In Central Florida and beyond, businesses of all shapes and sizes aren’t quite sure how to get ROI from their website. In many cases, companies simply put up a website and hope for the best.
While this is bad news in general, it can be good news for you if you’re a bit more proactive about your digital marketing. The majority of your competitors will never rank on the first page of results for any search term because they simply aren’t trying to. And these days, high visibility in Google rarely happens by accident.
That means you’re not competing against your whole industry – only a handful of other brands.
What’s more, Google has made local search a lot more prominent over the years. That means you’re not usually head-to-head against the leading national enterprises, either. When customers search for products and services “near me,” they’re much more likely to see your website if they’re within thirty miles of your location.
As a result, small businesses that put a little elbow grease into their website can get big results.
But the ways of Google can appear mysterious for do-it-yourself digital marketers.
Business owners are often excited to learn they can find out exactly how people find and use their website through Google Analytics. But that enthusiasm turns sour when they realize their Google rankings seem to vary wildly from month to month. Instead of rising consistently, they go up and down like a rollercoaster.
That effect has been even more obvious lately. What gives?
Google Is Accelerating The Pace Of Its Core Algorithm Updates
In the old days of digital marketing, Google would roll out huge changes on a regular basis.
The Big G is notoriously tight-lipped about its plans, although it’s gotten better about that over the years. To decipher what had changed, digital marketers in Central Florida and elsewhere had to devote thousands of hours to parsing the latest search data.
These days, Google’s core search algorithm – the rules it uses to rank websites – is so sophisticated that small updates roll out several times a month. As machine learning becomes a bigger ingredient in the Google stew, it crunches ever-bigger reserves of data to make tiny, precise adjustments all the time.
The overall effect? Search rankings are more stable than they were before. This is good because it allows small and mid-sized firms to focus on the long game. Digital marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s especially true of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which helps you rank on Google.
In 2021, though, the status quo has been changing.
Google recently rolled out the massive Page Experience Update. It adds more ranking factors, giving website owners even more things they’ll be graded on when Google compares one website to another. We reported earlier on how Google Page Experience impacts your website.
Hot on its heels came the June 2021 Core Update. Further updates are expected this month.
Google claims the sudden spike in updates is simply due to their first efforts being too ambitious. In the name of stability, they needed to introduce these modifications more slowly than planned. But representatives of the world’s #1 search engine are always very intentional about what they say and when.
If you notice rapid changes in your search result position for various keywords, the reason will almost always come down to recent and pending tweaks from Google. Every time Google makes a change, your website needs to be updated accordingly. But knowing exactly what needs to be done can be tough.
This is one reason why so many businesses look to a Central Florida digital marketing agency.
Luckily, there’s one core principle that will always keep you moving on the right track.
Every Google Algorithm Update Is Intended To Achieve The Same Overarching Goal
With all the complicated things Google does behind the scenes, it might seem crazy to suggest it all boils down to one thing. But with years of experience going back to the earliest changes, the pattern is easier to recognize.
Are you ready for this? Hold on to your hat:
All Google updates are intended to produce a better experience for the users of search. Period.
This becomes a lot more obvious if you remember that, even as recently as ten years ago, lots of Google results were junk. Unscrupulous characters could rank pages by spamming a specific keyword (for example, “roofer in Austin TX”) a hundred times, hiding that text by coloring it to match the background.
It was just that easy.
Since then, Google has been involved in a long and thorough process of cleaning house. For just about any topic you care to search, the first page consists of useful content that’s solidly written and designed. The #1 result is often comprehensive and deeply researched – but it won’t satisfy the needs of every searcher.
Gone are the days when you had to rank #1, #2, or #3 to get consistent results on Google. These days, having a spread of keywords where you rank anywhere on the first page is enough to get a steady stream of visitors to your website. If you’re set up to convert that traffic into leads, your website becomes a potent lead engine.
Let’s break that down a little further.
Getting Targeted Traffic To Your Business Website Is Easier Than You Think
Google wants you to deliver a great experience for search users. Where do you start?
First of all, know that you’re not appealing to every user out there. Only to your audience.
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey said you should always begin with the end in mind. We couldn’t agree more. In digital marketing, beginning with the end in mind means knowing precisely who your website should appeal to. Your content’s fit with that audience’s need is what makes you successful online.
Whether you’re launching a new website or updating your existing one, that means the following:
1. Start From Square One By Defining Your Ideal Customer
Before you write a single word for your website, it’s wise to know exactly who you’re addressing. A buyer persona is a common, effective way to centralize all your knowledge (and best guesses) about your customers in one place. This empowers you to develop content specifically for the customers you want most.
Each of your products and services might have multiple use cases, requiring additional buyer personas. Pain points, demographic background, immediate goals, and life aspirations are all considered in a buyer persona. If you don’t have any pre-written, your digital marketing agency can work with you to put them together.
2. Research Keywords Relating To Your Business Offerings
Once you know who you’re dealing with, the next thing you need to understand is what they’re searching for. Digital marketing pros give you the answer through keyword research. Keywords are the exact words and phrases users type into Google. By analyzing them, we focus on the ones most likely to produce business value.
Keyword research is a big part of Search Engine Optimization. Virtually everything on your website should use the right selection of relevant keywords. Those keywords should also be reflected in on-page SEO, which uses title tags, metadata, and other factors to send additional signals that identify your content to search engines.
3. Create Content That Bridges Buyer And Keywords
A keyword is often not a full-fledged idea for a blog post, video, or infographic. Instead, it’s a broad outline that you and your marketing team need to fill with meaning for your website visitors. Take for instance the keyword time management. What particular topic in time management best serves your ideal customers?
As you publish content that helps your audience reach their goals, you’ll have more pages competing to rank high for relevant keywords. Your digital marketing team can move the process along by promoting your content and securing backlinks, literally links back to your website from other authoritative websites in your field.
Content is king when it comes to visibility on Google, so you’ll want to commit to a blogging calendar.
Your marketing agency can keep you on track with professional blog writing to fill out your schedule.
Your Business Sinks Or Swims By How You Convert Traffic Into Leads
As your library of content grows and your website gets more links and shares, you’re less likely to see your pages’ search ranks dip and spike. Done well, consistent promotion of your content leads to more and more traffic each month. But without a plan to turn traffic into leads, only a fraction of visitors become customers.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Use Lead Magnets To Turn Visitors Into Subscribers
A lead magnet is a detailed and deeply researched piece of content that showcases your expertise. It gives your future customers advice they can put into practice fast, usually focused on a personal or professional problem they need to resolve urgently – and can tackle with your assistance.
To get access to a lead magnet, visitors agree to join your email marketing list. Since this puts them on your radar in a big way, they become leads. A lead magnet needs to be high quality and provide immediate value so subscribers won’t simply unsubscribe after they get a hold of it. Luckily, that behavior is fairly rare.
2. Nurture Relationships Through Email Marketing
Once someone is on your marketing list, you have access to their email inbox any time of day or night. As your list grows, your dependence on Google shrinks. In fact, some digital marketing experts feel your email list is the single most important marketing asset you can build online.
Like your blog posts and other website content, your email messages need to deliver consistent value. With every email that succeeds at this, you strengthen your position as a trusted advisor subscribers can rely on. That trust gives rise to the new customer’s first buy and the relationship to follow.
3. Always Be Ready To Serve New Customers
Your website should make it easy to follow up with customers and finalize appointments. An omnichannel approach to customer service that uses email, social media, telephone, and chat or text is most effective today. Being equipped to follow up with inquiries within ten minutes sets the stage for a thriving relationship.
Google is important, but you can foster marketing resources to flourish even when big changes rattle the search world. To learn more or get started, contact us at New York Ave.