While the website is the foundation of your digital marketing, SEO is the heart. We are living in the age of Google. For anything and everything, people tend to do a Google Search. The term “Google It” has become part of our collective vocabulary. When in need of services and solutions for business challenges, most people do a quick Google search to find what they want or the info they need. Businesses that appear on top of a web search reap a competitive advantage, businesses that lag on page 2 or higher fall behind.
SEO deals with the techniques of writing/organizing web content in such a way that your web pages appear at the top of web search results and bring more leads to your business, sales to your retail establishment, and traffic to your website. An easy-to-navigate, well-organized website makes it easy for a website visitor to find the product or information they are seeking to find in a timely manner. As it turns out, this is similar in concept to the way search engines such as Google or Bing find and index content on the web. A well-structured, well-built website is a flag that tells the search engines that you are someone that can be counted on. Add quality content and dependability to the equation and you have implied to the search engines that you are an expert in your field and that your content should be prominent in search results.
At the deepest level, we employ tools to leverage local SEO with rich snippets & schema markup in conjunction with Google MyBusiness. This establishes your local search presence on Google, which, let’s be serious, is the ONLY search engine to concern yourself with.
Schema Markup/Rich Snippets
Today, more than 20 percent of queries are done via voice. In fact, Google predicted that by 2020, 50 percent of queries will come via voice. Leaving you with little choice but to structure your data for voice, and markup your content with relevant schema, to remain relevant. Schema, found at Schema.org, is a form of microdata. Once added to a web page, it creates an enhanced description (commonly known as a rich snippet), which appears in search results. The number of schema types was originally relatively limited, but new schema types are being rolled out continually due to the proliferation of voice search. As voice search gains market share and RankBrain becomes more influential in Google’s core search algorithm, the need to put a web page in context is increasingly important to improve SEO results.
There is no evidence that microdata has a direct effect on organic search rankings. Nonetheless, rich snippets do make your web pages appear more prominently in SERPs. This improved visibility has been shown to improve click-through rates. As mobile has surpassed desktop in search, local packs and knowledge cards have all but replaced the ordered list of blue links as the dominant form of search results. This has changed how you need to think about tracking your success in intelligent search.
Winning in intelligent search is increasingly about geolocation and rich geo-specific information, like hours, menus, location-specific photos, service or delivery area, and more. A natural consequence of a more mobile-savvy consumer base, location-specific searches are going to continue to rise. In fact, around 50 percent of people say they perform searches only on their mobile device in the average day, according to Google, and that is only going to increase in the future.
According to a study by acmque, less than one-third of Google’s search results include a rich snippet with Schema.org markup. This exposes a huge opportunity for competitive advantage. Very few things in SEO, today, can move the dial quickly. Intelligent search can.
- Create a contact, about, and home page on your website.
- On the contact page, include the complete name, address, and phone number (NAP) for each location.
- For businesses with minimal locations, list all the addresses in the website’s footer.
- If you don’t want to include your business address for privacy reasons, don’t publish it. Instead, make sure to include all phone numbers that are used for business purposes, and make them visible on the website.
- Add a Google Map to the Contact page so that customers can easily find you and to further optimize for local SEO.
- Ensure ALL phone numbers on website are clickable via mobile.
- Have a page on the site for every location and each specific service offered. This is probably the best way to snag some extra visibility in organic rankings (the ones for local businesses).
- Ensure all NAP entries are consistent everywhere they are mentioned on the website. AND on citation sites.
- Use Schema structured data markup to help Google more easily identify your local business.
- Complete your Google My Business page, and verify your website.
Keyword Research & Infusion
Content Marketing can take many forms in a digital marketing strategy. The first phase requires diligent research and analysis. The research includes audience research, in order to define your target audience & target market, keyword research, to enhance organic content in search & drive keywords for PPC campaigns, competitive research, to establish your competitors audience and market & where your business fits into the picture and to find your unique selling point (USP), and finally, industry trends, to better understand the trajectory of your industry and how you can leverage that in content development. All this research together will drive your content marketing strategies for the website, social media platform(s), and search engine marketing (SEM) & social media marketing (SMM) utilizing PPC campaigns to advertise on search engines and social media.
Keyword research is all about understanding your target audience(s) and how they are searching for your products or services, tailoring your website & social media content to leverage those keywords. That is called keyword infusion & keyword targeting. Blogging is a crucial tool that can drive your content marketing strategy by keeping your website content fresh and relevant, while easily disseminated to the social media platforms of choice. According to the book M- Marketing by Dhruv Grewal & Michael Levy, 78% of customers prefer to get to know a company through articles rather than ads. Content marketing has six times higher conversion rates and has the potential for a 7.8-X boost in web traffic than other social media tools. Blog as much as possible to promote your keywords, develop the “voice” of your brand, and solidify your place as a leading expert in your industry. Being seen by Google as an expert in your field increases your website’s “authority”, which is another positive ranking factor in the Google search algorithm. Always striving to be #1!
Successful keyword targeting answers the question: What terms/phrases are people using to search and find me?
Get reviews, with a plan to get additional reviews. Google is shifting a TON of it’s resources to displaying reputation upfront and it’s becoming more and more important for rankings, traffic, and conversions. Reviews can help drive search rankings up too. Turns out, the more reviews a business has, the higher they show up on search results. Reviews also have a considerable statistical effect on the decisions customers make. These days, 93% of U.S. consumers always check online reviews before purchasing. You’d better be cultivating reviews and managing digital relationships with customers now if you want to surface in future map queries. To stay ahead in search ranking & reputation management you need to generate & respond to reviews in a positive, cordial, and accommodating tone.
Getting more reviews is a great way to stand out from the competition:
- Add review widgets/addons to your website
- Create an email autoresponder to ask for reviews
- Ask for reviews in every email signature
- Incentivize the review with coupons or specials
Long-tail keywords are highly targeted search phrases that specifically serve searcher intent. These keywords have low search volume, low competition, and typically have high conversion rates.
However, despite the lack of search volume, long-tail keywords are often easier to rank for and result in higher conversions than seed keywords. This is because long-tail keywords communicate a clear customer need that you can solve — they’re intent-driven.
When you understand your target audience’s search intent, you can create content that specifically addresses queries and converts.
For example, a user searching for “days of play gold PS4 price” indicates a clear intent to purchase. Comparatively, a search for “PS4” is a lot less clear; the user might be looking for more information about the video game console, searching for recent news from Sony, or seeking out a list of games.