A business website needs to be at the centre of any marketing strategy these days. Offline marketing ought to direct prospects to your website so they can find out more and then contact you or buy from you directly from there.
Online marketing is naturally geared to do the same.
I got a call a few days ago from a company offering to help me do just this for my website (www.garethshackleton.co.uk), by selling me a search engine optimisation (SEO) package.
The salesman explained why I needed their services. He explained that most people click
through on organic search results rather than on pay per click results, so, he said, I needed my website to be on page 1 of search engine results for my most important keywords. Fair enough.
Then they showed me that my most important competitors were ranking much higher than my website on the organic searches. Next using www.majesticseo.com and www.opensiteexplorer.org they explained that this was because I needed more links to my website from other domains, which is how they could help me. Great sales pitch – I was hooked.
They offered to submit my site to 300 website directories, include 75 social bookmarks and submit three professionally written articles to 50 article directories. And all this would cost me only £1050 plus VAT. A bargain given other companies, they said, would charge me £400 per month for the same service…
Now, I realise SEO is important. I also realise that it is a constant effort to stay at the top of the rankings for given keywords because only one site can be there and the one who “shouts loudest” (throws most time or money at it) will be the one. And once you’re there someone else will try to get above you and so you need to throw more at it, and so on.
However, I’m not keen on playing this business arms race, so I decided to find out how difficult it was to do it myself. From scratch. As a complete novice.
So I took a blog post I had already written and made some modifications so it would stand alone as an article.
I then went hunting for a way to post this article on different web-sites to get the backlinks. Within an hour I came across www.submityourarticle.com which offers to submit a single article to 100 directories for $2. Sounds good, I thought.
So I went ahead, signed up and submitted my article. The process took about 30 minutes. That was the end of the work for me – www.submityourarticle.com did all the rest in the background.
Next I found a service, www.freewebsubmission.com, that submitted my website to 20 website directories. As the name suggests, this cost me nothing and included submission to Google, Bing and Alexa. It was an automation tool, but I did have to verify at least half of the submissions manually myself, which took me about an hour, but at least I knew it had happened.
So in total I spent about 4 hours and $2 to submit my website to 20 search engines and web directories and to submit one article to 100 article directories. As of now the amount of traffic to my website has gone up more than 10 fold and links to my website are starting to appear in the SEO diagnostic tools.
Having taken additional advice from Gary at www.virtuoso.uk.com and Mike at www.spotondesigns.co.uk who explained that a few good links from highly relevant websites are much better than hundreds of random links, I feel I’m on the right track.
I would normally advise business owners to leverage their time and therefore outsource this kind of work. But I would also advise that they outsource only if they understand the goal, can place a proper value on it and assess the quality of the results.
Now that I’ve done it once, I know that it is relatively easy to document the process and could pay £10 or so for an hour every week to get a couple of articles submitted to multiple sites by a freelancer. I’ve found a good source of freelancers for this kind of work is www.peopleperhour.com.
In the meantime, I’m going to continue doing my own article marketing based SEO using www.submityourarticle.com and manual entry to specific directories.
And so my advice to business owners wanting to improve their website’s SEO would be: write a few short articles and submit them to article directories. Check the results with Google Analytics and measurement of sales enquiries from your website. Then, if it’s working, outsource the whole article marketing to a freelancer on an hourly basis for a few pounds per week instead of 100s of pounds a month.