5 Online Marketing ‘Shortcuts’ That Will Actually Sabotage Your Success

5 Online Marketing ‘Shortcuts’ That Will Actually Sabotage Your Success

When it comes to marketing your business on the Internet, cutting corners can hurt your visibility and the impression you leave on potential customers.

Here are 5 marketing ‘shortcuts’ that will actually sabotage your success.

1. Using a free, plug-and-play website service.

Your website is the foundation of your digital presence.

Like any foundation, you want your website to be strong and sturdy, built with the best materials and the best technical know-how available. Something that reflects the quality of your brand, and is optimized for search engines.

Free, plug-and-play website services are the digital equivalent of lean-tos — hastily-built structures that provide your business with the bare minimum in form and function.

Don’t go for the “economy option”—hire a professional web design agency with a history of building high-quality websites that help businesses like yours grow.

2. Trying to keyword stuff.

Keyword stuffing (if you’ve never heard of keyword stuffing, here’s how Google defines it) is the internet’s quintessential “get-rich-quick” scheme.

Build a website —> Load it up with keywords people are searching for —> Climb to the top of search engine rankings

But keyword stuffing isn’t OK and hasn’t been OK for some time.

And search engines will punish you if you do it.

Algorithm updates like Hummingbird (Google), allow search engines to focus on semantic search (the language of Internet users’ queries beyond keywords), and on picking up content cues (like synonyms and related topics) to determine whether your website should rank highly in search.

And if you artificially stuff your website with keywords? Well, search engines like Google will push your website way down in the search engine results of your potential customers.

Use keywords, but use them naturally. Most of your focus should be on the creation of high-quality content that answers questions people are asking.

3. Copying content from other websites.

“Borrowing” content from other websites seems like a fast, easy way to get new ideas and new material for your website.

But in reality it’s a terrible idea that will damage your business’ visibility in search engines — Google, Bing, and other search engines reward websites that deliver unique, original content… not repurposed (stolen) content.

The more original your content (and the more relevant it is to someone’s search query), the higher your website will rank in search engine results.

Write, record, and create your own unique, high-quality content — don’t copy or mimic the work of others — and then paste that high-quality content all over your website.

4. Trying to lie about your location.

If you want your website and your company to appear as a “local business” in search engine results, you can’t just list your address as a P.O. box in the area you want to be seen as “local.”

Google and other search engines will punish you severely if you do this.

The only way to be seen as a “local business” in multiple areas in the eyes of a search engine is to classify your business as a “service-area business” and then list the cities, neighborhoods, and zip codes that you regularly service.

This is especially important if you own a business that doesn’t serve customers at your physical location (for example, a plumber doesn’t help customers at his office…he drives to the customer’s home).

When it comes to listing your business in an online directory, always follow the guidelines — use a “service-area business” classification combined with selected zip codes, towns, etc. to rank in “local business” search results.

5. Leaving cookie-cutter responses for customers.

People can spot a canned statement from a mile away, and when they see one, it makes them feel unimportant.

Yes, prefabricated responses to questions and comments online can save your business time, but at what cost?

If you don’t take the time to personalize your engagement online on platforms like Facebook and Yelp, you’ll leave people feeling like they’re just another number — that your business doesn’t care about them — which will send them into your competitors’ waiting arms.

Take the time to read as many comments and reviews as you can (all of them, if possible).

Then write custom responses that address each comment or review posted.

Whether you’re thanking a customer for a social media shout-out, or offering a solution for a negative customer service experience, a personalized response will deliver big results for your marketing in the long-term.