Some years ago the local people of Austin, Austinites, adopted the
slogan 'Keep Austin Weird'. The phrase was coined following the influx
of Fortune 500 giants like Apple, Google and eBay. Austinites naturally
had concerns about their city's rapid development and over
commercialisation, they felt that with large corporations come large
high street chains which would out compete local business.
Forbes ranked Austin the second fastest growing city in America and the
number one boom town. So, the premonition actualised, and weird
threatens to become mainstream or obsolete. When competing with local
neighbouring businesses is enough, how do the small, the unique and the
eccentric, or the time-honoured and traditional, compete, survive and
thrive in a boom town dominated by hungry corporations?
Follow (the) suit(s): get SEO savvy.
The fine people and business owners of Austin are no strangers to
technology. In fact, the Neilson Company revealed that Austinites blog
more than any other metropolitan area in the country. There are
dedicated foodies reviewing the city's abundance of fine restaurants.
Others are passionate about its long-standing connection with the film
industry and, of course, what Austin built its reputation on, being 'The
Live Music Capital of the World'. Besides the hundreds of music venues,
dozens of cafes, restaurants and hotels competing for a slice of the
tourist pie, the Colorado river and the many parks also provide the
perfect setting for a plethora of family activities.
With so many businesses operating out of one place, online visibility is
vital. It's boom or bust. Even with an army of bloggers, not every
business is going to show at the top of the search engine result pages
(SERP's); it seems to be the big boys who claim the top spots - they
have teams dedicated to SEO. But with a little guidance from someone such as a SEO Consultant and SEO agencies who
knows the industry, there's a few tricks to get a good search ranking
without needing an entire dedicated team.
Keeping up with a panda, a penguin and a hummingbird helps.
Google periodically updates its algorithms. Panda, penguin and
hummingbird are all names of different algorithms. They deal with things
like backlinks, search queries and keywords. They also have the
authority to penalise any business website or blog which doesn't adhere
to the ever-changing rules. A digital marketing strategy that worked a
dream one month might not work the next. Running a business is one
thing, competing with neighbouring businesses is another, competing
online and following the rules is another thing altogether. And if any
music venue, cafe or restaurant owner has no idea that a panda, a
penguin and a hummingbird are all Google algorithms, then they should
start learning, or ask someone who does. Besides, in a place filled with
high-tech people, finding a savvy someone in Austin who knows what's
going on in their own back yard shouldn't be too difficult.
Going it alone: the many hats of an Austinite business owner.
Indeed, an Austinite business owner needs to wear many hats. But do they
know the difference between black hat and white hat SEO? For the brave,
keeping a handle on the world of SEO involves keeping on top of what
their neighbour, Google, will decide to do next. Like most things,
people have tried, and succeeded, to manipulate search engine rankings.
It is, after all, big business, and why Google has to make frequent
changes to keep things fair - which is great, but another job to add to
the list. Most of the time Google will announce, confirm or deny any
algorithm changes they make. Though, it's not always the case. They also
have lots of information on their webmaster pages about SEO best
practice, but it's not extensive, more a guideline. With so many rules
and changes about SEO it's easy to see why the large corporations have
Are there any consistencies in SEO?
One piece of advice that does remain consistent is for website owners to
publish relevant, useful information, and to take advantage of social
media platforms to connect with their customers, fans or target
audience. It's about the user experience: do people find what they're
look for? When the thousands of people who plan their trip to Austin use
the Internet to check out places to eat, sleep and be entertained,
Google wants to make sure they find what they're looking for, fast.
People don't have the time or patience to scroll through pages of
results, and they trust what's at the top of the SERP's. There are many
other aspects to SEO, including both on and offline optimisation. Sites
also need to be mobile friendly, work on all devices, and be built using
clean code. SEO consultants can check all these things while the
Austinites prepare their businesses for the next big weekend.