Teams Win in the Search Engine Game

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By Carl Weiss

REI's Internet Marketing Team: Twinkie Roast Day
REI's Internet Marketing Team: Twinkie Roast Day (Photo credit: jcolman)
I often use analogies when I talk about advertising and marketing. Words like war, battle, game and winning all come to mind. Like most Americans, I enjoy a good football game. The rules are well-defined. We have professional referees keeping the game honest and of course, you have the players and their performance that makes winning or losing happen. In contrast, the search engine game has unpublished rules, Google is the referee throwing hidden flags and there are lots of players are trying to cheat the system.

For those of you that watched the NFL Playoffs on Sunday, when it comes down to making or breaking a championship season, it all comes down to which team can implement their game plan the best.  When you boil it down, the Internet is also a game played on a local, national and sometimes worldwide playing field.  Like all games, there are winners and there are losers.  The winners are the fortunate few who can be found on page one of the major search engines.  The losers are those firms who are buried so deep that you need a backhoe to unearth their web presence.
With more than 300 million websites online and another 130,000 sites being added daily, is it any wonder that it’s getting harder and harder to generate online exposure?  The sad fact is that what used to take a couple of days to generate a page one search engine result, now takes four to six months, even if you are playing the game to win.  Of course, the problem with most businesses is that not only don’t they have a winning formula, they don’t even know how to get onto the playing field.  So, if you absolutely, positively need to devise a game plan that can enable you to work the web to win, you better get your game face on.

Is The Playing Field Level? Let’s look at The Google Search Stadium

Working the web is not a game for wimps.  It takes guts, determination, brains, brawn and staying power.  We’re not talking sandlot ball.  We’re talking the Super Bowl.  With millions of dollars at stake for the victors, this is the kind of no-holds-barred game that’s played on a worldwide basis and is a gold mine for those who know how to play to win.  Just to give you an idea of the scope of the World Wide Web, in 2012:

  • ·         More than ¾ of the world population was online.
  • ·         The US audience alone topped 239 million.
  • ·         Mobile users in the US topped 139 million.
  • ·         There were 106.7 million Smartphone users in the US.
  • ·         Some 72.8 million shoppers made purchases using mobile devices.
  • ·         83.9% of those online made at least 1 online purchase.
  • ·         Holiday eCommerce sales were 42.3 billion, up 14% from 2011.

Needless to say, big businesses dominate the Internet, chiefly due to the fact that they have the manpower and the means to saturation bomb the web.  They can afford to hire a legion of web designers, bloggers, social posters, Videographers and online PR specialists that make sure that their products, services and brands all have page one presence.  Seeing this, most small business owners think that there is no way that they can afford to compete with, much less best these corporate leviathans.  But what most don’t realize is that they don’t have to go head to head with multinational corporations, unless they are selling their products and services globally.  With the advent of geotargeting, the game isn’t played exclusively on a global basis.  If you are selling locally, there are a number of ways to generate front page online exposure that can create leads or sales. 

Do You need a Team to Win Today?

The TNC Digital Marketing Team: July 23, 2008
The TNC Digital Marketing Team: July 23, 2008 (Photo credit: jcolman)
Rule number one in playing to win online is, “Stop acting like it’s 1999!”  What I mean by that is this. The day of the set-it-and-forget-it web presence has come and gone.  If you expect to get on page one simply by sheer presence alone, you’ve got another thing coming.  First of all, where the search engine spiders go, so go web developers.  Sure, back in 1999, there were no such things as blogs, streaming video or social networks.  More importantly, everything a business needed to jump onto page one was present on-site, (in and on the pages).  Today, only 25% of what the spiders use to grade your site is on-site.  Fully 75% of that which makes you or breaks you online is off-site, (no on your website) .

The second make or break factor is frequency.  In other words, not only do the spiders look to see whether you are blogging and posting socially.  They are also grading you on the quality and frequency of your posts.  If you want to get into the game at all, you have to be willing to post a blog on at least a weekly basis and you need to post socially daily.  While this may seem like a lot of work, once you have developed the habit of posting regularly (or are willing to pay someone to do it for you), it only takes about two hours per week altogether.  If you aren’t willing to perform these tasks, then you aren’t even in the game.

Here Are Some Special Teams That can Make or Break Your Efforts!

Special Response Team of th US Mint Police
Special Response Team of th US Mint Police (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Even performing these tasks will not automatically rocket you onto page one.  Depending upon how much traffic and therefore demand is generated by the keywords you seek, it can take four months or more to generate page one performance.  Also let’s not forget the competition. If the key words you seek are highly contested, you and your team will have to work even harder to leapfrog the competition. Of course, just as with the NFL, the use of special teams can sometimes score all on their own.  In the case of the web, there are four ways to jump the queue and generate a page one result in 30-days or less.

1.      Pay-Per-Click – You can always buy your way into the game.  For a cost of anywhere from $1 to 25$ per click, you can generate a page one results literally overnight.  Before you reach for your credit card, you must realize that all you are going to generate for your money is a click.  Not a sign up or a sale. Also understand that pad ad’s only generate about 25% of all clicks and they are not trusted as much as organic positions on page one.
2.      YouTube – Since being acquired by Google in 2006, it has been possible for a properly optimized video to jump onto page one of the world’s most popular search engine. 
3.      Blogger  - Google is gaga for blogs. Just as with YouTube, Google also owns its own blog, Blogger.  This means that just as with YouTube, a properly optimized blog can quickly wind up on page one.
4.      Social Networks – Guess what, Google also owns a social network, named Google+.  While many pundits have claimed that G+ is little more than a virtual ghost town, Google shows that more than 100 million active users ply this network monthly.  More importantly, since this social net has the word Google right in the title, what do you think this means to the probability that a properly focused post can wind up on page one?

The Coach and Quarterback are Difference Makers 

Of course, just as Tom Brady found out on Sunday, you can’t win by yourself. You’re not going to be able to just get all the points all by yourself.  If you want to win the big game, you need a formula that can stand the test of time to get you through the entire season.  And you need a quarterback who can adapt on the field when what was working stops. Adapting to conditions and competition is critical. You also have to be better than the competition and hit them where they an’t.  

Today’s rules require that a company consistently and continuously provide relevant, timely and useful content. Google requires traffic generated by useful and meaningful information. You must provide meaningful social media post. Google wants to see relevant and useful blog articles that have comments on them. It wants, meaningful, educational and entertaining videos that engage followers. Content, content and more content is what Google wants to be fed. Google rewards companies that are rated positively by their customers. It demotes companies who get poor reviews. Honest efforts to provide meaningful content on a regular basis that is matched to relevant keyword will get you a first down every time. What it takes is a continuous effort to provide meaningful content on a regular basis that will eventually win the game. 

If you would like to find more articles like this type in your key phrase in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below.

Carl Weiss has been helping companies formulate and execute winning online strategies since 1995.  His company W Squared Media Group offers one stop shopping for all your online marketing needs.  You can also hear Carl’s online radio show, Working the Web to Win, on Blog Talk Radio every Tuesday at 4pm Eastern.  
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  1. Indeed, if we are planning to do anything online, if we are planning to get our business set up online, then its a team game.
    We cant cope up with the online challenges single handedly, so we need some professional dedicated team support to work for us and convert our dreams into reality.

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