Back in the 80’s and 90’s, if you wanted your business to be found, you had to be in the Yellow Pages (for any kids reading, the Yellow Pages is a large book that had everyone’s phone number in it – like someone printed out part of the internet for you). You had the option of buying nice, large ads to get more attention but the idea that you’d allow your business to be unlisted was ridiculous.
If you weren’t in there, you didn’t exist.
Then the internet and search engines came along and upset the apple cart. Now businesses’ sites were judged on their merit and not how much they paid to the big yellow book. The promise of the internet was that the process was free both in terms of cost and in the free-market sense where the best businesses rose to the top on their own merit.
Yeah… it’s not going great.
First, some history: When search engines (or New Yellow Pages) started, they relied on bits of code called “Meta Tags” to tell them what Site X was about. You or a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert could set up a site for your store and search engines would be able to test users’ searches against the words you provided in the code and come up with accurate results. It worked on the honor system and any keywords you provided would affect search engines’ results.
This, of course, lead to abuse and at least one funny joke:
How many SEO experts does it take to screw in a lightbulb, light, bulb, florescent, lamp, lighting, neon, buy, switch, sex, porn
Website makers just started spamming whatever popular search term they could come up with resulting in an unusable internet. The good news is that search engines innovated (and keep innovating) to make their results as useful as possible. The most popular way they do that today is…
The more social activity your site gets, the more pertinent your site looks to search engines. The good news is that it results is very accurate results. Bad news is that if you’re not using social media well, your site will be buried by any competitor who does.
This has been happening for years. The infographic below is from 2013 and shows that, aside from other sites linking to yours, no other SEO factor comes close to the impact social media has on your site’s rankings:
You may be in the printing business or have a lightbulb store or a restaurant or just write a blog, but if your business depends on driving traffic to your site, you are in the social media business.
It’s a shame that back in the day you could just pay the Yellow Pages and go about your business and now there’s a whole new set of responsibilities you need to take on, but you can take a few steps to make sure you don’t get too tied up:
- Use a social media management app (like Hootsuite, Buffer, or TweetDeck)
- Link social media accounts to cross-post content (like sending tweets to Facebook and/or vice versa)
- Schedule recurring calendar alerts to remind you to post
- Tag and engage with clients to extend your social reach
So, usually I end these articles with a pitch for a service we offer that can help you out, but we don’t offer social media management. If you’re looking for a company that does, we can refer you, but we’ve never seen great results come from pushing those responsibilities off on a third party. Customers can tell when a business is being inauthentic and it drives them away.
On the other hand, if you need help setting up and linking social media accounts, integrating social content with your website, or just need some technical help to get you on your feet, we’re here for you. Just hit us up on the Contact page and we’ll get back to you ASAP.