It's been said that no change is permanent - except for change itself.
If you've been paying attention to what Google's been up to the past 18 months or so (or just watching the number of visitors to your website closely) chances are that you've also noticed the consequences of these changes; that businesses are losing leads and customers due to diminishing organic traffic from the big G.
Losing leads and customers from Google Updates
Crunching the numbers at Moz.com, Google has made 69 updates from 2011 until August 2013 vs. 14 updates from 2008 to 2010.
Many of these changes mean that standard SEO practices from a few years ago could now hurt your search rankings. If your website is older than 16 months, chances are it needs to be optimized (or re-optimized) to meet the minimum viable standards for 2013.
Marketing your business online is a great opportunity; having the ability to potentially sell your goods and services around the world (or in your backyard) 24/7/365 still fires me up. The downside is that things change at a speed that is beyond just about anything in the offline business world.
Believe me, I share your frustration over having to revisit and reinvest in digital marketing for your business. I recently read a great post by Gary Vaynerchuk who also talks about the increasing commitment required by the evolving online marketplace in order to stand out from all of the other noise out there. Let me summarize it for those who are already too busy to read another blog post:
Marketing your business takes effort. Pithy but true.
Gary was referring specifically to social media in his article, but it applies just as well to all forms of marketing.
You can either put in the effort upfront by creating a website that is as 'future proof ' as possible with remarkable content that is a perfect match for your ideal customers...
...or you can go the 'easy route' by having a site that works for now that will need to be 'fixed' every other month and risk losing leads and customers in the meantime.
How to future proof your website
- Create interesting, engaging and remarkable content that solves problems
- Consistently post it on your site
- Share it via social media
- Build multiple streams of traffic
- Establish metrics (i.e. number of subscribers, number of sales, number of quote requests) that you can track that indicate whether the actions you're taking are "paying off" or not. Use this data to do more of what's working for your business and less of what isn't.
By creating content, you're creating more opportunities to be found by your potential customers. You're not trying to 'trick' Google into sending you free traffic any more than you attempt to "trick" your customers into buying from you.
You offer value to your customers to get the sale, and if you offer valuable information to Google you'll be rewarded with more traffic.
In the meantime, you're creating digital assets (all that content that you're creating) that can be used to increase your digital footprint and send you traffic from sources other than Google.
This way, even if Google were to completely change over night and not send you any more free traffic, you will have some alternatives to lean on while you adjust to the new digital landscape.
No matter which choice you make, there will be effort involved. You can either pay in advance by creating remarkable content, or you can pay a higher price by having to retool constantly to keep up with the 2.09/month changes on average that Google's been making between 2011 and now.
If you're going to expend the effort anyway, applying an inbound content marketing strategy is a wiser approach for businesses that want to stick around for the long haul.