In the weeks since Google first unveiled its Penguin update, I have seen smart business owners turn into Chicken Little. They’ve ripped apart their home pages, designed new layouts, added new pages — all in hopes of recovering their lost rankings. Plenty of the “Good Guys” were hit hard by Penguin, and hopefully, Penguin 1.1 is the first of many tweaks that will get the “Good Guys” back on top.
Whether you were hit hard by Penguin or not, you’re probably now wondering what the next algorithm change will bring. What cute animal will it be named after? How will it affect your web traffic and sales? And how the heck do you brace for it?
There’s actually a very easy way to make your business Penguin-proof (or Panda-proof, or Anteater-proof, or Mongoose-proof).
Stop obsessing over Google.
Penguin is proof that just about anyone’s rankings can disappear overnight — whether they deserve it or not. Even if you got your rankings back this time, you may not be so lucky next time. That’s why you need to rely on other marketing outlets — ones that have nothing to do with Big G.
Sure, target some keywords, and include them in your articles, blog posts, and videos. You can certainly make Google a part of your marketing arsenal, without making it the only tool you rely on.
But… But… How is that possible? Isn’t Google the only way to “see and be seen”?
If you’re one of the many website owners who thinks that Google rankings are only slightly less important than oxygen, it’s time to step back and try to see the forest from deep inside the trees. There are plenty of ways to market your business without Google’s help.
In fact, here are 5 great ideas that your business can start working on today:
1. Article Marketing
No, I’m not talking about “blasting” poorly-spun articles to thousands of low-level directories all over the ‘net. That method is sooo 2005, and it’s become totally extinct thanks to Penguin’s buddy, Panda.
Instead, I’m talking about publishing high-quality articles and getting them syndicated on authority sites in your niche.
How do you do it?
Think about the websites you visit on a daily basis. Think about the email lists you subscribe to. Chances are their owners would jump at the chance to publish an article of yours that’s interesting, informative, and an overall good read for their audience.
Having trouble finding syndication outlets?
That’s where resources like the Directory of Ezines come in. As a member, you’ll get listings of ezines (different from garden-variety article directories) that are organized by niche. You’ll have access to publishers’ contact information and their number of subscribers. The DOE even has its own directory where you can publish articles, so that other members can find and syndicate them.
2. Tap Into the Power of Guest Blogging
Bloggers are a hard-working bunch. If you can provide them a post that’s insightful and compelling, they’ll likely jump at the chance to give their fingers a rest for a day! In exchange for your guest post, you’ll get to be front-and-center in front of their audience — and a short bio at the bottom that’s similar to a resource box. All you have to do is wow people with your guest post, and you could wind up with a ton of new, loyal readers on your blog!
Not sure how to find guest blogging opportunities?
3. Lean More on Your Email List
Why not turn those old customers into repeat buyers? If you’re not taking full advantage of your email list, it’s time to start. But, remember, great email newsletters don’t just send out sales pitches. Instead, they’re designed to build a relationship with your subscribers. By sharing new developments and interesting finds, you’ll be at the forefront of your subscribers’ minds — and they’ll remember to tell other people about you.
4. Connect With Other People
No, this isn’t the same ol’ “find forums in your niche and post there” advice. Instead, use your time wisely by becoming a bonafide expert.
Question and answer sites like All Experts are always looking for new experts to volunteer some time. On All Experts, there are dozens of different categories that need experts. Plus, all of your answers will feature a “signature” where you can insert your link, so that readers can head to your website if they want to learn more.
5. Behold the Power of Word-Of-Mouth Advertising
The more you make the rounds, the more people are going to be talking about you. And if people are talking about you, that’s way more valuable than your Google ranking.
Don’t believe me?
Sara Blakely, the creator of Spanx, turned $5,000 worth of capital into a billíon dollar mega-business. When she first started, she didn’t have any money to advertise — so she relied on word-of-mouth advertising. All of that talking was so successful that the company still doesn’t advertise today!
How can you make sure that people talk about you?
Think about things from your target audience’s perspective. Come up with clever ways to answer their questions and solve their problems. Prove to them that you understand their problems. Become an expert in your niche. Add a “human touch” to your blog posts, newsletters, articles, Tweets, and Facebook statuses, so that people see you as a real person and not just some corporate entity.
Remember, your target audience is the one who really makes or breaks your bottom line — not the spiders over at Google. If you can develop an arsenal of marketing weapons, you’ll be able to consider any search engine traffic you get to be a bonus. That way, instead of obsessing over the latest Google update, you can focus on ways to build a stronger business!