Why Online Businesses Have Gone Cold with Content Marketing and Social Media

(Scroll Down and Read is dedicated to discuss about the minute details of life in the hope that, in the end, the reader may find something that allows himself/herself to see an inspiring story hidden within the miseries human beings experience daily. Yours truly works in the field of SEO, social media, and web content marketing. So in this article, I am taking the pleasure of writing about the ordeal endured by many of my colleagues in the field.)

If you own a business and you want more exposure in order to get more sales, having an online presence via owning a website and creating and managing social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google Plus, et cetera) are inevitable tactics in an era when people converge as virtual communities in cyberspace. With the recent trends in SEO (search engine optimization) and the ever changing and improving Google search algorithm, webmasters and eCommerce managers cannot ignore the fact that Content is indeed the King. Dynamic websites with regularly updated and interestingly relevant content are IN, static websites with no regular updates and boring portfolio are OUT.

Yet, even with all the updates and trends, there are still online business owners who stubbornly insist on sticking to the old SEO ways of keyword manipulation and aggressive linkbuilding. They assert that their websites should contain only their business or company profile, descriptions of their products or services, and a few pages about their branches and affiliates. If they do practice blogging or news and press releases, they would rather publish it somewhere else but never on their website (backlinking).

SEO and Web Marketing Tactics

I have seen how SEO evolved from focusing mainly on keywords and relying on the number of inbound links placed on third party sites (not social media) to the new content driven strategy, reputation building, and community engagement (via social media). Some online business owners were left behind and chose to stay on the extinct stages of SEO evolution. In my encounters with such, I have taken note of the beliefs and reasons why they would rather avoid content marketing and social media engagement.

1. The fear of bounce rates


Ok, so maybe the website owner dabbled into writing a blog, publishing news, and posting updates and relevant content in his website. He also created social media profiles in Google Plus, Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter; he promoted the website's content in these platforms while building his community. To aggregate his website's visibility further, he also shared the content in Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Delicious, and in other social bookmarking and discovery sites.

Voila! As days go by, the website's traffic goes up - visits and pageviews. Yet, here is the thing: As the site traffic increases, so as its bounce rates! Because of this, he concludes that the website is just getting bad traffic and he degrades the quality of its visitors. Afterwards, he retreats from his strategy and rethinks things over.

There is a misconception about bounce rates. Some online business owners think that a bounce is a visitor who left the site at once - PERIOD - that definition is half-baked. A bounce is when a visitor visits your site and views only one page; he may read the content for an hour or so but if it is the only page he visited in that particular day, it will still be counted as a bounce. What we need to understand is that an increase in site visitors is mainly brought about by the increase of first time visitors, and first time visitors almost often amount to high bounces. Seldom do new comers go beyond the page they first landed on. The challenge here is for the content to be compelling enough to make them bookmark and remember the page, and convert them into returning visitors; because returning visits are the ones that contribute to your site's reputation and they normally will convert into leads and sales.

2. The one is to one ratio


In a sense, this belief is related to the fear of bounce rates. Some online business owners insist that any visitor coming to the site should convert into a lead or sale; if it does not, then it is bad traffic - it is worthless and should be thrown into the sea. Webmasters and web marketers know this is not going to be the case, not all visits will convert into leads or sales. Sometimes you will have 50 visits or more but only 1 to 3 will bring about conversion. So if the business owner believes that having more visits with less conversion is detrimental to his eCommerce, he will be inclined to put a halt the content effort and social media campaign. I have seen this happen because I know a web marketer who got fired because of this.

Again, I would go back to the concept that new or first time visitors usually do not bring about conversion. The challenge is to make your content compelling enough to make them remember your site and eventually return with the conversion you desire. Besides, traffic whether from new visits or returning visits build reputation and give signals to Google and search engines that your site is a highly visited website, affecting your search ranking performance.

3. The only performance indicator is the ranking in the SERP


SERP means Search Engine Results Page; it is the output whenever you type a keyword and hit the "Search" button of a search engine, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Online business owners who insist on this kind of belief usually take Google's SERP as vox Dei (or voice of God). They do not care how much they are getting from direct traffic, referral traffic, and social media traffic; they do not even care how much traffic their website is getting overall. What they want is to have their website on the top page of the SERP whenever their chosen keywords are typed and searched in Google.

They will go on to say to themselves and to their online marketers, "What more logical tactic to achieve this goal than focusing all our online marketing efforts in keyword research, manipulating them in our website[s], and building links with other websites that have keywords related to ours. Content strategy and social media engagement are nice to have but they are not SEO, because SEO is all about KEYWORDS."

Now, that is a very ill-advised online business strategy. With that said, we go on to the next one which is so related to Number 3.

Connecting to Customers Online

4. SEO, content marketing, and social media engagement are separate and contradicting strategies


Search engine optimization depends on your website's content and reputation. You build your site's reputation and community through social media engagement, and generating traffic from social media to your website depends on how interesting and relevant is your shared content. SEO then is the umbrella that covers your content marketing and social media efforts, and SEO depends on such efforts to make itself effective.

Yet, some web owners think that these 3 are different tactics and should be dealt with separately. This leads to the temptation to take priority on one over the other. "As of the moment, I want to focus mainly on SEO. Content marketing and social media can take the back burner for now," they would say to their online marketers.

5. Competitor (and even popular) websites with less content and without blogs perform well


If your only key performance indicator is your site's ranking in SERPs, then I would think that this is probably one of your reasons why you do not want a blog within your site and beef up your content strategy. You are probably obsessed with monitoring you competitors' ranking in Google's search results against your website's chosen keywords.

The thing about SERP is that it can differ depending on the timing, date, trending, location, and IP address of the searcher. If you and I type the same keyword, on separate locations, different timings, and distinct devices, the scenario of getting different search results is very likely. There maybe tools to help you monitor your competitors' rankings, and they are a big help, but constantly focusing on them is not healthy to your website's uniqueness and quality. Making your own unique yet high quality content with a push from social media is something that you can control without being stressed by competitor envy.

6. My ten year old son/daughter can manage a social media account


When an online business owner thinks social media as a trivial and childish activity, he/she is surely discouraged to pay someone whose only task is going to be reading, sharing, liking, and commenting on posts and shared content. This kind of boss feels that money is wasted on the salary of such employee because the latter's duty is so easy and effortless that a 10 year old child can manage it.

This thinking is probably laughable to most of us, but I tell you, I have met not a few managers who think in such a way about social media and social media campaign specialists. If money is indeed wasted on someone's salary, I am inclined to believe that it is on these bosses for failing to be updated and informed about the Internet and its community.

7. Products and/or services contain business secrets.


Some businesses may have products and/or services that are advertised with the least possible information and details; reasons can range from ethical standards to client-confidential agreements. In such a situation, divulging content such as stories and testimonies from satisfied customers may not be a viable strategy to the online marketing campaign. Thus, source material for you content strategy also becomes limited. Surely, your site's exposure and activity in social media will also be constrained. Some of these businesses may include those that deal with term paper writing for students, online betting, government servicing contracts, private detective and security services.

As a conclusion, it is understandable for online business owners to ensure that what they are getting at on their Internet marketing efforts are their targeted audience. They do not want randomly thrown messages which they think will not bring in their needed revenue (they are still businessmen, remember?). The challenge for web content marketers and social media campaign managers is for them to make a convincing presentation, and eventually the RESULTS, that their strategy is indeed intended to bring in the leads and the necessary ROI or return of investment.



Photo credits:

SEO and Web Marketing Tactics c/o KevinKing / Pixabay

Connecting to Customers Online c/o geralt / Pixabay

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