Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been a buzz term for almost a decade now. The most competitive brands worldwide swear by SEO and digital marketing more generally. That’s because they understand how to focus appropriately on best practices. Laura Lake at The Balance emphasized as much while describing how and why to market a small business. “Marketing is not an expense, it’s an investment,” explained Ms. Lake. “And it’s important to have a clear understanding of where to start.” The rest of her article highlighted everything from market research and consumer behavior to creating campaign budgets and targeted strategies.
Underestimating the strategic alignment between multiple marketing channels and diverse users can often spell disaster. In other words, customers rarely reward businesses that refuse to engage with them on their own terms, or at least reasonable terms. The key is being present at the right time in the most convenient way possible. The worst experiences, on the other hand, are frequently the most invasive, cumbersome, and confusing ones. We can use the online research process as an illustrative case-in-point.
Say, for instance, a startup or small business plans to launch an innovative service that addresses a widespread problem in the marketplace. Effectively marketing a new service is likely to have a major impact on its long-term success. Recognizing that fact means taking deliberate action well ahead of the anticipated launch. Most industry leaders would prescribe content development with a twist.
Clutch.co contributor, Brendan Hufford, is one such professional who suggested three approaches with proven results. Understanding the role of ‘dofollow’ and ‘nofollow’ backlinks was his very first takeaway. Those armed with that knowledge can then begin adding valuable commentary to relevant industry blogs and trade forums. The third and final recommendation has to do with crafting compelling meta descriptions for published content (i.e., making the content readable by Google bots). Suffice it to say that combining all three strategies is what produces the most promising outcomes. Of course, that also means significant time and money upfront.
Fortunately, startups and small businesses with limited resources no longer have to spearhead SEO and digital marketing initiatives alone. Those were the days of the past. The market is currently saturated with capable groups more than willing to partner with organizations for this exact purpose. Link Laboratory is a prime example. The company has years of accumulated experience and specializes in a wide variety of digital marketing activities. Forging healthy business partnerships with experts in the field can yield serious advantages, but that doesn’t make the prospect any less risky.
That’s why due diligence is so critical. Suresh Balasubramanian at VentureBeat shared some helpful tips when it comes to choosing potential partners. His guidance was intended primarily for fledgling upstarts, but that doesn’t make it any less informative. “To successfully forge partnerships, startups must look at the opportunity through a specific lens,” wrote Suresh. Finding ways to exchange mutually recognized value is the main objective, which is much easier said than done. Vendors without access to certain target segments might find exposure alone very appealing. In other words, identifying possible contributions is the first step to negotiating a sustainable business partnership.
Anyone searching for more data-driven options ought to consider the SEO partner selection guide released by Natalie Craigmile at Clutch.co. That survey suggested that many organizations base partnerships on established relationships and the attributes specific to each possible choices. Fewer than anticipated mentioned locality, past performance, or cultural fit. Thought leaders advised otherwise, however. According to a panel of industry practitioners, there are three main variables to evaluate when considering a potential partnership. The focus or specialization is first and foremost (i.e., what do they do?). Next comes examining any relevant past performance (i.e., how well do they do what they say?). Alignment between company attributes (i.e., culture/process) should be the final factor.
SEO has clearly become as much an art as a science. Only unwise businesses fail to recognize the importance of it at this point. The most prudent either attempt to master the practice alone or rely on external groups to help them pave the way. Readers should realize that what’s noted above isn’t exhaustive counsel, but rather a sound place to begin contemplating the whole endeavor.