Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How to Trump the Competition in Your Industry (And a Simple SEO Tip for Thrifty Website Owners)

The creation of a well-designed website with relevant and quality content can transform a traditional brick-and-mortar business's earning power. Unfortunately, many business owners create websites that ignite earnings and then quickly lose steam. Website owners might blame this misfortune on the changing economy or marketplace, or increased online competition. Of course, all of these factors can influence the earnings of an online business.

But why do certain websites in specific industries succeed while others fail? Many industry-specific websites, after all, look and feel similar. And many industry-specific websites have been optimized by SEO specialists to perform for a certain customer-base. If two optimized websites look and feel similar, and sell similar products to similar customers, shouldn't both enjoy an equal share of the online marketplace?

In theory, yes, both websites should perform equally well. But let's take a closer look at our two theoretical websites. Like snowflakes, no two websites are alike, and even the subtle differences can have a profound influence on website performance. Now, to the trained eye, the reasons for success or failure are quite evident. But for casual browsers, the difference might seem elusive. So what's going on?

In the experience of Alex Stepman, owner of Stepmans PC, and experienced organic SEO specialist, the number one reason optimized websites fail is that the website owner abandoned SEO after the website's launch. And websites that have abandoned SEO share a similar deficiency: over time, they have remained static while other websites in the same industry have evolved.

Now, this evolution can be subtle, but it is the benchmark of success. SO what does this evolution look like? Well, the very definition of "evolution" is "the gradual development of something", and we're not talking about titanic shifts. Rather, it's the small changes that make a big difference.

The best SEO specialists know this simple fact: a well-optimized website is a frequently-updated website. Search engine's algorithms place a precedence on new, relevant content. The consistent updating of a website's content is really the only way to maintain a competitive edge if you're competing in an industry-specific marketplace.

If your website is maintained by an SEO specialist, he or she will continually update your website's content. Keep in mind, content is not limited to the written word; it can include graphics, like a new "About Me" tab, or relevant product videos. Of course, though, relevant and well-written content is the cornerstone of a website's success. A good SEO specialist will ensure that your content is always fresh and relevant--and preferably written by a professional writer.

So what do you do if you do not have an SEO specialist. Well, I think you can guess our first suggestion. Call our sponsor, Alex Stepman, of Stepmans PC! Most business owners are simply too busy to perform the tedious work of organic SEO. Why not outsource this crucial aspect of your business?

However, if you do not have the budget for an SEO specialist right now, do not despair. You might not know how to change the look and feel of your website (the graphics and navigability) but you might have the capability to make exactly the type of small changes that can keep a website relevant: you can write a daily blog!

Most websites today are equipped with easy-to-use blog platform like WordPress (Blogger is often associated with stand-alone blogs). If you're a website owner, your daily blog might just be the easiest and most cost-effective way to optimize your website with relevant content. All you need is a good idea and a good writer (if you don't have one on staff, you can certainly hire a professional copywriter for a reasonable fee). Your blog does not have to be lengthy--the point is to update daily with fresh content.

And that's the point. To maintain a competitive edge, keep it fresh!