52 Fridays is a year-long series for equestrian professionals and equine business owners and managers, with marketing and public relations information, ideas, tips, & resources shared here each Friday. New EMAIL blog subscribers receive a ’52 Fridays’ PDF when they sign up; existing subscribers and new RSS FEED & WORDPRESS subscribers can send a request for their own PDF here.
There are many things the average horsebiz can do on their own when it comes to marketing and promotion. But, while I often advocate DIY (do it yourself) strategies to stretch your marketing budget, I think when it comes to search engine optimization, or SEO, if you want your business to be found on the Internet it’s worth the money to hire a professional. The stakes are just too high, especially when most searchers simply don’t go beyond the first page or two of results (I know I don’t!).
Search Engine Basics
Chances are you’ve searched for something online using Google, Yahoo!, or Bing, but do you understand how search engines work and why keywords are important? If not, here’s a 3-minute video explanation about how search engines work from MyInternetTutor.com. After you watch it you’ll see why it’s important to understand, and use, the best keywords for your business.
Search engine algorhithms are closely guarded trade secrets, and how search engines search changes all the time, so keeping up on the latest developments can be an enormous time commitment. Did you know that last fall Google launched Google Instant, which anticipates what you’re searching for as you type and offers suggestions that could change a searcher’s inquiry in real time? What horse business owner or manager has time to re-learn the best SEO strategies every time there’s a new SEO development?
As for the most popular search engines, Google is of course the ‘big frog in the pond,’ but it’s interesting to see how other search engines have come and gone over the past few years.
Things That Affect Your SEO
I was at an equestrian new media meeting last weekend, and there were two SEO experts there from Web marketing consulting company SiteLogic to help the group better understand SEO.
According to Sheila and Jackie, if you’re writing your own content and managing your own website and social media, here are a few things that might be hurting your SEO results if not done correctly:
- Duplicate content: If your site has multiple pages with the same written text, the search engines don’t like it and can lower your rank. This also applies to the same content on multiple websites (e.g., syndicated content or when sites are re-using your content without authorization), or, for example, using manufacturer’s descriptions for products sold on your site instead of writing your own descriptions.
- Reciprocal link exchanges: Linking to high-quality sites that are complementary to yours can boost your SEO rank, but can you tell what sites will help you versus hurt you?
- Metadata: Search engines can’t ‘read’ images and videos, so filling in the ‘metadata’ sections in each image and video file with your keywords and links is important if you want those files to help improve your SEO rank.
The Bottom Line On SEO
Having a good SEO consultant as part of your marketing from the beginning is ideal, but they can help you retool and refine your efforts at any stage you’re in. As for how to find these experts…look at other successfully-ranked businesses, whether horse or otherwise, and ask them who guides their SEO. If they use an outside consultant, you might be able to get a bigger slice of the SEO pie by hiring that person or business for your own horsebiz.
Thanks to Sheila Miklos and SiteLogic, we’ll have a bonus coming soon! SiteLogic’s founder, Matt Bailey, has written a book titled Internet Marketing: An Hour A Day, a ‘start-to-finish guide to Internet marketing.’ The book has a March 29th release date, and we’ll be getting several copies to share. Subscribe to No Biz Like Horsebiz or come back in early April to find out how to get a copy.
Do you know of any good SEO consultants or resources? Share them by clicking on the Leave A Comment link below. See you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #11!
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