Forget About SEO

I have news for you. Your website or business is not going to show up as the top ranking on Google. Maybe if somebody searches the name of your business it will, but for all other useful searches, probably not. And that’s OK.

Many people ask me how they can be the top result when somebody searches “Mechanics” or “Real Estate” or “Hair Stylist” or whatever it is that they do. It’s hard. Really hard. Anybody that tries to tell you different is a liar. It requires a lot of time and effort to research and produce great content, blogs, seek out backlinks from reputable websites, optimize your website constantly and so on. There is no silver bullet. In the past you could ‘game’ Google and rise in the rankings from things like keyword stuffing or buying black-market links. Google doesn’t care for that behaviour though and is constantly evolving to eliminate and even penalize it.

If you have the budget to create useful, relevant and awesome content, by all means, go for it. If you do not have that budget, then there are a few other strategies you can use to generate more traffic and more business through your website.

Build a Social following

Turn to social media to build your audience. Run contests and giveaways, promote sales or offers exclusively through those channels. Promote your business or organization and the success stories it generates. How it helps people, or how you’ve given back to the community. Social media users love that stuff.

Build an email list

Get people to sign up for email updates. Offer an incentive to do so, such as a discount, free gift or exclusive content or whitepaper. Reach out to them periodically to keep them engaged. Don’t overdo it so they get annoyed and offer them real value with what you send.

Leverage local search

Google offers “My Business” services that allow you to create a local listing for your business and define your industry. This will ensure that your business will show up when people google something like “Plumbers in Regina”.

Advertise online

There are many platforms for advertising online and it may take some trial and error to see which one works best for your audience. Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Target your ads intelligently and analyze each campaign to see which offers the best return on investment.

Don’t forget to network.

Sometimes handing out business cards and pounding the pavement are the best options. Leave behind something with people you meet that directs them to your website and social channels. It’s usually the first step people will take to find out more about you and your company.

The key to SEO is producing great content and that takes a lot of investment in time, effort and money. For a small business with limited budget, forget about getting to #1 on Google and start focusing on getting people to your website and growing your audiences instead.

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