As an SEO for small businesses, I live a much different life than most search engine marketers.
Modern SEO is constantly changing, and the constant battle to understand and meet Google’s guidelines is an all-consuming occupation. In 2016, a new trend is appearing: Marketers like Neil Patel, Rand Fishkin, and many others, are focusing more and more on the importance of content over every other aspect in search engine optimization. While this new approach may work for businesses in the digital marketing world, it simply cannot be the focus for small businesses.
[qodef_blockquote text=”Content is king. But, what if you’re a plumber?” title_tag=”h3″ width=”100″]
Here’s why I think the complete focus on content is misguided. Marketers across the board agree that links are the number one ranking signal for search engine ranking. This is undisputed. Opinion about the way to obtain links, however, has rapidly changed. Now, the push is to earn links through creating and promoting great content (thus the push to focus on the importance of content over every other aspect of SEO). This sounds well and good, but it completely pushes out small businesses, and here’s why.
It’s Easy to Get Links if You Create Viral Content and Have a Big Budget
Earning links works when you are a massive company with automatic authority. Coca-Cola can create something that thousands of people will share, simply because it is from Coca-Cola (and, because it is likely fun/exciting/quality content, due to their massive budget). Viral content, or content that people will want to share, cannot be created by each and every business, due to two things:
1. Lack of Budget
2. Boring Industry
These two problems together create a roadblock for small businesses. Some business are considered to be boring in nature (insurance companies), but if they have a big budget, they can overcome this obstacle (Farmer’s Insurance, Geico, etc.). Alternatively, businesses with a small budget, but an exciting product means you can create fun, interesting content that will be shared, which will do well in the modern marketing world.
Boring + Lack of Budget: What’s a Business to Do?
But, what about the businesses that are considered to be boring, who also do not have an enormous budget? These are businesses that provide essential services we all need, businesses who need to rank well in order to get customers: Plumbers, electricians, lawyers, dentists, movers, contractors, optometrists, bail bondsman, locksmiths, painters, appraisers, lawn care, and many more. These are the small businesses who need to rank well to get customers, but don’t have in-house content writers, or the budget to hire them. Even if they did have a budget to hire outside content marketers, creating content is a problem for a couple reasons:
- It’s difficult to come up with exciting content for these types of businesses.
- No one reads or shares content that is created by these industries (when was the last time you shared a bail agent’s blog on bail bonds on Facebook?)
Thus, there is an entire group of businesses that cannot apply the modern SEO techniques the digital marketing world says you have to do to get ranked (i.e. avoid building links at all cost – earn them instead).
[qodef_blockquote text=”Modern SEO experts completely fail to speak to a large portion of business owners. ” title_tag=”h3″ width=”100″]
So, what are these businesses to do? Modern SEO experts completely fail to speak to this group of business owners. Their game plan of creating content, promoting it, reaching out for links, and waiting for the inks to roll in simply isn’t realistic for a plumber who needs to get ranked. And, plumbers who are ranked in the first three results definitely aren’t using these tactics.
The SEO most modern agencies provide simply doesn’t have an answer for small businesses. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer.
The SEO No One Talks About, but Everyone Does
SEO companies talk about inbound marketing and its impact on SEO. They talk about social media, creating excellent content, and many other tactics to get sites ranked. But, they don’t talk about what they really do to get to the top.
60% of the impact on your site’s rank is due to off-page factors. 60%. So, when marketers tell small business owners that they need to “create great content,” and then sit back and wait for links to roll in, they’re asking for you to leave to chance the biggest reason your site will be ranked in the top three search results. It’s a lie. It’s a lie, because everyone who is ranking well is doing their own link building. They’re just not talking about it. It’s simply the best way to get ranked.
Everyone (Who Knows Anything ) is Building Links
Everyone (who is ranking) builds their own links. With off-page factors having the biggest impact on a website’s rank, simply creating massive amounts of content will help – but it won’t get you to the top in a competitive market. Any SEO agency who says otherwise will not get you where you need to be, because they don’t understand that building high quality, relevant links is what fuels rank. Building links from high quality, relevant sources is the answer for the small business owner who operates a so-called “boring,” but very necessary service. It’s a way to get ranked without stressing over creating the next viral content, and worrying you won’t be able to create something good enough to get noticed and earn links.
Modern SEO’s say that you need to earn links through creating the best, most informed, highly creative content, but they get ranked by building links. Here at 4theweb, we focus on search engine ranking: We do everything that is needed to get your site to the top, which predominantly means building links, but also includes a wide variety of factors, including social media, great web design – and content.
Everyone builds links. It’s how you get to the top. We build links with an overarching goal in mind: making the web a better place and make our clients successful. This is what fuels our projects and strategies when we rank a client’s website. Our search engine ranking gets people to the top who deserve to be there – because they are offering the best service.