SEO, search engine optimization, is a great tool to bring traffic to your website. As a business owner and a free-lance designer, I understand the importance of showing up at the top of search engines, but truthfully, there is no guarantee that spending thousands of dollars in SEO will make that happen.
That's just the honest truth of it, and a truth that you will not hear from most companies promising SEO strategies that will put your organization at the top of the list. Here's why. Over the last few years, search engine companies (Google, msn, yahoo, Bing, etc) have been catering to advertising companies by ensuring that search engine results are based on the user's preference.
For example, when I search for “Yellow Polka Dot Dress” on my computer, it may pull up Macy's, eBay, and Kohl’s as the top three listing in the search engine results. That's because Google has already customized my search results based on what I am looking at online. If I search “Yellow Polka Dot Dress” from my lap top, it pulls up music lyrics, Glee, and other pop culture items concerning the tags yellow, polka dot, and dress. Again, it’s based on what I am already looking at.
That does not mean that SEO is not useful. It is. It will help the search engines find you but it cannot control how it lists you among other results. That being said, I can tell you the most useful and best investment of your time is social media. The more people are looking at your social media sites and commenting, sharing, and posting about it, the more visibility you will have online and that includes search engines.
Social media has ultimately changed the World Wide Web as we knew it. So what social media sites are going to give you the top visibility? That’s going to depend on the audience you are trying to reach. There’s no doubt that Facebook and Twitter are some of the most popular and highly utilized social media sites available, but there are others such as Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube that can also present opportunities to engage new customers and followers. Each site can be a great platform to post photos of products, ads, and promos.
Best of all, access to these sites are free, this is FREE advertising. How can you refuse that? Once you begin to build your social network, you can opt to purchase pay-per-click advertising for your organization. So my suggestion for anyone looking to build their online presence and their likelihood to appear in search results is to continue SEO strategies such as ad words, Meta tags, weekly blogs, and registering your site with each search engine, but more importantly, I think the social media and blogs are the true way to help SEO.
Don’t be afraid to get out there and start pushing your business all over social media. The more interaction you can build with followers, the more traffic you will have to your site, thus the better chance you have of being ranked among the top search results. Again, no promises you can have the #1 spot, but you will definitely see a difference.