New tax changes, privacy laws and trade measurements are just some of the changes that are impacting Australia’s local small businesses. Marketing practices that are sweeping the online environment are also changing. For starters, Google algorithms, changes in online user behavior (i.e. the numbers of people conducting searches and shopping with mobile devices) and shifts in where major corporations are putting their online advertising and marketing money are impacting search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques and strategies.
2013 saw search engines become wiser to questionable SEO tactics, practiced by local small businesses and major corporations. John Lincoln, a social media and analytics expert, shared in Business News Daily that, “Black-hat SEO companies built a larger amount of external links and pointed them at a website to get them to rank.” He went on to say that, “The Penguin algorithm made this type of linking ineffective, and the Panda algorithm made low-quality content ineffective.”
Small businesses that work in high risk fields like medicine and finance are being given closer review. It may be unlikely that questionable websites in these and other high risks fields would come down. However, when marketing their small businesses to local consumers, if the websites don’t remove questionable or low quality content, replacing it with valuable content and accurate data, search engines may continue to penalize these websites, no longer pulling their data up during user searches.
Additionally, the weight search engines once placed on SEO keywords is being shifted to content themes or subjects. In other words, local small businesses that sell home furniture, would be better served if they developed content that educated local consumers on how to value furniture, care for older sofas and reposition furniture to give their homes a better look and feel rather than taking an article that scarcely covers interior design and, yet, using “furniture” a dozen times as a keyword.
These changes are advancing, in part, because online users don’t want to spend several minutes searching for specific, valuable and accurate content they need to, for example, fix their computers, find the products they want or finish a university term paper. Local small businesses can take advantage of these changes by hiring writers who have in-depth knowledge about their products or services.
It’s this in-depth knowledge that empowers content specialists to create focused original content, two things search engines are falling in love with more and more. To distinguish themselves from major corporations, small to midsize companies can focus a sizable share of their SEO marketing efforts on local consumers.
For example, they can submit their small business websites to local business and shopping directories. When doing this, they should shoot for inclusion in categories that most closely define their business. If the Internet is proving anything, it’s proving that people don’t appreciate being tricked.
To get more out of SEO marketing, small and midsize businesses can incorporate a blog into their business website. Rather than only adding written content, they can add videos, including outright funny videos that are related to their business, and catchy images to their blogs. Why? It’s this content that local consumers share with their colleagues, relatives and friends, giving businesses that much more exposure.