You’ve heard the joke “Where do you bury a dead body?” “On the second page of search results.” Now that you’re done laughing, we’re here to tell you it’s true. If you’re a number cruncher, we’ve given you statistics that back up the joke; if the numbers aren’t enough to convince you, we’ve got other numbers for you to consider: revenue received from the increase in website traffic from search engine optimization. In this post, we’re going to give you the missing piece of the puzzle: the five reasons that SEO generates increased website traffic and extra business revenue.
In the past, you knew where your website stood in search engine rankings. Not anymore. Today’s search engine results are focused on user experience, with the goal of giving users customized results based on their preferences and location. Getting your website to the top of those users’ search engine results is a challenge, and an ever-evolving one, but a worthy investment of time and effort that gets results for five key reasons:
- Local SEO technology gets you in front of local customers. Yes, we’re stating the obvious. Local search engine optimization technology can get you in front of search engine listings in towns and cities within a 10, 20 or 50 mile radius. Even if you don’t sell products online, or have any interest in e-commerce, you need to integrate search engine optimization into your marketing strategy because that’s where people are looking for products, services and information—-a lot of people. With more than 90% of users turning to search engines for information, local SEO technology—like KD Interactive’s—can get your business website in organic search engine listings using long-tail keywords your audience searches for.
- A beautiful and functional website is not enough. “There,” you think, “I’ve invested in this website. Customers come and find me!” Unfortunately that’s not how it works. Customers have a lot of online options, and studies have shown that they make more than 60% of their purchasing decision online. So how do you get your new website found? Contact a reputable company that can achieve results with search engine optimization, updated content and social media marketing. Together, these three digital marketing tools get your website found by local customers—and keep you there.
- Search engines are replacing phone books. Statistics are proof of an trend: 54% of Americans have substituted the Internet and local search for phone books (comScore) and a startling 95% of smartphone users have looked for local information (Source: The Mobile Movement Study, Google/Ipsos OTX MediaCT , Apr 2011). More and more, American consumers are looking to the internet to find local solutions and information. If you’re not online, you’re not on their radar.
- Your competitors are using it. We’ll be honest; we don’t know if your specific competitors are using SEO. However, we do know that thousands of businesses are utilizing digital marketing tools including search engine optimization, social media marketing and content marketing as part of their marketing strategy—and getting results.
- It works. Paid search engine optimization technology is one of the most effective online marketing tools for businesses. One of our clients, a local print company, was positioned at the top of search engines just a week after utilizing our SEO technology. Their results were localized, with their company showing up in cities and towns search results within 30 miles of their location including a major metropolitan area. They also invested in content marketing to keep their site content updated and give their customers value, yielding long-term results; their printing firm has remained at the top of the major search engines—Google, Yahoo and Bing—since launch. Better search engine results have meant more digital exposure for their business, and stronger opportunity for online conversions. Another one of our clients, a flooring company, saw their website traffic double in just four months because of search engine optimization. In 30 days, their unique visits increased 122% and hit an impressive increase of 200%. Website traffic is just a number unless you can convert those visits to customer interest. The flooring company receives form submissions every week from potential customers, with 60% of those visits stemming from their search engine optimization package. If you want to tap into that same local search engine technology to get results for your company, read our blog post about SEO terminology or see it in action.
We recently saw a graphic that pointed out that what you often view as basic or common knowledge, others see as advanced—and often you don’t even realize it. It made us realize: they’re RIGHT. We have found that saying to especially apply to search engine optimization (SEO), an online technology many don’t understand, and is dogged by SEO lies and misunderstandings. Perhaps because of the latter, there seems to be a lot of basic things that people don’t understand (even beyond the terminology and acronyms). So, without further adieu, here are our answers to some of the things people don’t know about SEO (or at least get you started):
- SEO requires research. If you want to get max results from a SEO program, you have to know things—or find them out. The first, and most important, piece of information is identifying your audience. Who are your customers, and potential customers? What do they want to know? What problems do they have? If you want to know if a SEO firm is genuine, ask them about their keyword research. Legitimate firms do an extensive amount of research to get the best results for their clients.
- You don’t have to put a lot of effort into SEO. SEO can be intimidating and overwhelming. There’s so much to know, and the list seems to keep getting longer: website structure, content optimization, graphic alt text descriptions…you get the idea. While optimizing a website takes a lot of effort, you don’t have to be the one to put in the effort—or to keep up with the latest evolutions in SEO. The answer: outsource to a company that can. There’s nothing wrong with trusting another company with your SEO program, social media or content marketing. To be clear: that doesn’t mean you won’t have to do ANYTHING. Your SEO firm needs your input to create and manage an online marketing presence in line with your business goals.
- Even if you don’t sell products online, you still need local SEO. Local search engine optimization technology can get you in front of search engine listings in towns and cities within a 10, 20 or 50 mile radius. Even if you don’t sell products online, or have any interest in e-commerce, you need to integrate search engine optimization into your marketing strategy to drive potential customers to your brick-and-mortar location. With more than 90% of users turning to search engines for information, local SEO technology (like KD Interactive’s) can get your business website in local potential customers’ organic search engine listings using long-tail keywords your audience searches for. Statistics don’t lie: 54% of Americans have substituted the Internet and local search for phone books (comScore), and a startling 95% of smartphone users have looked for local information (Source: The Mobile Movement Study, Google/Ipsos OTX MediaCT , Apr 2011).
- SEO is always, ALWAYS evolving. Today’s SEO is not your grandma’s game of stuffing a page full of the same keyword. In fact, those kind of old-school SEO tactics, and black hat SEO tactics, can get your website penalized and kick your company off the digital map. Like most online marketing tools, SEO is a freight train running down the tracks. If you’re tired of trying to keep up, find a company that does.
- SEO is an integral part of your online marketing strategy. One of our clients, a flooring company, saw their website traffic double in just four months because of search engine optimization. In 30 days, their unique visits increased 122% and hit an impressive increase of 200%. Website traffic is just a number unless you can convert those visits to customer interest. The flooring company receives form submissions every week from potential customers, with 60% of those visits stemming from their search engine optimization package. Fact is: local SEO works. If you have any other questions or want to see it in action, ask us. Breaking down the basics of SEO, and making it work for you, is our job—and it’s one we don’t take lightly.
Just because your company doesn’t sell products online, or have any interest in e-commerce, doesn’t mean that you don’t need digital marketing. Statistics don’t lie: 54% of Americans have substituted the Internet and local search for phone books (comScore), and a startling 95% of smartphone users have looked for local information (Source: The Mobile Movement Study, Google/Ipsos OTX MediaCT , Apr 2011). So how do you use digital marketing to your business’ advantage?
- Get your primary audience’s attention. There are a number of ways to accomplish the goal, but the first step in the process is to follow the first rule of marketing: know your audience. Who do you sell to? Who is looking for your product? Once you have that key piece of information, invest your marketing budget and efforts into digital marketing tools that work (and marketing experts recommend): search engine optimization, content marketing and social media marketing. Contact a company that specializes in local search engine optimization (SEO) and can use their technology to get you in the top search engine rankings on Google, Yahoo and Bing in surrounding areas. They can create information that your audience wants and use their knowledge of conversion rates to turn them into customers. In addition, they can find social media platforms where your audience is at and create content for your website that they want to click on. The result: a multi-channel digital marketing strategy designed to get your audience’s attention, build trust and convert them to customers (and is far more affordable than you would think!).
- Create great headlines. All great website and content marketing headlines have a commonality: they speak to your audience. Whether that is through an attention-grabbing headline (e.g. 5 things you’re doing wrong) or a title that speaks to their pain point or entertains them. Common examples of good headlines include:
- Questions (How can I fix this?)
- List (5 Ways to fix your problem)
- Shocking (5 Horrible Mistakes You’re Making Fixing Your Problem)
- What’s not a good headline? A title that tricks the user and doesn’t deliver. Don’t produce a headline to get their attention, or uses all the key words that your audience is looking for, and doesn’t deliver any value. Remember, the best way to sell to a customer is to build their trust. Misleading them has the opposite effect.
- Use different media and visuals. Don’t use a one-size-fits-all mentality when planning and selecting visuals for your digital marketing efforts. Create videos and graphics for every different preference, or purchase them. Use them on your social media channels, on your website and in your content marketing channels for maximum impact.
- Craft a strong call-to-action (CTA). The definition of a CTA is not always about a purchase. A call-to-action can be a graphic, asking your audience to contact you with questions (remember you want to build trust) or inviting their input (about a product, a funny picture, anything). Whether writing a draft for new page on your website or writing a post for your blog, don’t forget to include a CTA.
- Keep testing. A website is not a static animal to be published and left for 5-10 years. Rather, evolve your website, social media, content marketing and digital sales tactics to fit your customers’ needs (remember they come first) and improve their buying experience. That’s what so great about online marketing: it changes and morphs with the world (think about the impact of mobile devices on digital marketing). Your job, as a B2C or B2B company—remember it’s all about marketing to humans!—is to grow with it.
If you don’t have the time, or resources internally, to take on these digital marketing channels, outsource. We’ve said it before: there’s not shame or blame in outsourcing. Rather, it allows you to focus your efforts on what you’re good at (like running your company) and puts your digital marketing efforts into the experts’ hands. Experts who have the expertise and knowledge of evolving digital marketing trends and can convert them into local sales. It’s a partnership with great results, and a great return on your investment.
What’s worse than trying and failing? Not trying at all. We’re continually amazed at business owners and managers who view online marketing as an unknown abyss never to be crossed or even attempted. Or worse, they take a stab at these digital marketing tools, give up and make a snap judgment that “it’s just not worth it.” We understand the hesitation. To be sure, digital marketing is a marathon that takes time and effort—far more than it appears on the surface. You just write a few sentences, add them to your blog and post them to Facebook and Twitter right? Or you take a few photos and upload them on Instagram and Pinterest?
If you’re reading this, chances are you know that’s not true, and how easy it is to slip into common online marketing mistakes. We’ve written about some of these mistakes in two separate past blog posts and how you can learn from them (Part I & Part II)—mistakes that everyone makes, from the smallest shops to the largest brands:
- Not focusing on your local customers online. The world-wide web is a big, big world. It’s easy to feel lost among all the sites, and for your customers to feel that way as well. Who can they turn to when they have a problem? How can they find a local business they can trust? That’s where search engine optimization can give you that local connection, even among the billions of websites online. Search engine optimization is an affordable digital marketing technology that can propel your website to the top of local search engine results, if you contact a digital manufacturing firm with proven results. What does that mean? It means when local customers search for your services and products on Google, Yahoo, and Bing, they find your website, and all your great content, at the top of the listings.
- Abandoning your social media sites. Social media has many advantages: a free connection to your customers (and potential customers), unsolicited testimonials, ability to provide excellent customer service, and a chance to sell your business and products. That’s why it’s a head scratcher when a business jumps on social media and then abandons ship. Or worse, when someone from the business starts a social media profile, adds a few posts on an inconsistent basis and then abandons it. If you decide on a social media site that fits your business, go ‘all in’—either allocate time to post regular and relevant posts, or hire a firm that can.
- Using the ‘if we build it, they will come’ philosophy. Don’t just set up a Facebook or Pinterest page without spreading the word about your social media presence. Use these tips to make sure the world knows your company is social (and responsive to their feedback!), and that you’re ready to start giving out information and insider tips on your new page or profile.
- Not following through on content marketing. Don’t let down your potential customers by giving them this content marketing trap: finding an article with a title that makes them think they’ve found the latest and greatest information they’re looking for, only to find that the article is full of outdated information and that the blog hasn’t been touched for years. It doesn’t reflect well on your company or build trust with your potential customers. If you find you can’t keep up with posting content on a regular basis, contact experts that can.
- Not integrating your marketing efforts. Don’t treat your print, media, content marketing and social media marketing like it’s a stand-alone feature. One hand should know what the other is doing for optimal marketing results. Create a promotion plan, and use a consistent voice. Your customers associate everything they see and hear about your company with your brand; it’s up to you to make sure all the dots connect. If you don’t have time to connect the dots, outsource. There’s no shame or blame in putting your marketing efforts in the expert’s hands. At the end of the day, you’ll find that working with an online marketing firm can make the marathon easier—and help you avoid all those common online marketing mistakes.