Keeping up to date with the latest SEO trends can be overwhelming, but the effort is worth it to grow your business
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of hosting a seminar called “Know Your Role in SEO” (search engine optimization) at the WWETT Show in Indianapolis. During the seminar, we went over some tactics that companies can use to boost their business presence online. From social media marketing to digital content creation and competitive analysis, there was a lot of valuable information up for grabs.
Looking back on the seminar, I’m glad we got to go over the “how” for SEO, but now that we’re nearing the end of the summer, I want to go over the “why.” Long story short, more people than ever are spending hours per day online, and the internet is showing no signs of slowing down. While digital technology is moving forward, I’ve noticed a scary trend: some wastewater companies aren’t necessarily keeping up. For the record, I’m guilty of this, too, so don’t feel bad.
One of the biggest problems in today’s world of SEO is that it’s a moving target, making it more overwhelming to tackle. Every few months, major search engines are reprogrammed to do a better job at reading your website’s content and find out how you should rank online. As a wastewater company, you obviously try to focus your website and social media to reflect your business’ purpose.
Unfortunately, unless you constantly read up on digital marketing or internet trend forums, you can quickly lose track of how to optimize your web presence. Sometimes, it feels like a waste of time to sit and read “patch notes” on upcoming changes to Google’s search algorithms. However, you kind of have to — and here’s why:
Today, search engine optimization is as much concerned with the quality of the content itself as with the technicalities behind the scenes.
Not only do you have to keep up with trends, you have to make the content you’re producing relevant. The days of keyword loading and stock photography are over. Think of it this way: You could own all of the best equipment the market has to offer, but if you don’t use it, it’s worthless. Similarly, you can pay thousands of dollars for a fancy website, but if you don’t add good content and relevant keywords, it’s a waste of money. In “real life” you try to solve your customers' problems; your website should do the same thing for your web visitors.
To step up to the challenge, I’ve found that many companies are hiring third-party web developers or maintenance teams to help them with their websites — blogging, photography, coding, etc. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, as long as you stay on top of the work they’re doing in regards to SEO.
The “technicalities behind the scenes” refer to how your website, embedded links and social media all work together. The World Wide Web is exactly that: a connected web of information. Now, imagine that Google is the spider, crawling around to check on everything. If you’re not optimized, you’re a loose strand of web that doesn’t look relevant, even if you run a successful business. On the other hand, if you have an awesome web team, but they’re adding content your customers don’t care about, your website still won’t rank well. Be sure that no matter what you do, your customers' problems are being solved. That will always lead to longer website visits and more potential leads.
Let’s say you’re already incredibly successful or you operate your business in an area where people don’t use websites or social media. You can still add another tier of visibility advertising called organic search by implementing digital SEO practices. Are you willing to ignore hundreds (sometimes thousands) of website visits because you didn’t create fresh content for your website? Large or small, I’m sure you want your business to grow, or at the very least, get noticed by potential customers.
Have you ever found yourself online, wondering, “How did I wind up on this website?” When you type words into a Google search (don’t feel bad Yahoo!, we know you’re important too … sort of), their programs pull up any website even remotely related to your search. You may not have been searching for a specific website, but you landed there anyway. Why? Because of organic search — you organically found a website or company without prior knowledge or specifically searching for that site. More people are likely to find your company online if you have those relevant keywords, phrases, photos and other content. It’s sort of like fishing with a net instead of a line and hook. Blogging is a pretty simple way to begin this process.
Don’t expect your website to explode with traffic right away. It’s normal for your efforts to take six to nine months before you notice any major differences. It can be tough to take or find high-quality photos to add to your website. It’s time-consuming to create grammatically correct, keyword-filled webpages that are easy for web users to find. However, if there’s one thing I know about the wastewater industry, it’s that no one gives up because something is hard. Apply that same type of grind-it-out attitude to SEO and you’ll be pulling in website visitor numbers that you never imagined. Even a small percentage of website visits to converted customers is better than none.
If you need help getting started, want to know how/what to communicate with your web developers, or want to take on the challenge yourself, check out some of these resources.
About the author: Joseph Hummel is the marketing manager for PolyPortables.