Have you ever asked yourself “I know I need SEO, but I don’t know exactly what I need”? More and more businesses are starting to realize the value of search engine optimization. As a result, the demand for SEO has increased.
What do you hope to get out of an SEO campaign?
Search engine optimization involves a number of things; from website audits and on-page content recommendations to link building programs and everything in between. Additionally, there is no cookie-cutter price for SEO and it is based on what is included and to what extent.
When looking for your vendor, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. Here are 3 factors to consider when reviewing what your search engine optimization needs are.
First and foremost, identify your business goals. While traffic and rankings are important, it is not the only thing that matters. At Good Monster, we always steer the conversation towards your overall goals, including revenue. SEO campaigns include plenty of elements. By evaluating and understanding what your business goals are, you will be able to make the best decision regarding the SEO services you really need.
Do you want to gain local visibility? Do you want to increase conversions? Maybe you want to build brand and product awareness. Each one of these questions brings a new and different SEO strategy to the table.
One of the biggest ranking factors is the performance of your website’s on-page elements. Anytime we get a new client, we assess these on-page elements by reviewing analytics, content, and other factors. It is important to understand exactly what needs to be optimized so that your website can beat out your competitors.
Check out your traffic trends, including conversion trends and any other analytics that you think will help you better understand your needs. This will also help you in the budgeting process. If you know your site needs a lot of work on-page as well as off-page, the more involved the strategy and campaign will be.
Know Your Limits
The best ability is availability. A huge frustration for us with any client is having them tell us they have a number of resources such as tools and people in place, however, when we finally start a campaign, we hear crickets. All of a sudden, there is no response, there is no one on the other end to do what we need them to do.
Know your limits.
When you identify where you might be lacking, you can relay that to your SEO provider to address the areas of need. For example, if your site is lacking content and you don’t have resources in house to create it, you will need to rely on your SEO agency to handle it.
This works the other way as well. If your SEO agency wants to write content for you but you have a content team on staff, you will most likely only need some editorial guidance. This will keep your content team on the right path, targeting the right topics, with the right keywords to help drive traffic and increase conversions. In this case, a full-on content strategy/campaign will not be needed.
Any business that knows they will be needing a full SEO campaign must be aware of and understand each factor before they start. It will create a more successful SEO campaign for all involved.
But what if your business is new to search engine optimization. You’re still in the planning/vetting stage and you want to make a few subtle changes that can impact your search ranking.
You’re in luck. Take a look at some elements that contribute to your search ranking.
Make Your Website Responsive Already!
You have undoubtedly been told how important responsive website design is, especially for your conversions. Two years ago, Mashable actually called 2013 the Year of Responsive Web Design. Knowing how important this is, you would have thought more than 18% of the top 10,000 sites on the web implemented responsive design. But they didn’t.
Why is it so important? With so many consumers using mobile devices, your site needs to look great on both a desktop as well as smartphones and tablets. Responsive design is also beneficial for Google. With the Mobile-Friendly label Google puts up with sites in search results, Google ensures that more users click on responsive sites as opposed to non-optimized sites. This is a way Google sends more traffic your way IF your site is responsive.
Social media and search marketing used to live in two separate silos. In many instances, marketers are partly to blame having to decide on one or the other. It is not that simple anymore. It wasn’t long ago when Matt Cutts said social media had a limited impact on search rankings, claiming Google does not have permanent access to social media websites. One year later, however, we now have the data-sharing deal between Twitter and Google. This means you’ll soon see more tweets in your search results.
To say we have little control over the lords of search and social media would be an understatement. What we can control is to optimize social media with the hopes that the search lords eventually cave to social media and tie social media to search results.
So what does this mean?
- Include social sharing buttons on all your pages. If you are an e-commerce website, be sure each social share button is easily noticed on all product pages.
- Include social sharing buttons on your email newsletters. This is your own army of brand ambassadors so make sure you allow them to talk about your content with their friends.
- Make sure, when possible, your content on social media has a URL that links back to your blog or website. This will enable you to measure which social media platform led to an increase in traffic.
Sticks and Stones… It Matters
In a July 2014 consumer review survey by BrightLocal, they found that 88% of respondents trust anonymous online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends and family. Who said don’t talk to strangers? Additionally, in recent data found by Bazaarvoice, they found this trust in strangers increases among Millennials.
With these insights in mind, it is important to showcase what consumers already think of your business. Displaying these reviews and testimonials prominently on your site is certainly beneficial. To generate these reviews and testimonials, solicit recommendations, reviews, or ratings through a simple email per week or right after a consumer make a purchase. Doing this ensures the user’s experience is still fresh in their minds and your chances of a thoughtful review increase.
Sending out emails in order to get a mountain of reviews is difficult. So how can you make this process as pain-free as possible?
- Include a direct link to the review and rating page right in the email.
- Take a page out of Amazon’s book and create a system for getting reviews inside the email itself.
- Incentivize the reviewers.
Credibility is king. A great way to increase credibility for your site is by getting in touch with consumers who regularly interact with your brand and have them discuss their story with your brand. We are not focusing on reviews here. We are focusing on the story. Once you are able to generate these stories, you can create a landing page that showcases top customers and their stories with your brand.
Take Down The Silos
Rankings still matter. However, it is important to not lose sight of the big picture and monitor your current positions. Tracking keyword rankings in Google is simply not enough anymore. Be sure to stay on top of all your digital marketing channels and identify how each they will affect your ranking.