Italian Search Engine Optimization
From old Search Engine Optimization to a more advanced Online Marketing approach
SEO has changed. In Italy as well as in the rest of world. Nowadays you cannot do SEO regardless an overall Online Marketing Strategy which will necessarily include concepts such as “content marketing“, “content promotion” and “social media marketing“.
Even back in the day there were already in my opinion 2 kinds of SEO guys:
- those who were focusing on the rankings of a selected amount of keywords
at the time they were in fashion some “SEO packages” such as “5 keywords for XXX dollars”;
- those who were focusing on giving the best value to their clients.
I’ve always liked better the second approach.
Proving my clients with the best service has always meant to me focusing on other factors besides the ranking of a limited amount of keywords. It was about:
- giving always the best long term advices for their business;
- taking care of exploring new keywords in order to grow their business;
- making sure the landing pages and the overall website was able to convert users into clients/customers at its best;
- always keep an open eye for new opportunities;
- always focus on the Return of Investment.
Now that SEO has changed this approach has revealed to be the winner!
In case you don’t know why SEO has changed let me explain to you in a few words: Google – since April 25, 2012 – has started implementing new updates to its algorithm, updates that were meant to fight spam and low quality websites. However the outcomes were the many small business websites had been affected anyway, they have been penalized, maybe because they relied on the wrong SEO guys, maybe because they pushed a little bit on some “SEO tricks” without taking care of the overall quality of their websites and the experience of their users, maybe because they tried just to do their best for their business. These websites that have been penalized lost a lot of visibility and thus their owners lost clients/customers and money!
Long story short: now you shouldn’t think about SEO as some magical trick that will give you visibility and more profits overnight. You better consider SEO as one part of your overall Online Marketing Campaign: a very important part but not the only part.
SEO has still an important role in checking out that everything works at its best: in the website and outside the website (all that is linked to the website such as outbound links, social accounts, appearance in search engine results pages…).
But you shouldn’t rely only on SEO for your business and there is a simple reason why: you have no control at all of whatever Google or other search engines decide to do with their algorithms!
So, even if SEO – in broader terms – is probably the most important factor in the online success of your business, you should always support your online promotion with a variety of methods such as…
- content marketing (which for some can be considered an extension of SEO);
- social media marketing;
- solid online promotion in other websites (you can read it “link building” if you want, but forget doing link building just to collect a great amount of inbound links regardless the quality of the pages and the websites you are placing the links);
- PPC campaigns (now that we are in the “Not Provide” age, an AdWords campaign can give you precious insights on which are the more profitable keywords for your business)…
Talking specifically of Italian SEO you might need to know a few things:
- Google is used by more than 90% of users (whereas in US for example is “just” at 80%);
- Most of the algorithm updates that are already running in google.com are not yet implemented in google.it.
- Most of the features that are already running in google.com are not yet implemented in google.it.
If you want to explore the opportunity to rank in the Italian search engines, obviously, first you need to have an Italian website… That can be an Italian language version of your website (better in a new domain or subdomain) or a brand new website, or at least a landing page (depending on the competitivity of your market/project/campaing/keywords; usually the bigger, richer and more valuable your website is, the better).
When your Italian website is ready for your Italian users you can now think how to promote it and since SEO is no longer something that is convenient to do regardless other techniques you should think about:
- put in place an honest social media campaign along with your SEO efforts;
- consider an AdWords campagin to gather useful insights regarding which are the best keywords for your business.
The best approach nowadays is always start from your website. Here a few questions that might be useful to ask yourself:
- Does my (Italian) website respond correctly and effectively to the search engines queries my prospective clients/customers might perform in search engines?
- Are there some other users queries that I can respond to publishing new pages?
- Is my navigation clear enough for my users?
- Is my content thorough, exhaustive, clearly written and informative?
- Are my users finding easily all the information they are looking for?
- If my website was a “meeting with my client”, how would I be doing?
- How can I improve my website?
Once you did your best with your website we can move forward and promote your great content through the web, leveraging the social networks to get social signals and spread the word throughout the web with a variety of methods (article marketing, guest blogging, link building, press releases…)
The best ways to approach your off-site promotion nowadays is considering it as it was a brand awareness campaign. Again, if you count the links you are getting from other websites or even worse if you focus on keywords-rich anchor texts you are very likely to get in troubles.
Consider instead promoting your website/brand throughout the web and more and more people will look for your website and this is very likely to be a good sign also for your ranking!