In a war of words and growing concern by small businesses about their place on the internet search giant, Google, 60 Minutes latest report gives pause as accusations fly over their control of the internet–and favoring businesses they control.
It’s not the first time Google has come up in anti-trust charges by Congress of being too big to fairly allow competition with small businesses they don’t control. The staggering amount of businesses they own (like YouTube, Android, etc) provides leveraging lobbying representation in Congress to virtually provide nothing to happen.
In order to get first page exposure in a Google search of business–virtually all businesses are forced to pay-to-play in the online game.
This illustrates the importance of an online presence for every business to be seen as a “real” business, since nobody goes to page 4 of listings to do business with those companies listed (according to Yelp CEO during interview).
In spite of these concerns, is there anything a small business can do to level the playing field at this time?
In addition to possibly buying online ads–the ONE THING all businesses have control over is their online image (website), presence (social media posting) and content (blog posts)!
Each of these elements are measured for relevant content for Google’s search users–and their stated goal is to provide the best user experience they can.
Thus, providing your prospects with the best relevant content about your business (which is great anyway) can increase your rankings and listings with Google’s platform (ideally).
This is why an on-going investment in rich media content (which is favored by Google, Facebook, etc, such as video’s and podcasts) should be a part of every business marketing plan since you create it, own it and share it!
The above shows a partial first page search listing of my consultancy using video podcasts as content on my blog and multiple platform exposure.
Today’s Digital Marketing Update
In today’s On Demand Advertising Solutions, Digital Marketing Update Video Podcast #95, host John D. Verlin discusses Getting A First Page Listing In Spite of “60 Minutes” Google Interview About Control Of The Internet.
(To read closed-caption transcription, please click on the “gear” icon, then turn on “CC” in the above Youtube player)
Key Podcast Take Aways
The fact remains that every business has a responsibility to control their marketing plan and figure the best way affordable to get new customers and prospects.
Platforms and media may change–but “owned and created content” is timeless.
From the first cave painting in France to today’s blog posts–content has always been King, and should be invested in and promoted.
Businesses need to quit fighting the weekly blog post idea and embrace it with the rest of their marketing efforts (it’s not too slow–it shows to online visitors through paid advertising that you’re consistent and relevant to their interests)!
Once content (ideally in the form of rich media–as Google and Facebook favor them) is created–it can constantly be promoted via social media, email marketing, digital marketing, etc.
Don’t fear the beast–feed it!
Facebook possibly working on new platform to link business owners with content creators for targeted prospects engaged in said content/influencer (thus the importance of good content).
Need a 15-minute podcast, male voice narration for video, voice impersonation or weekly social media post creation/promotion?
While most small businesses and professionals may be seeking local customers and clients, when it comes to marketing your business–image matters, particularly when it comes the a local search.
As we’ve noted in earlier podcasts, this shift of prospects moving to online searches and reviews makes brand perception more critical in the race against the competition.
As noted earlier, over half of small businesses fail to have a website and many don’t even have a Facebook business page.
This lack of online “real estate” can pack a punch in a prospects opinion of the business before they even engage you.
Podcast #27 discusses ways content can build out this important real estate for your business, whether through Facebook business pages, Google My Business, Google Posts, YP.com platform, local chamber of commerce pages, Linkedin business pages, Youtube, blogs, etc.
After five months of launching a website and beginning podcast/video content–the pic below shows how we “owned” the first page of our business search listing–out of 4,330,000 listings.
If your local prospects were to search your business, how would it “look” in the listings? This is important because it is part of your branding and marketing platform.
Getting ownership of this page is just the beginning. Consistent and relentless promotion must continue to occur outside of searches to direct prospects to your blog content, which in turn a percentage will check out your website.
It’s all a part of our three-part strategy to drive SEO and web traffic and make your business exceed the profile and exposure of your competitors.
I hope you’re having a great week. I was talking to gentleman who owns a digital marketing business this past week. We confer every week or so. He shares with me things about his clients.
He was telling me, he said it’s funny, but I have the same kinds of issues you have had, as far as people you talk to and how a lot of them are having a hard time understanding online presence. The need to have social media involved and things like that.
According to some recent surveys it seems that more and more businesses are realizing the importance of this. It’s a slow process. As we were talking I kept thinking, ok, let’s walk through this.
Let’s say you’ve got a business. You’re a small business owner or a professional. You’re trying to get referrals for new customers or prospects.
So you join a chamber, all right. You go to the chamber meeting. You might meet a few people. Give out a business card or two. Let’s say you meet somebody.
And maybe they are an accountant. And you might need accounting services someday. So you exchange business cards.
You go back to your office, and you’re kind of curious. The guys got what looks like a website. So you Google and search most likely I would imagine the name of that business.
And then, a few links pop up perhaps. You click one of them on, and it’s kind of a partial website you’re going to. The first impression you had of this person is at the chamber meeting. Probably noticed their dress but the business card. The image. Is it cheap? Does it look good? Do they look good? Are they sloppy?
These are all first impressions and that’s usually the first thing in direct contact like that. Now the second impression, you’re going online and you’re not finding a whole lot. And then when you do click through, broken links, not a lot of stuff, content on the website.
And you’re thinking this guy is an accountant, he ought to be good. But now, you have had several different impressions that have been formed, before you even call him.
This is what I call part of the marketing platform. It is the brand perception that is formed online even after you meet someone.
Because we no longer just get in the car and drive over to the office. We do research before we do things and over fifty percent use smartphones.
So doesn’t it make sense you’ve got to have some presence on the web. And yet I’m surprised how many professionals may have a blog post, a little blog and that’s it. You’re an attorney or whatever and you don’t have a proper online presence.
And this is like a comparision here. Let’s say you have a store. And you decide that you’ve got enough customers, I’m not going to fix up the display window. I’m just going to leave it open.Or just through a ladder in there or something.
You’re not too concerned about the image of the business or walk-in traffic, because you’re got enough traffic from direct mailers.
Would you take that approach to it? No, you’ve put some money into this. I highly doubt that you would not be concerned about your storefront and your display window.
Because you want more customers to be induced to come in and do business with you right? So this is the comparision I’m making to this online importance of the marketing platform, because this is where people are going to process and check people out. And seeing things and making decisions even before they even call you.
So I’m calling today’s podcast, 4 Reasons Why Content Will Allow You To Own the First Page of Google Search In Your Business. And this again is image.
Not to mention the content that might be there but the fact that the first thing that people see when they type in the name of your business, what’s going to come up?
Now typically, and there are a lot of people who buy links or paid links or ads, the first two or three might be another entity. And then you might have some show up.
So, here’s why this is so important to have content as a part of your blog and website. The content is going to give people a reason to visit your blog.We’ll, I don’t have a blog. I don’t have much content. Well you can now give people a reason to visit your blog to go to.
The content is searchable on Bing and Google and it will rank your blogpost higher and your website higher in searches. The more content you have, Google likes that and they’re going to rank you higher.
And by creating this content and owning that first page of searches—for example, there are businesses I’ve looked up in my hometown and they’ll have a Facebook business page, they might have a five star review which looks great—and that’s all wonderful.
Clicking on some of the links like a Yelp link show up. This can all come about to and one thing we stress is to have a Facebook business page, a Linkedin business page, every busniess page—a chamber association business page. Those business pages will rank because they’re already associated with Facebook, Linkedin or the chamber.
They’ll rank your name or business higher because they already have a platform established. So these are all things besides your website and blog that you should be involved in. And this is what I call the marketing platform. All of the different platforms, audio platforms for podcasts is a separate platform that’s going to rank you also.
So if you’re listening to this, you can see on this blogpost the first page rankings on my business I started five months ago. I started posting podcast content, video podcast content on Youtube. You’re going to see a Podimatic podcast platform I use for mp3’s only.
And these are all links, you can see some of the video links on Youtube. And that’s after five months. Launched the website five months ago.
You type the name of the business in and this is what people are going to see. Google My Business—all of these platforms because I’ve been doing it and promoting it on a regular basi, every day in five months.
Now there are some businesses I’ve searched in my local community. They have quite a few links. But from an image branding perspective. They’re ok. I’m not excited.
But when you have video content, audio content, you’ll see what I’m talking about if you’re looking right now at the Google My Business.
It makes a branding image difference. Nothing wrong with a lot of links and great reviews, that’s perfect. But when you add content to that mix, it rounds out the impressions is what I’m getting at—and your solid.
This is why it’s so mportant, whether you’re an accountant, or whatever—well I don’t need to have…
But these are impressions. This is marketing. This is…you know, you’re not H & R Block. You don’t have a huge brand presence. And this will help build that is what I’m getting at.
So these are four reasons why content will create a first page search brand impression that you can be proud of and you’re constantly adding to it to increase that impression.
Now, when they click through to those links and they listen to your video podcast and they hear the content—and read it and see the videos you’ve got on there—now they’re getting to know you.
Does this make sense? This is why the marketing platform is so important to get new business and supercharged and turbocharged referrals.
Because now, you’ve checked out this accountant, and seen all the stuff he’s got on there. Maybe he’s got all of these different things there, but now your impressed with him from day one. But now you’ve seen all of the stuff he’s got on there.
It adds a ton of credibility to someone you very well may want to do business with as opposed to a competitor.
The flip side of that is you go and search this person and other accounting firms come up locally—and they have more content and more brand image web real estate so to speak.
Suddenly you’re well…I might want to check these other people out.
See how that works?
It’s no different than a storefront really. It is your storefront. It’s your online storefront but it goes deeper than that because of all of the content to highlight your expertise and credibility.
And we didn’t have this twenty years ago. The capability to show off our capability.
But now they can do it and they are doing it and making judgments, comments on social media one way or the other.
And that you have no control over unless you answer some of those comments and you’re on that platform.
So, those are the four reaons it pays to have content. It pays to promote yourself through social media. And yes, have a credible website, with a blog all tied together.
Because you’re spending money on marketing and advertising or whatever else. And they get to that point from the radio or tv or magazine ads you’re spending money on. And they do some checking on you.
Background checking, research and they’re not impressed. You may have wasted all of that money.
Or at least an opportunity.
You’re going to give people a reason to visit your blog with content, the content is going to be searchable and rank you higher in the search engines they use.
It’s going to allow your first page search with eight or nine different links with content on them that look really good from a brand impression standpoint, and the content engagement standpoint when they click on it and go to it and check it out.
And it’s going to enhance and entertain those people who check it out. And it they like the content, they can forward to people they know.
And you’ve just expanded your influence to unknow people by having that content.