In February 2011, Google made big news on the Internet by publishing an algorithm change for search engine relevancy. By and large this was designed to punish duplicate content farms that re-purpose the same written content over and over in different forms.
I’ve seen plenty of panicked content online about what this means to e-marketers and website developers, but little in the way of how small business owners can capitalize on the Google algorithm change.
Winners and Losers
There were plenty of losers that aggregate informational content that are now scrambling to learn what has happened and re-strategize ways to defeat the Google changes. There were winners too, whose keyword positioning has increased their relevance in the alpha-dominant world of Google. Take a look at the following portion of a spreadsheet, taken from wisetartupblog.com and originally compiled by Systrix:
This is only a partial snippet of an extensive table. What you need to focus on is the % win column. By way of comparison, article farm sites like ezinearticles.com posted negative percent losses exceeding 90%. The short of it? The bad actors according to Google got their a%#es kicked and the better, content rich sites like the sampling above benefit in SEO rank as a result.
What Does it Mean to Small Business?
Take a look at the social media sites that I ‘X’d’ on the chart. Why are these important to you?
Because as a small business CEO you can participate in those sites at literally no cost to you if you have the time to make a commitment to a social media strategy. To effectively capitalize on the use of these, you need to dedicate the time or assign or hire someone to do it. You need to include this social media strategy as a part of your overall marketing budget, even if it means reducing your traditional media like print or radio spots.
I’m going to ignore Facebook as the omnipotent monster that many businesses don’t know how to leverage yet. LinkedIn, a different animal. In my eBook on LinkedIn Optimization and videos with it I teach the ‘how’ of building a LinkedIn profile and working it. The table reinforces the fact that LinkedIn is becoming more relevant in the eyes of Google with a 15% increase in keyword dominance.
My advice to small business owners is this:
Put your profile on LinkedIn and that of your top company officers
Put up a company profile for your business on LinkedIn with all service listings
Assign someone to work relevant LinkedIn Groups
There’s plenty more you can do with video.
YouTube is also doing well under the new Google rules of the game. Not surprising, as Google owns YouTube. This re-demonstrates in spades what Google thinks of video content. Here are suggestions for you:
Get some quality video content on your website and social media pages. This does not have to cost a lot.
Use video instead of or in addition to words to promote changes in your company, new product releases, special events, spotlight employees, or company capabilities. Our Executive Video Interviews help small businesses do this, recording the owner and key officers on Skype. You can still use a webcam or handheld; you don’t need to hire a film crew or disrupt the business for a major shoot, but it just can’t suck.
Post your videos on YouTube on your own FREE channel. Let YouTube host your videos and embed them in your site. This gets the video on your site and takes advantage of the relationship between Google and YouTube, including the obvious SEO gains.
The world is changing for small business. You can ignore it or try to exploit it. Social media sites like Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn are all rising in popularity by an extraordinary degree and show no signs of diminishing. You can’t run your business based upon the whims of Google nor would I ever suggest it, but you can take advantage of what Google has done.
About The Guest Author: Karl Walinskas is CEO of Smart Company Growth, a business growth firm that helps small companies spark sales and control costs through innovation. He is author of the book Getting Connected Through Exceptional Leadership and been published in dozens of print and online media regarding small business practices and strategies. You can read his current musings at the Smart Blog for small business.
Very interesting and novel: so Google rewarded ‘YouTube, LinkedIn,’ – definitely see the synergies with social search issues. Beyond that the basic principles of SEO for one’s own site still apply: great keyword heavy TITLE tags, good content. Panda did not seem to hurt small business sites; just the content forms. I teach SEO online at jm-seo.org.