By Mary Dytyniak
Social media and search engine optimization have been the buzz words in business in 2010, says Dev Basu, President and CEO of Powered by Search.
Basu, along with panelists Krista LaRiviere, Co-Founder and CEO of gShift Labs and Roy Pereira, President and CEO of Shiny Ads were keynote speakers at the final Growing Your Business session of 2010: Search Engine Optimization and Social Marketing December 9 at the University of Toronto Mississauga Faculty Club.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is currently the leading online tool businesses use to recruit clients and customers on the web. Google accumulated an astounding 16.4 billion searches worldwide in the month of June 2010, according to Comstar.com, and it’s no wonder page ranking is on business moguls’ lips. But according to Basu, recognized as Canada’s foremost search optimization guru, basic page ranking techniques aren’t enough to drive traffic to a website. Although it is fast, scalable and easy to control, users don’t trust paid page rankings or top results, he says. And 90% of search users zone in on organic and local results.
While people love to buy, they don’t like being sold [to]. Essentially, [they] don’t trust an ad. That’s why people don’t click it,” he said.
Basu suggested that smaller businesses with tight budgets move their websites over to a free content management system such as WordPress, Expression Engine or Drupal to further optimize their sites. Building links and credibility so that suppliers, venders and local directories link back to a company’s website is an important step. So is ensuring that the site operates in a trusted domain and includes the essential components of a search engine friendly website: texts, links and images.
Krista LaRiviere and her company gShift, specializing in offering web presence optimization software, and aspire to make search engine optimization accessible to everyone.
“Our vision is to change the way people think of and perform organic search engine optimization. We want the entire world to be able to do their own organic search engine optimization. We want non-technical marketers to be able to do it and non-technical business people to be able to do it.”
Google Analytics is one solution. It’s a free tool many companies use to enhance search engine optimization. Google Analytics helps aggregate, track, manage and explain how a user’s website is being searched. One important component that businesses often overlook is key word selection. What clients type into search tool bars often does not match the key words businesses insert into their web pages. Tools such as Google Analytics and WordStream list what key words are being used by potential clients, explaining why a company’s page rank is lower than their competitors. Narrowing the choice of key words to indicate a unique product or service offered by a company, filters search users and increases clicks.
What about popular social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, boasting millions of users? Roy Pereira’s advertising technology company Shiny Ads relies on search engine optimization and social media to generate 90% of their inbound revenue. Pereira has moved on from using traditional marketing focused on micro websites and trade shows that he claims are no longer effective.
“Twitter is fantastic. It’s all text and it is all very searchable. It’s a great way to increase an awareness of what you’re up to as well as what your product is. Sending out a press release or [posting] the title of your press release on Twitter is alright, but it’s… a little spammy… [This] is so much more natural,” Pereira commented.
Tools such as Twitter reveal individual voices and personalities of those employees who represent a company, encouraging an open and honest relationship with potential clients, something that has now come to be expected in everyday business practice.
The Research Innovation Commercialization (RIC) Centre and the Ontario Center for Environmental Technology Advancement (OCETA) jointly host the 10-event series, which runs from September to June 2011. For a complete schedule visit riccentre.com.
Mary Dytyniak will be graduating from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Arts this June 2011. She is currently finishing her major in Professional Writing and a double minor in Classics and History. Mary has published works in the fields of non-fiction, creative, journalistic, research and corporate writing. She is currently pursuing a career in the magazine and publishing sector.
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