Seek, But Will you be Found?
As of October 2019, Google held a whopping 92% share of the United States organic search market, and 95% of mobile searches (Statistia.com). How many searches? Nearly 12 billion. It’s safe to say that no one will be telling you to “Bing” your question about the mating season of Alaskan caribou anytime soon.
Google, as a verb, is here to stay. It and other search engines crawl the web daily indexing content to make available to search users. Google wants to succeed by being effective in its search results, helping people find what they are looking for. You want to succeed by making sure that Google believes that your site and content is their answer.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art and science of ensuring Google “likes” your site and returns it first and foremost in search results for relevant search terms. Google's actual and ever-changing algorithm is a closely guarded secret. Despite this, there are still a few things you can do to make your websites, blogs, YouTube videos, and Amazon product listings more appealing to search engines.
Armed with this intelligence, you can now fine-tune your site's content and meta tags to convince Google that you offer one of the best answers for searchers. Localizing your content to connect with people in your neighborhood is also critical for businesses with a defined local market. For mobile users, especially, the 76% who search on their smartphone for a product or service nearby will visit that business within a day and 28% will end up making a purchase.
Google will also judge you on your looks. Your site must be clean in design, load quickly, and provide easy navigation. Users have little patience for slow-loading websites, especially on mobile devices. Over half will leave a site if it doesn’t load in three seconds, and a drop from five seconds to one second decreases the chance a user will give up by 90% (bounce rate). Want to check your own website’s load speed? Plug your URL into Test My Site.
A thorough assessment of your current strengths and weaknesses and a comparative analysis of your competitors is the starting point for a site (or other digital property) optimization plan. Much like the social media strategy we covered earlier in What's the Plan, goals to be set should be realistic. SEO efforts are ongoing, and your site needs re-evaluation on a routine basis. Websites are perpetually jockeying for position in Google's search result pages. It’s an investment in longer-term rewards.
We’ll get into the ROI on this investment, as well as deeper into some of the web analytics used to measure success in future posts.
By the way, the caribou mating season runs from October-November. I know this because nhpbs.org has top drawer search engine optimization. And so should you.
Need site optimization and a solid SEO strategy? We have the Aptitude for that.