How do you promote your website? Do you spend tons of money on Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Is it still working for you, and is it worth the expense? If you don’t use SEO to promote your website, how else can you get the recognition that you as a business owner need to promote and expand your business?

Most business owners build a website as a way to have a presence on the Internet. We’ve heard how this can be a great tool to generate new business, schedule service calls, and put a personality on the business. Eventually someone whispers SEO and it’s like a siren’s call, suddenly you have to have it. You don’t quite know what it is but now you need it because you are missing out on your piece of fame and fortune.

Ten years ago, SEO was practically brand new. All you had to do was invest some money with a whiz kid and he or she could magically make traffic flow to your website automatically. Nobody really knew what it was but it worked and everybody that could afford it wanted it. Back then, it was easy to drive traffic to websites. The more links you had pointing to your website, and the more links you had from your website pointing to other sites practically guaranteed you an endless flow of eyeballs to your site.

As the game evolved companies wanted to know if they were getting a return on investment, so SEO companies started to turn to analytics and tracked things such as page views, hits, visits, bounce rates, unique visits, and length of time on page. Then Google started changing the rules making it tougher for people to get good organic placement and the numbers went down, so companies started investing in Google Adwords to buy top of page placement, which was exactly what Google wanted.

Over the last couple of years, Google has made it harder for companies to cheat the system. Today content and relevancy are king. If your website is about duct cleaning then your content has to match what you say. If you have too many back links (links to other websites that don’t have relevant content), it can actually hurt your website now. Google changes its algorithm every couple of months making black hat techniques ineffective and costly because if your SEO person is using them you could find your website blacklisted by Google and other search engines.

Strategy is important for the success of anything that you do and if you want your website to provide the best return on investment, it’s important to plan the purpose, flow, and content of your website, to make it a selling machine that supports your company goals. Keywords are important but not as much as they once were. If you include keywords in your Meta tags then make sure that you use them in your content for the page to get the best results.

If you are still spending money on SEO, you might want to consider reinvesting that money somewhere else. Today, strong relevant content is so important, paying for SEO services doesn’t provide the return on investment that it once did. If you have a page on gas furnaces, invest in the best content you or your web consultant can write because it’s very important to your visibility. Don’t include information on other topics there because it throws of your relevancy.

Pure marketing extends throughout your entire organization and you have no better place to start planning strategy than the very place where people first meet you – your website. Look at your website with a discerning eye and provide the kind of content that will make people stay and read your website. Give it a personality and make it easy for your potential customers to navigate.

Tie your website address into your Google + Local Business page and link videos from your YouTube page so Google can give you a higher search index rating. It will get you more visibility and it’s cheaper in the end than paying for SEO. Place ads on appropriate sites, like the Better Business Bureau, and Chamber of Commerce sites, if your local entities allow it to make your company more visible online with quality sites.

Don’t forget to tie your Google + business page back to content that you provide on your blog to help the search engine index it quickly, as this will help boost your visibility in Google’s rankings. Since Google is the key to online visibility, it’s important to use all the tools that Google provides. Is SEO a dead end? Today it doesn’t provide the ROI that it once did so if you have a limited budget; you could better serve your goals by investing that money in other areas of your business.

My website contains links to all the marketing articles I’ve written for the HVAC-Talk Newsletter. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of my new book, Navigating the Marketing Maze, click here. If you need a branding consultation, a complete strategic marketing plan, or help with marketing services, call or send an email to discuss your needs.

Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, and social media strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping companies deliver their message in an ever increasingly crowded market by helping HVAC dealers more effectively market their businesses without breaking their budgets. Contact him at 260-338-4554, or visit the Fracica Enterprises, Inc. website.