find the best ones for your business by referring to GetListed.org’s best citation sources by city and by category.
Take Advantage of the Next Best Thing – Social Media
Most businesses that are actively utilizing social media will find that social media networks (generally Facebook and Twitter) are the best traffic sources after search engines. So if you haven’t already, now is a good time to do more than just create a profile on the top social networks.
Once you have created profiles and pages on the top social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest, make sure those profiles and pages are optimized for search just like you would with your website.
- Use your business name as the name of the profile. The name and username fields of most profiles and pages are not the place for keywords.
- Put your main keywords in the about, bio, and short description sections of each of your profiles and pages.
- Create a great profile image and cover photo that represents your business and is easily recognized. Stay consistent across networks.
- Fill in all applicable details about your business. Use as many of the fields provided by each social network when possible.
Once your profiles and pages are optimized, work towards building an engaged, targeted audience. Buying followers will buy you numbers only – purchased followers will not contribute to engagement, traffic, or conversions.
As you build your audience, keep your social profiles and pages up to date. If you’re pressed for time, one update per network will do with the exception of Twitter (where people expect that you will update more than once a day) and YouTube (where people will expect that you will update maybe once a week or even month).
You may also want to consider using social media advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn if you need to grow your audience, engagement, or traffic faster. Facebook and LinkedIn have better targeting options than most other PPC campaigns, which can help you spend less with more results.
Emergency Safety Net – Google AdWords
If you don’t want to completely lose your Google traffic and you have some marketing budget to expend, you may want consider Google AdWords. With the right keyword targeting, landing pages, and budget, you could put your website above organic search results.
Don’t Forget to Create Share-Worthy Content
Last, but not least, create share worthy content. If you create content with the goal of having it be popular for your target audience on social media, the links will naturally follow. This can be especially helpful if you are in the process of having to remove or disavow bad links you have built in the past. By creating share worthy content, you can build good links for the future.
What would you do to ensure your business continues to thrive after a loss of search traffic?
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.
Photo credit: Me-Liss-A