In my last blog, I explained how on-page and off-page search engine optimization (SEO) works. To help you achieve better search results, I’d like to delve deeper into some proven SEO techniques. The goal here is to reveal budget-friendly options that can be integrated into a wholistic digital marketing plan to achieve the best search results possible.
Paid advertising is going to be an important part of the mix
There’s no doubt that search engine results are highly influenced by SEM (search engine marketing). Companies like Google and Yahoo make most of their money from SEM, especially from their PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. With PPC, you pay only when someone clicks your ad and visits your website. The most popular PPC program is Google’s AdWords. Like other PPC programs, Google’s AdWords functions as a ‘keyword auction’, as opposed to a set price-per-word. Advertisers bid on keywords that are relevant to their business. Google AdWords run a little differently than standard PPC advertising programs, offering more in terms of upfront education, and using other factors to help determine your ad’s ranking, such as a quality score.
Paid search strategies must be carefully thought through. They can get quite costly if you don’t pay close attention. With Google’s AdWords, your agreed-to cost per click (CPC) is affected by the quality score, which can go up and down. You have some control over it by specifying your SERP (search engine results pages) position preference; for instance, your ad won’t be displayed if it won’t rank in at least your lowest acceptable position.
Planning your PPC advertising campaign is an important way to ensure that you don’t lose your shirt while using it, as pointed out in the WordStream blog on how to use Google AdWords. You might want to check out their infographic, which I found very helpful.
If you understand your customers well enough and bid accordingly, you will be able to achieve not only a lower cost-per-click, but also higher conversion rates and better search engine rankings. This will result in bringing more qualified traffic coming to your site. But, because this is all so complex, you might need help, which is where consultants like Market Vantage and software add-ons come in.
Ways to play to the algorithm to improve visibility organically
Search engines are designed to bring the most popular websites to the top of the search results. So whatever marketing you do to increase visibility of your brand is going to improve your SERP. Here are a few areas entirely within your control that you can use to influence your ranking:
Google purposefully searches for active sites and new content. Blogs can be very effective in keeping your site fresh. But there are additional reasons why blogs help boost your SERP score. When you post a blog, your social media team can send a message out to the world announcing its availability. That message goes over Twitter, shows up on Facebook and LinkedIn, etc. Readers forward your link to friends and suddenly that page has multitudes linking to it. Google recognizes this action and the algorithm pushes up your score. If your blog contains quality content, more people will access your site to read it. And, as your traffic goes up – once again, so does your SERP.
In SEO articles by Neil Patel, he notes that building high quality links is the cornerstone of most SEO campaigns. By connecting with a blogger or advertiser whose content supports your own, you can find a way to partner with them to get a backlink for mutual benefit. It’s not hard – it just takes a little time and effort. In doing so, you gain access to a new audience, help the blogger by promoting his or her site, and increase your own website traffic, which results in boosting your SEO.
Posting videos on YouTube will also further your SEO efforts. A YouTube channel with lots of content shows up higher in search results. Videos on YouTube are given preferential treatment due to both the business relationship with Google and Google’s view on the importance of videos. You can read more about this in the Limitless blog, Benefits of YouTube for SEO.
Free Google tools
There are a number of free services offered by Google to help you boost the visibility of your site. Most of these are designed to help with on-page SEO. Their primary function is to ensure that your site and its content are accurate, clean, safe, and optimized. Four tools immediately come to mind:
Since Google’s primary goal is to connect more people with exactly what they’re looking for, it’s in their best interest to ensure the information they have about you is as complete and accurate as possible. Google My Business will automatically create a business listing for you. But it’s important for you to claim it and populate that real-estate with useful content. Take advantage of the opportunity to upload pictures, insert keywords, and add other pieces of information, such as hours of operation. Remember that Google takes completeness and accuracy of content into account in their search algorithm.
Google Search Console (previously known as Google Webmaster Tools) helps you better understand what Google sees in your website. Google crawls through websites, collecting data from every site out there. Google Search Console allows you to submit updated content for crawling and remove content you don’t want shown in search results. It will provide you with information that Google analytics doesn’t give you, including things that Google analytics historically provided, such as which queries caused your site to appear in the search results.
Google Analytics not only gives you insights into the health and effectiveness of your website, but it also is a powerful tool that can be used to tag and track advertising and social media campaigns. Its ability to integrate with Google AdWords and Search Console provides you with better data for better business decision making.
Google Tag Manager helps you track user actions (like button clicks) and integrate with other traffic sources and tracking tools, including social media platforms and Google Analytics, without having to access the source code of your website and accidentally break anything. You can learn more about the benefits of using Google Tag Manager here.
Google knows who’s known – an integrated digital marketing plan can help
Search engine optimization is about more than just optimizing your site’s ability to be found in today’s digital yellow pages. It’s about a complete digital marketing campaign that drives the awareness of your brand. Campaigns should include some amount of paid advertising, just as any well-balanced marketing campaign does. The key word here is well-balanced. As with any type of marketing, advertising is one of the most expensive ways to market your brand. If you want to save money, invest time and effort in social media, blogging, relationship building, and videos to help boost your SERP organically. Google will inevitably notice and help you along your way.
At Porter Consulting, we have an excellent understanding of the many ways to reach your customers, including creating videos, writing blogs, and using social media. Our social media builder is designed to assist you with the tools and resources you need to take advantage of social media marketing and we have many who can help you with content, including partners like Market Vantage. If you’d like to explore opportunities working with our professionals, we’d love to hear from you.