Posted by Jacob Norris on 6/18/2018 to Trade Show Display News
Backlink Requirements Mean Trade Show Displays Are Still Good Marketing
This article does not review online advertising. That is something that has become too expensive for most businesses today due to the high cost of pay per click. Rather, this article is about just creating a site and hoping it gets into a search result.
You are better off putting your advertising dollars into an effective trade show marketing campaign than attempting to be number one on Google or Bing. Online marketing has now become only for the elite size budgets in your industry.
Back when the Internet was raw and new, but after Google changed the "search" landscape in the late 90's, it was quite simple to create a web site that would instantly get a ton of traffic. If you had a good site, some content, and something to offer your visitors or customers, you were going to get a good listing. Even with the mass of keywords that you built into your HTML, you could be confident that at least "someone" of a purchasing nature or interest, would find you.
I recall a project I was creating back in 2001 in which I needed to make a person's name come up in the top result of Google. All I had to do was link that person's name on the five web sites I ran at the time to the site in question and within a week the result was done. And, the site it linked to was only a single page with no content. Those days are now gone.
Today we must deal with the world of "authority backlinks". What makes your site rank now, along with many undisclosed secret other factors that search engines won't share, is the official backlink count from "authority sites". Essentially this means that the more links to your site from other "high traffic content" sites the better you will be ranked. What is happening is a ranking system based on links to create what the search engines call "Authority". If you have a link to your site from a small mom and pop store web site that has been online for a year, it probably won't increase your ranking in engines. But, if you have a link from a site like Buzzfeed or Goodyear Tires, chances are you will now rank much higher. The goal is always to find links from "authority" sites that are within your brand.
Unfortunately, getting such links is quite difficult and beyond the means of most business budgets, skills and time. There are many articles available that tell you just how to get these links and they are well written. But, what the articles don't tell you is exactly what the cost will be to get these links and how to really implement them beyond the basics. You will need to create multiple social media outlets, create blog articles, capture images and post them on Facebook, constantly link to your main site from other areas, and then hope that some of this material eventually ends up linked from somewhere else you had no idea of.
There are now services you can pay to get "authority backlinks" that charge you upwards of $3000 a month for a six month campaign to build a link network so your site can finally rank within the top pages of search (with no guarantee). Imagine a small business paying $18,000 for six months of link building when you are struggling to even keep the doors open and the lights turned on. This isn't realistic. Especially since you probably used either a free web service like Wix or one of the Ecom sites like Shopify to create your online identity and were told it comes with a multitude of search engine submission services to "guarantee" you are listed. Those are lies.
Recently I was in a situation with this very site you are on now where I was trying to get Bing to index the pages I just built. Bing is notoriously slow to index anything on the Internet, whether that is your site, or any backlinks you may have. I noticed the slow pace and reached out to a Bing webmaster to inquire about the pace. The response I received was very telling and depressing. The Bing representative told me that, due to my site being new, and not having any established backlinks, it will not be indexed properly. The explanation was that, if I had backlinks, then Bing would properly index my site and put it into the ranking system. But since I'm new, I basically am out of luck until I build links to the site. This is contrary to what we have all come to understand about search engines in general. The whole point of submitting a page to an engine was to be found. But now we are being told that you won't be found until you first get found by other people, without the benefit of search, just so you might be found on the engine in the future. Fun stuff. And since Bing is so slow to index anyone, who is to say how long it would take to find any backlinks you established?
Moving on, I am a part of the trade show industry and work with many of the top manufacturers in the country. The products listed on this site are, in my mind, the highest quality items you will find based on the price range you might have for a budget. Everything listed here has been carefully chosen to ensure all budgets can be matched while still providing a good product that will last. However, almost none of the manufacturers that I work with are willing to provide a backlink so that I can sell you your display. I suspect it comes down to not really understanding how the Internet works these days. Certainly, in a local sense, I can sell these products to those in my area and don't really need to work so hard for local listings. But in the grand scheme of things, we are all trying to reach out to the entire country (and for some, the world) online so we can expand our sales. Yet, if even your own manufacturers won't provide backlinks to the sellers of product, you really begin to see how little everyone understands how the Internet works today. A manufacturer that sells a product wholesale only to individual dealers would be crazy to not try to come up with a way to promote those dealers online. It results in sales and income for everyone. Yet, that is the reality.
Very few of us understand how this is working with online search. You key in your search term, see the result, and assume that Google is correct. But you are probably missing many search opportunities due to how links work today.
If you work with suppliers, I would recommend asking for a backlink from that supplier site immediately. It can only benefit both of you and has no side effects. Especially if the supplier is well known and has a long standing online presence.
As a trade show exhibitor, you are constantly looking for new ways to market yourself at events and beyond. You have read the articles about posting on social media, you have created apps for tablets, and you have sent out email newsletters from your blog. But if Google and Bing won't find those due to your limited size/site/budget/age online, what do you do?
I don't have all the answers. I'm only making a point I feel is relevant today. Exhibiting at trade shows is more important than ever these days when you consider the dire situation of search results and expensive online marketing. In person marketing at perfectly selected events will always generate a solid lead base for you as long as the show is relevant to your business. And, a good trade show exhibit with well designed graphics is a better long term investment for marketing than a silly $2000 Adwords campaign. You can't get in front of your customer face to face on Google. But at a trade show, you can sell your product to the customer personally. Mix the event budget with a traditional print campaign or radio/tv and you will probably get a better return than any online investment of equal value due to the skyrocketing cost of search engine ads and online promotion.
I hope you will continue to exhibit and I'm ready to provide you with a top notch display. Contact me for details if you don't see anything here that meets your needs.
Jacob Norris / Displays by Area Exhibits