Today, in our age of digital disruption where the internet has evolved so much about the way we do business, things have changed. You’re more likely to find a phonebook in the recycling bin than anywhere else, and classic tactics like these have shifted to what is now Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Why? Because in moments of need: people search online. And more often than not, they’re doing so on their phones. From retail to B2B, today’s average customer begins their search online. As a business: search engine optimization ensures you’re there when they come looking.
Years ago, optimizing your website and reaching the first page was more about manipulating search engines than it was about helping your potential customers. In fact, the process wasn’t much different than the one used by A+ Subs or AAA plumbing: know the system, game the system, profit.
Today, the basics of SEO are much different but no less effective. Modern SEO isn’t a single tactic – but rather, a series of best practices you can apply to stay competitive. To experts, these are often known as “ranking factors” and, over the years, the list has grown as search engines like Google have evolved to ensure the search results they’re providing are relevant, accurate, and helpful. In 2020, Google’s list of Ranking Factors exceeded 200. Do you need to worry about all of them? Absolutely not. To start, compelling content, effective keywords, and a user-friendly website continue to be some of the most important factors to focus on.
Create content your customers are searching for (product pages, collections and articles)
Demonstrate expertise, trust and relationships by generating backlinks.
Remember how user-experience is key? Well, your users are using their phones to research your business more than ever before. That’s a fact. It’s also the entire reason behind Google’s landmark decision to begin ranking websites based on their mobile version in 2019. Consumers expect you to be there with the answers they’re looking for, and a mobile-friendly website helps you do that. Today, small businesses without a mobile-friendly website simply won’t get the same attention as those with one.
One of the most important ranking factors is and will always be user experience, and it’s measured in a number of different ways. When 9 out of 10 consumers clicks your link in search results because they know your information can be trusted: that’s “clickthrough rate,” and it gives search engines important data about relevancy and trustworthiness. When they spend time on your website because it answers their questions or keeps them interested, that time on site is another signal that works in your favor. And it all comes down to effective content and a good experience.
Search engines are obsessed with content. They “crawl” your website’s content frequently to better understand who you are, what you do, and whether or not you’re a good result for a specific search term or phrase. If there’s nothing there – they don’t have a lot go off of. But the most effective small businesses are adding local content, helpful answers, FAQs, and guides that share their expertise and prove their value both to customers and search engines.
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