How to Break Up with the Search Engines

Breaking up with search engines may sound strange coming from an internet and SEO consultant. Business marketers have become so dependent on the search engines to deliver visitors and sales, that it seems silly to even think about reducing dependency on streams of website visitors that search engines provide.  Competition for search engine placement drives increased investment and is attracting an ever greater share of dwindling marketing budgets. And should the visitor stream provided by Google, Yahoo! and Bing suddenly evaporate, what state would your organization be in?

Over-dependency on search engine visitors is a problem in many companies. Investing in link building schemes and hastily assembled content marketing efforts developed for the purpose of maintaining search engine rank can wind up working against the organization. As the search engines become more able to  distinguish quality content and recognize valuable links, companies in the throes of intense competition may be sowing the seeds of their own declining rankings by over-investing in these efforts at the expense of other tasks.

Google brand image

As marketers assemble plans for the upcoming year, a more balanced approach to internet marketing and a focus on building a more engaging user experience for website visitors can not only reduce unhealthy dependence on search traffic but can wind up improving search engine placement.

The Benefit of Raw Traffic

People need to visit the company website in order for the search engines to be able to judge whether or not the content is valuable. No visitors means no search strength. So the real question for may companies is not how to cause the search engines to deliver more visitors, it is simply how to attract more visitors regardless of source. This opens up a variety of additional options for building search strength and attracting readers.

Improving the Visitor Experience

Prior to jumping headlong into a social outreach, PPC or other marketing effort, careful consideration needs to be given to the user experience once a visitor arrives at the company website. The search engines ‘see all’ meaning that time on page, bounce rate and reader behavior once on the website are all clearly visible to the search engines. These factors are considered by the algorithms and are used in calculating the value of the page relative to what the company says the page is about. If a particular page’s metadata and on-page factors communicate that a page is about Doggy Dodgeball, the search engines will evaluate reader behavior to judge whether or not readers looking for information on Doggy Dodgeball received the information they sought.

Making a page more ‘consumable’ simply means making it more valuable. Are there unique bits of information within the text? Is the content interesting enough for readers to share with others on social media? Making every effort to create a website page with readable content that is both valuable and interesting is the core objective to creating the kind of visitor experience that will keep readers on the site, attract return visitors and ultimately, improve search engine placement.

Outreach via Controllable Channels

Many new businesses with young websites initiate a balanced approach to search engine and internet marketing because their sites have little initial strength. Direct outreach through email campaigns, social media engagement and event marketing can attract visitors to the company web page and over time search placement is improved and web strength built. Unfortunately, once good SERP placement is achieved,many companies withdraw from some of these more time consuming efforts and seek to maintain their stream of visitors mainly from search engine referrals. This creates that unhealthy dependency that over time, lures organizations away from a balanced marketing approach.

Companies that currently enjoy good search engine placement and high volumes of website visitors should not take these streams of traffic for granted. By balancing their marketing efforts with more controllable and creative outreach efforts, the company can attract visitors from multiple sources. And should Google or any of the search providers suddenly decide that they don’t like some of the strategies used in the past to pump up SERP placement, the organization will still have the ability to attract the visitors it needs to survive. In the end, search engine dependency is a high-risk business strategy. It can all change very quickly and for no apparent reason.

Breaking up with the search engines by undertaking controllable outreach marketing- and reducing dependency on search  – makes it a more healthy relationship between business and search provider and ensures that any sudden changes in search engine placements won’t be disastrous.

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