Imagine a marketing world where your message is screened by a panel of judges who impact the visibility of your brand. Follow that by a voting process where the consumer determines whether or not your message is kicked out of the competition. Sound like a far-fetched marketer's nightmare? In reality, it's just everyday interactive marketing!
Whether you like it or not, your online brand is in a contest. It is part of a judging and voting process that controls the visibility and longevity of your message. Search engines place a great many well-conceived rules and regulations around your message, and then judge your site to determine how well or poorly you did.
Beyond that, search engines respond to the voting public. With each search conducted, the search engines count the votes. Sites that receive the highest vote tallies (i.e. clicks) are granted higher scores in the competition for that search term. Over time those sites with relatively fewer votes are "kicked off" the top five, then off the first page, and so on.
So how do you ensure your site is the Kelly Clarkson of internet marketing?
Build it right. This isn't hard and the rules are established. Find an interactive agency with the credentials and experience you can trust to build your website in a manner the "judges" will like. (And don't try tricks - the search engines are smarter than you!)
Stay relevant. If you abandon your website once it's built, consumers will do exactly the same. Everything from content to imagery to site features and tools need constant updating, indexing, and growth. Search engines reward activity and so do users.
Get talked about. We may root for the underdog and empathize with the wallflower, but in online marketing, it's the brand socialites who get all the votes. If you haven't yet gotten serious about getting talked about...now' the time. Coordinated, measured, and consistent activity in blogs, podcasts, video sites, and social media communities will start and sustain excitement about your brand that turns into votes.
And remember, the most savvy American Idol contestants don't let the judging and voting scare them. They make an impact, mold opinion, and drive their own result. With a little hard work and the right partner, your online brand can do the same.