Bob Dylan once sang, “The times they are a changin”. This is true now more than ever. Online marketing is not what it once was, and 2016 has brought around with it many changes that affect how businesses operate on the internet level. It has become more competitive than ever to maintain your rank with search engines, and expectations for content and design quality are steadily rising. By building your site properly, and focusing on well produced content, you can ensure that you’ll stay ahead of the curve in this competitive marketplace. Here are SIX simple tricks that will help you stay in first place in the neck to neck race of SEO.
Google has proudly announced that more than half of all searches are done through mobile. This can be through smartphones, tablets or smartwatches, and with each additional device that can perform searches, the chances of your brand being discovered increases. Mobile compatibility has become so important, that google has included mobile optimization as a factor in quality ranking. Any effective SEO strategy for this year and moving forward will have a prominent place for mobile, ensuring that site content and relevant back links are optimized and visually appealing for mobile devices.
Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, and so on are becoming more and more popular in terms of promoting and boosting SEO. Search engines can then scour these social media sites in performing searches, meaning that the higher ranked your brand posts are on social media sites, the higher your visibility on search engine. When Google displays Twitter links to your brand in the search results, users are more likely to associate with your products and services.
Marketing has come a long way from having your brand published in a newspaper. Businesses are experimenting with new and intriguing ways of captivating consumers, and one that has proven extremely effective is videos. A large chunk of Google searches are for videos, and users are much more likely to visit a webpage that has some sort of relevant video relating to its products. Especially when you post videos through a site like YouTube, you are increasing your chances even more of being noticed by search engines. Because Google can more easily index videos posted through YouTube, it will display video results higher up on the page than organic results. If your videos are optimized for high quality viewing on mobile devices, you boost your chances even higher.
With new handheld driving laws, human desire for multitasking, and the rise of virtual assistants such as Google Now and Siri, voice search is no longer a gimmick meant only for Star Trek fans. Voice search has become a functional way of finding search results while on the go, exercising, or even in the bathtub. It’s faster than typing something out on a keyboard, and provides a level of engagement that a regular Google search cannot. Voice assistants have taken on a quirky niche with both young and old users, making the experience of asking for directions or finding local food more personal and entertaining.
People are inherently lazy. They don’t want to have to visit more than one site or link to find all the relevant information they need. If someone wants to find a local Italian restaurant, they don’t want to have to check three different applications to find the location, phone number, and then menu. Rather, by using features such as Knowledge Graph, local search, map results, and so on, they can find all the restaurants details in one place, plainly laid out to provide all the relevant information. By properly indexing the content and info on your site, you ensure that potential customers will find only such concise results, strengthening the appeal of your business. Focus on ‘content aggregation’; consolidating all your business info to appeal better to your target audience.
Don’t forget the importance of local SEO. Generic results no longer cut it, as your audience wants to know exactly where, how, and what time to find you. When users search for a store, they generally want to visit it that same day, and without accurate local information they won’t be able to do so. Mobile searches will generally focus on local results, meaning that your local SEO has to be mobile optimized as well. Mobile apps have been popular for some time now, and the hype surrounding will only continue to grow as these apps perform more and more functions.
In China, apps such as WeChat are used to perform a wide variety of functions, ranging from simple communication, managing personal accounts, to performing local product searches. Apps in North America are beginning to replicate these features, embodying in themselves more and more features, many of which rely on search aggregators finding clear, dense information about brands and businesses. As mobile apps overtake desktop, your brands only hope to be noticed by local audiences will be to develop a powerful mobile and local search optimization strategy.
As always, quality content will get you quality results. By building powerful strategies that focus on mobile devices, social media, and audience engagement, you can ensure that your brand will be successful in the developing online market. Most importantly, you can future proof your goals by starting early, and riding the waves of online growth all the way to success.
Ari Rush is President of Rush Ventures, a Toronto SEO (https://rushventures.com/) and digital marketing agency. Prior to Rush Ventures, Ari led a marketing technology company, which helped more than 1,500 clients generate online traffic. Earlier in his career, Ari founded an online telecommunications firm, which he sold to a private equity group based out of Arizona. Ari has lectured at places such as Ryerson University and BizLaunch, one of the largest small business training companies in North America.