Just last month, SEO professionals and web developers were scurrying to update client websites to ensure that their Google rank didn’t slip. The urgency was a result of Google’s ever-changing algorithm which was tweaked to give higher priority to mobile-friendly websites. Small businesses, traditionally slower to adapt to changing site requirements, were expected to be the greatest victim of the update.
To help understand Google’s ranking process, let’s talk numbers:
- 200 is the approximate number of factors that Google uses to help determine a website’s ranking
- 4 is the number of major algorithmic changes that Google has issued which drastically changed the way sites are judged (in addition were two “unnamed” updates which also caused significant impact)
- 500-600 is the estimated number of tweaks that Google makes to its algorithm each year
- 4.7% is the percentage uptick in mobile-friendly websites that Google saw by the time “Mobilegeddon” saw its day
According to Forbes, initial results from “Mobilegeddon” are mixed. In some cases, mobile-friendly sites have noted a drop in rank, other companies cite little to no impact at all. While the jury is still out, much like Y2K or other failed doomsday prophecies, “Mobilegeddon” failed to deliver the end of days predicted.
So what’s the lesson for marketers and small business owners?
Your safe bet for search engine optimization is to create an integrated digital marketing strategy built on consistent and engaging content. Here are 5 basic ways you can streamline your marketing plan and ensure that your website is optimized for search engines:
Develop Engaging Content
From Panda to Penguin, Google’s algorithm is invested in rewarding authentic authorship. To own your digital space, your business must first have a full understanding of its audience, interests and the factors that influence their search habits. Utilize that framework to create valuable content that educates your consumer, provides factual information and gives your company or individual perspective. Most importantly, rather than repeat sentiment that is echoed throughout the internet, tap your company’s internal resources to provide a fresh perspective and strong story angle that entices comments and social shares.
Social media is just one of the 200+ factors that help determine a website’s search engine rank. By carefully crafting keyword-rich social media posts, you not only help stay on topics that resonate with your core consumer, but also help elevate your business’s result in search. Additionally, you are able to leverage a direct channel with your consumers: educating them on products, inciting purchase and addressing concerns, when necessary.
Google’s algorithmic update directly reflects the evolution of search to mobile. According to eMarketer, the United States will surpass 200 million smartphone users by 2017. Simply put, two out of every three people will be able to readily access your company website while they are on-the-go. Mobile responsive design is a necessary element to ensure your site is nimble and accessible to your consumer. Additionally, marketing strategies must be developed with the mobile consumer in mind. This is a consumer who expects to find the information they need immediately. Conversions will rely on your message reaching the right consumer, at the right place and at the right time.
Study Your Results
The most successful campaigns are continuously optimized to reach the customers that drive your business. By carefully studying the keywords that are resonating with consumers, social media elements they are engaging with, and the creative that gets clicked on, you will be able to develop more precise messaging and placement. Prior to starting your campaign, create a list of Key Performance Indicators that will be used to determine a program’s success.
Both B2B and B2C companies have discovered the benefits of developing a blog on their company website. According to Hubspot’s 2014 State of Inbound Marketing, companies that blog have 97% more inbound links to their site. Whether used to highlight the opinions of company thought leaders, or share new ways to utilize your product, blogs allow you to directly connect to an audience of influencers. When used correctly, it can also provide relevant content for your social media channels. Create content that positively impacts your organic search results by carefully examining your target audience. Focus efforts on providing original content that is topical, timely and resonates with your core consumer. Finally, grow your audience and encourage readers to return, by posting on a consistent basis.