SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION - 2019
To aid our clients, we are always researching the latest in best practices for SEO efforts. It is a bit of a black art ( ie. not a science) but current trends are always changing, so we hope this knowledge brings value to you and your businesses.
Properly addressing Search Engine Optimization is a challenge that is ironically made so by the search engines themselves. As you might imagine, the search engine companies want you to pay for ads, as that is how they make their money. They intentionally do their best to not inform the public about the reality of their systems. In addition, they change their rules frequently. That said, the challenge of properly setting your site up for search engines is possible so read on!
What is clear is that the strategy of paying for “Search Engine Registration” is not an optimal approach. The current best case includes 5 stages of development outlined below. Once a website is designed, built and launched (your obvious first step), the next best step is Stage Two, which utilizes a specialist supplier who will focus on “Structuring your site for Search Engine Optimization”. This generally does not mean visible changes to your pages, but it does include a number of behind the scene site enhancements.
The strategies and tactics for SEO range across a matrix of high to low value, and from white hat (focus on human audience) to black hat (focus on search engine rules)
STAGE ONE: PROPER INITIAL SITE DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION
Great site design is not done by accident. In the same way that marketing professionals tackle any marketing challenge, your first and most important step is simply understanding your market, and outlining your marketing goals. Another challenge is choosing a good supplier, from automated online website generation tools, to customer website creators, like ContentX. This is generally determined by your budget, how much of the work can be done by your internal staff, and how much you want outside aid. Once you have created a website, promoting it will be an ongoing job for you and your marketing assets.
STAGE TWO: SEARCH ENGINE WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION
Your next step is making sure your site is ready for search engines. The website search engine optimization process (generally completed by a specialist supplier with various levels of engagement) focuses on 3 feature sets:
ANALYTICS & TRACKING
Custom integrations for Google Analytics, Tag Manager, Search Console, Data Studio, Hotjar Heatmapping and others. Clients receive an interactive custom dashboard to monitor customer conversions like phone calls, form completions, downloads, emails, and more!
Technical SEO ensures the entire website is fully crawlable and indexable by search engines. This includes microdata & schema markup for social media open graph, accelerated mobile pages (amp), and dynamic metadata optimization.
SPEED & PERFORMANCE
Google has moved to mobile-first indexing, meaning page speed is critical. We’ll audit mobile usability, page speed load times, overall SEO performance and more to make sure your site design addresses current standards established by the major search engines.
Once you have optimized your website, the search engines will automatically crawl and register your site, placing you within their systems based on your site optimization, its content and its structuring. Suppliers offer these services at different levels, and also offer monthly “maintenance” of these services, though this is probably only appropriate for a company engaged in active ecommerce sales, or companies with a reasonably-sized monthly budget. We can help you understand the best level for your business, and make sure this gets implemented with best case practices.
SEO Stats for 2019
1. 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
2. Google holds 76% of total search engine market share. Baidu, Bing, and Yahoo! come in at 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place with a combined 21.6% market share.
3. 57% of B2B marketers stated that SEO generates more leads than any other marketing initiative.
4. 81% of people perform some type of online research before making a purchase.
5. 47% of consumers view 3-5 pieces of content created by a company before talking to a salesman.
6. 72% of marketers describe content marketing as their most effective SEO tactic.
7. 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engines.
8. 61% of internet users do research on a product online before making a purchase.
9. Leads from search engines have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (ex. cold-calling, direct mail, etc.) have a 1.7% close rate.
10. 70-80% of people ignore paid search results, choosing to only click on organic search results.
11. Bounce rates increase by 50% if your website takes 2 seconds extra to load.
12. Conversion rates fall by 12% for every extra second that it takes your website to load.
STAGE THREE: CONTENT OPTIMIZATION
While not strictly a “stage” as this is an ongoing process, the content on your site is as important as your technical site optimization (as per above). Ultimately, the search engines analyze about your site content, using a number of factors to help rate your position on the search results. Some of the ways you can make your site do better in searches is as follows:
- Your pages are kept current and updated on a regular basis
- Your pages use text content that matches your meta-tags and descriptions
- Your pages use photo content which match your text content
- Your pages use video content to support your other content
- Your media content naming is accurate and synched with your page content
- Your pages refer users with links that lead to other websites, which also refer users back to your site
- Your pages deliver content value to the public as a whole
- Your pages are integrated with other sites (such as social media) from across the Internet
- Your page content is not duplicated, either internally, or by external sources (such as PR)
Much of these rules are applied as we build out a website for the first time, though it is reliant on the content we get from our client. While this seems like a short and simple list, there is an infinite world of potential when considering how content is delivered within your website and web presence. It is also important to note that this is not a one time process, but that a well-positioned website is a growing and changing environment, updated regularly. We can help you form and implement a strategy to address this area of focus.
STAGE FOUR: SEARCH ENGINE AD PLACEMENT
With the above 3 stages in place, you will absolutely get better search engine positioning, but the truth is, there is no guarantees about location or position, as your position is reliant on software algorithms and their rating of all the factors we mentioned above. Your competition is competing for search engine positioning just as you are. If you are looking for a guarantee of increased traffic, and a guarantee of top of the fold search positioning, ad placement is still going to be a viable strategy. Like traditional advertising, the general approach includes committing to a monthly budget, and deciding how you want to target your ad placement budget. Again, this stage has a world of possibilities and will require a functional plan to move on your options. We can help you with a working Communications plan, and even work with your marketing goals to optimize placement.
STAGE FIVE: GUERRILLA OUTREACH
This is the black magic of website promotion, and has so many options that we will simply give you a basic outline in this article. Once you are setup online with the above 4 stages, there are many ways to reach out to the Internet and begin seeing value. Check out these options:
- Active engagement in social media conversations. Every time to you post on your favorite social media, you are opening up possibilities that other humans will read and interact with your engagement.
- Active engagement in forums. Back and forth conversations generate many opportunities to present you or your companies agenda. Deliver value (not advertising) and you are working within modern marketing conventions.
- Deliver free content as value that users can tap into, and promote free value as a pathway to your products or services. The Internet is often called a zero-billion dollar industry. Free opens doors and shows how you are working within the modern Internet landscape.
- Don’t underestimate the value of traditional media. Your marketing funnel must address bringing people in from the real world. Your online presence is a billboard to the real world, but you must erect multiple billboards to get noticed!
- Don’t forget the power of brick and mortar. Humans still live in the physical world. Businesses which have a presence in the real world have a solid window into the virtual world. Find a way that your physical location can help guide traffic to your virtual presence.
This just scratches the surface. Creativity is your only limiting factor… have fun, deliver value and stay open what you can do for the Internet, so that it can pay you back in its most valuable coin, user eyeballs!
For any client who wants their site to have better search engine positioning, the most important area of development is Stage Two: SEO website optimization, see above. For those clients who have allocated marketing budget for expanding your Internet presence, Stage Three becomes a good step to address. For clients who are very budget conscious, Stage Two is still mission critical, but you will then focus on to Stage Three (optimizing your content) and Stage Five (guerrilla outreach).
We are happy to help with any level of your business marketing needs, online or otherwise. Give us a call and we will walk you through the options to arrive at a go forward strategy.