The golden process in which customers magically arrive to your business after making a wonderful discovery of your website in Bing, Google , and Yahoo!
Many businesses rightly invest in their search optimization. Search traffic is a very cost effective way of gaining traffic. But the optimization is approached with a narrow scope on top SERP as the only measure of success. In the last two years, the inclusion of social media in search results, combined with search engine refinements means that customer can discover your business in more than one way. In fact the latest studies reveal nuanced search results that yield more conversions in a number of instances. Overlooking these researched efforts results in an overlook of more effective marketing.
Here’s how you can take advantage of these changes to better plan SEO and paid search.
Don’t fret excessively about the #1 spot in search – it’s important to improve exposure online to a search engine, but other avenues for awareness exist online.
Not being at the top of a search result is not the death of your search exposure, let alone digital exposure, to customers. The push to be #1 or #2 is valuable, but that message has been lost in context to the search query. In the 2000s keyword was paramount, and it is to degree now. If you were a shoe maker you would like to be on top for “shoe repair” as much as you would for your store name.
But other networked devices and platforms have sprung up, to allow your business a new way to be exposed. Some demographics rely on search more heavily than others – B2B is good example. But many people discover new ways to engage your site and thus, your business.
Be leery of being ranked for your brand name as an end-all for search strategy
Keep in mind – being first in SERP for your personal name or business name is sometimes not a meaningful optimization. Many black hat consultants present being number one for a store name as a value, when that rank really should come natural based on page title, URL, and page description in the HTML.
Today search that brings visits is taking the form of a question happening as frequently in an Amazon Alexa as it can on a laptop. Google noted that smartphones are the lead in a multidevice usage. And mobile users are more than likely to take action on a query – meaning call a store or make a purchase.
If you have launched a site, you should review search visits and time-on-site data of your web analytics solution to gain a sense for what keywords have worked. Make a list based on the trends you find.
Compare your observations against results from a site scan in Google Adwords Manager or Microsoft Adcenter Manager. Both can scan a site your site and return a query list of words based on the site content.
Next compare this PPC-generated list to the keyword report you have examined – you are now looking for words that are on the site but really did not generate search traffic. These identified words are now the keywords you can focus on for paid search to bolster traffic and interest. You can also:
- Create a paid search campaign (or PPC: Pay Per Click) that includes your target words. You can review competitiveness and plan a trial budget in your ad manager. Using paid campaigns can increase click through in many cases when a word appears on a search result in the organic and paid search results.
- For words beyond your paid search budget, investigate words that are used as a Twitter hashtag for a target audience. You can then use these words in a Twitter strategy. You can try a specialty search engine such as 48ers to see Twitter-related query results. Set up a column in Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or another application that monitors word usage. Monitoring helps you understand how it is used, and make adjustments for your strategy.
- Make sure your blog is hosted at the same service as your website. Doing so ensures that frequent posting signals to search engines that content is being updated, strengthening how a site appears against a query. Hosting a blog elsewhere is not necessarily an SEO killer, but it does create two separate mediums that must be optimize (and can be more work for some businesses to keep up).
- Ensure the title, meta description, H1 tags, and anchor text in your webpage code contains the selected keywords. Moreover titles and descriptions appear in Facebook postings, so make sure these descriptions make sense and are not just a series of “keyword stuffing” lines.
- Make sure keywords appear in the image descriptions in your website code. Make sure the file names include those words as well.
- Link building is valuable, but you want to focus on sites that are actively maintained and relevant to your site content. instead of requesting links, develop a contribution plan – find sites to contribute posts or to maintain profiles in which your site URL can be included.
- Insert keywords into video titles and submit to YouTube. Many people forget that Youtube in its self is the second largest search engine.
Discipline in implementing SEO is key to making Do-It-Yourself efforts effective. Doing so also makes you smarter as a business owner. SEO requires an appreciation of website code and structure, but not so much as to turn you into a full-fledged developer. This knowledge can help you frame the questions you have when you later need to ask for digital marketing help.
Social ads raise awareness of posts
Social ads are important, because they allow a targeted message for people who spend a lot of time on social media. They can be set for specific interests rather than keywords. So a Facebook ad campaign for a ski trip would be aimed at profiles which indicate skiing as an interest.
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter all have social ads. Other variations are being developed – Facebook just announced ads for Facebook Messenger, while Amazon has been quietly introducing ads as part of its platform. Marketers are discovering that consumers are actually starting their product searches at Amazon, with many being done via Amazon Echo.
This means to plan a solid social ad strategy, you must think of interest that your followers are generally interest in.