Don’t forget the B roads when mapping out your Online Marketing campaign

I want you to imagine for a second that you are the Mayor of a small town. Having been newly elected you promised in your manifesto to bring in new visitors to increase the prosperity and size of the town.  This is not an easy task though as you are situated in the middle of nowhere.

One of the many frustrating things is that you know personally how much the town has to offer.  The beautifully scenic park and surrounding scenery, the quant old church yard and the vibrant shopping district with its colourful variety of products and friendly welcome would be a perfect place for anyone to visit.  Even worse is the fact that a few miles outside the town there is a major highway, but the endless stream of traffic just keeps rumbling past.

So how do you let the outside world know you are there?  You decide that the best way forward is a marketing campaign and this is where we can draw some interesting parallels between real life and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

First you decide that a good place to start would be to visit all the other towns along the highway and see what they were doing to attract visitors (Competitor analysis).  Then after taking into consideration how they did things you put up lots of brown signs in the run up to the junctions of the highway letting people know what the best attractions of the town are (Keywords).

Then to accommodate all the extra traffic and make sure that people stayed in the town you build a new, free, car park in the middle of the shopping centre (landing page) with smaller signs telling people where to find things within the town (tags and internal links).  Then when all this is done you can sit back and enjoy the sight of all those extra visitors coming in and making all your local constituents more prosperous.

But then you notice a problem.  Some of the cars on the highway are still speeding past the signs and visiting some of the other towns along their route, leaving your shiny new car park half empty.  Also, the highway only runs along the south and east, what about all the settlements and travellers to the west and north.

Unfortunately this is where a lot of internet marketers get a little stuck and don’t realise that their website doesn’t have to solely rely on the main highway to bring traffic to their site.  There are many other routes into a website other than the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s).  Lots of little ‘b’ roads if only they would acknowledge their importance and understand how to utilise them more.

Off site marketing is becoming an increasingly important way to direct relevant traffic to your web site and should be taken extremely seriously and be an integral part of any modern campaign.  Utilising social networking sites, blogs and forums to spread your name and generate brand awareness is the online version of word of mouth and leads to extra links being generated back into your website.  All of this, if done correctly and up front, helps to promote trust in your services within other communities and people will feel happier visiting you.

Directory submissions are also an important way of spreading the word but the most important in my opinion is the writing of good articles.  By taking the time to research one of your main products and to then write a factual piece highlighting all of the features and benefits, as well as being as informative as possible, while incorporating important keywords, will not only benefit you by creating a backward link from the site you submit the article to, but also from other relevant sites that you allow to publish the article.

People on the internet who then decide to go ahead and purchase the product or service they are reading about will already have a portal to your site by way of a link within the body of the text and will of course be a lot more likely to buy when they click through to the relevant landing page.  This therefore creates a back door or ‘B’ road into the site.

All of these extra ways to visit your ‘town’ are then noticed by the SERP’s who will now sit up and take notice and start to categorise you as an authority in your chosen field, leading to a better page rank and ultimately a higher placing on the results pages themselves.

So things have come full circle.  Outsiders, seeing that you have more routes into your town than just the conventional highway assume, just like we all do when we see a big town on the map, that your town must have a lot to offer and thus are a lot more likely to visit you, even if it does end up being on the one main road into the town that caused all the fuss in the first place.

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