Many small business owners are reluctant to invest too much time and money into their websites. They simply don't see the value in it - that is of course, once you've passed the fact that they need to have one.

They invest in having a web development company develop a website and populate it with content and pictures, but many still don't ensure that they have search engine optimized their website on a regular basis or that they are updating content regularly that is relevant to their target audience.

It's easy to have a website - but not so easy to keep it up-to-date and relevant.
Why your website is dying

The emergence of content marketing has catapulted some companies to new heights, while others have fallen down in rankings at an alarming rate. If you didn't realize that 'content is king', you will find that if your major marketing investment is not rich in content, then your competitors will no longer just be 'nipping at your tail' but will overtake you in leaps and bounds.

Google has changed algorithms for search yet again, ensuring that not only content is critical to any search engine ranking, but currency of content and the integration of different content platforms such as video, rank highly.

Most small businesses are being inundated with festive season gatherings and finishing off work prior to the break, with little time spent on marketing except for sending out Christmas cards, gifts or hosting a Christmas event. The reason why marketing falls to the way-side is that people lose focus over this time of year. They are already thinking about what they will be doing for their break or what gifts need to be bought. Many suffer from too much fun at festive activities or enjoying either the sunshine or the cold weather - depending on where you live.

Like in an economic downturn, this time of year is a time where most of your competitors (if you focus on a b2b business environment) will not be investing in marketing outside events for the festive season. There lies the opportunity to get a heads up on marketing for 2013 and start engaging with your clients and prospects on activities for the new year.

Now is a good time to think about a few things:

1. What are your sales and marketing goals for 2013?

2. How is your business tracking on achieving these goals?

3. What marketing activities do you have in place for 2013? Are they still relevant or are there other new technologies that need to be added to the mix? i.e. Pinterest, MySpace

4. How will the economy influence buying decisions?

5.  How are you engaging with your clients and prospects and is this medium still relevant or are their ways to improve this?

6.  What is your content marketing strategy? 

High quality content is not enough for both Google and your prospects. A strategy around content and its ability to engage with your clients and prospects is paramount to ensuring that you survive this 'new age' of content driven marketing. If you think about the fact that 1 in 5 social media messages include links to content and according to Social Media Today, 52 percent of consumers say blogs have impacted their purchasing decisions - the writing is in fact on the wall, if you choose to ignore its relevance and importance to your overall marketing strategy.

Small business owners know that having a website is critical to their business - if for nothing else - to let people know that they are in fact in business. What many small businesses do is that they invest in getting a website developed, write copy for it and add a few pictures, but then leave it to the universe to get clients and prospects to visit. It is not enough to have your website address on your business card or on your emails. That in itself won't guarantee a visit let alone ensure that prospects come to your website and engage with your business, leaving with a good understanding of what you do and why they should buy from your business.

Another area that small businesses fail to invest in is search engine optimization. Maybe you had someone do this for you when you first developed your website but it isn't updated regularly. With algorithms changing on search engines, you will find that your website is falling down in ranking all of a sudden and disappearing into cyber space. 

Australians are the biggest users of social media, closely followed by the US. Displaying intuitive social-sharing buttons throughout your website is just a start to what you need to do. It's more about what content that you deliver and how relevant it is for visitors of your website to share it with others. Blogs, guides and social media postings are the most common forms of content marketing and are closely followed by audio and podcasts. They all encourage social sharing. 

In the past, owning a domain name has ensured that you 'own' a particular keyword. That has now changed. It is becoming more and more worthless. 

"Google changing exact-match domains is a win for those who invest in content marketing and those who are searching for relevant websites or blogs," Marketing Eye managing director Mellissah Smith said.

"Who wants to search a term only to be taken to a website that has no relevance?

"Trusted sources has also come up trumps for people searching Google and with video being indexed, it allows fresh information to rank highly and give visitors what they want to see and read."

As a small business owner, now is the time to have a look at your website and ensure that it is not only ranked highly on search engines, but it is also driving leads. 

As a rule of thumb, we check Google Analytics and Alexa rankings daily on our main websites. With competition growing each day and more and more companies realising the importance of content marketing and search engine optimisation - it's a big mistake to ignore the analytics that are available and free to all small business owners.

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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

3 comments

  • Anthony
    Anthony
    04/12/12

    Instead of remembering websites many people go straight to Google to find information or even to link to websites they regularly use. So it's very important to make sure your website is ranked highly on search engine results.

  • Maxine
    Maxine
    04/12/12

    Content is definitely key. Google Analytics is a vital tool to record which parts of the site get the most hits, and also essential in tracking activities on e-commerce websites. So, it is now accessible for companies to gauge what topics stimulate the most interest among their customers. The ranking of a site on Google's organic search database can be the difference between success and failure. The Google 'Panda' update was released in 2011 to lower rankings of low-quality websites lacking in terms of relevant content. Therefore, it is essential that internet marketers / business owners start to re-think and plan their websites; perhaps organizing a timeline for the gradual release of their content, and how they want to go about developing and managing content that is relevant to their users over the year. This will definitely affect their rankings on Google's organic search list (unpaid listings), and be a clear indicator to how they measure up to other competitors in terms of website performance.

  • Andrew McIntosh CPA
    Andrew McIntosh CPA
    04/12/12

    It's a good reminder. Content is absolutely King. Use of the internet is now the accepted source of primary research. The proliferation of mobile devices and the ease of social media sharing, now makes it even more critical to have fresh, relevant and engaging content for your target audience.

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