net neutrality world logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
No matter how you slice it, net neutrality is on the way. Telecommunication companies will try to resist it, consumers will push hard for it, and eventually, in some form, there will be net neutrality. In order to remain competitive in business, companies must be ahead of the curve. The following 4 steps should be taken immediately to ensure that your company is ready for net neutrality.
1 – Understand Where You Stand
Many businesses are simply sitting back and waiting to see where the pieces will fall. The truth is that you do have a voice. These laws are not yet on the books, and even when they are there will be questions as to how they will be enforced. If you get involved now, on the local, state, or national level, then you really could have a say about how these changes affect your company. It may be as simple as writing or calling your congressman, or it may mean joining a group that's working together to bring net neutrality to the forefront.
2 – Consider Your Business Model
Your current business model may need to be adjusted if certain net neutrality laws take effect – it really all depends on the size of your business.
- Small Businesses. For the most part, small businesses stand to lose much more by a lack of net neutrality than do large businesses. The way it stands now, companies can pay internet service providers to offer faster connection to their websites, and they can pay search engines to feature their company higher in search engine rankings. Obviously small businesses don't typically have the resources to pay for this. If you run a small business and net neutrality becomes a reality, then you will have equal footing with companies of any size.
- Large Businesses. On the other hand, if you run a large company with a large marketing budget, then you may currently be paying for these results. If that's the case, then you need to be prepared for what will happen when net neutrality becomes a reality. Instead of paying for these results and relying on them, you will need to have your company rank higher in search engines organically. This can be done by many means, including smart social media marketing – which we'll deal with in the next point.
3 – Get Ahead of the Curve With Social Media Marketing
Obviously Google is the biggest search engine out there, and the one that most companies are most concerned with being on top of. Companies should be preparing, right now, for having to rank high on this search engine organically. In the past, some companies found success by doing what's known as keyword stuffing, which basically involves writing their website in such a way that it included many of the buzz words people might think of when looking for their website.
Once companies began to take advantage of this method, Google came up with new algorithms for ranking websites. While their secrets are not officially released, there is plenty of information out there about how part of their formula works, and there are a number of methods you can employ to ensure customers get to your website.
4 – It's Time to Take Bloggers Seriously
One of the best ways to get your site to rank higher is to rely on bloggers to spread the word. Goggle has started taking their sites more seriously, so a blogger with thousands of hits a day can write about a product or link to a website, and that product or website can then receive a 'bump' in the search engine rankings. If your company doesn't currently have a blog and a social media presence, then now is the time to get started.
The bottom line is that companies must keep an eye on the changes and be ready for them in advance. Remember that as soon as these regulations are put into place every company will be scrambling to be in compliance and work with the new guidelines. If you can be ahead of the curve, then you'll have one leg up on the competition.
Guest author Tracy Sharp writes on a variety of topics, including how to find the best internet providers in your neighborhood.