If your business has a website, or you’re planning to build one for it, you’ve undoubtedly read reams of information and advice about search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). One critical point that many of those sources often skim over or miss, though, is how SEO and SEM are used differently to accomplish different goals.
It’s important to know what, precisely, you need your website to do for your business before you start laying out strategies or designing pages. If your business is conducted entirely online, your SEO/SEM efforts will be aimed at generating web traffic and engagement, and generating leads without concern for the location of those prospects. If you need to attract consumers to your location, though, your website and digital advertising strategies need to use SEO and SEM tactics much differently.
Learn How Consumers Use Search Engines To Find Local Businesses
The level of sophistication in search engine algorithms has multiplied exponentially in recent years, and the expectations of users have risen right along with that level. Also, more users than ever before rely on using smartphones to give them instant information, relative to their surroundings.
In a study by Google, 80 percent of mobile users said that they expect to be shown location-specific ads, not just generic ads, tangentially related to their current search or location. WordPress support services will be able to help your website implement all these crucial steps and features to gain more customers and leads for your site.
“Near Me” Searches – Four out of five users in the Google study used search terms like “near me,” a city or district name, or ZIP code to find a local business. Make it easy for those consumers to find your business by including your address and a “Get Directions” button on every page of your site, along with your phone number and a “Call Us” button. It’s also helpful to include location-based keywords in your web copy.
Immediate Action – Another finding from the Google study that should give businesses a reason to think seriously about designing their sites specifically for ranking high in local search engine results is that 50 percent of smartphone users, and 34 percent of tablet and computer users visited a business from their search engine results the very same day.
Mobile Users Dominate – As the number of mobile users for local searches outstrips the number of computer users, it’s critical for businesses to understand the specific behaviors of mobile users. If your website doesn’t satisfy mobile users’ needs, you’re going to be losing business. Google, Bing, and Yahoo all penalize websites that are not fully mobile responsive, but mobile users themselves also penalize those sites by abandoning them, often permanently.
Approximately 20 percent of mobile users will give up trying to use a business website of the page doesn’t load within 5 seconds; an additional 30 percent will give up between 6 and 10 seconds of wait time. Your website’s design needs to include a design that displays effectively on mobile browsers, and optimized page-load protocols, so you’re well inside that “under 5 seconds” category.
ROI ON Digital Ads – Once you’ve developed a website that is fully mobile-responsive, and features a carefully crafted sales funnel – one that pulls the reader from your landing page through content that will help them decide on your products, and take action – along with lead magnets such as bonus content or special offers, you’re ready to take full advantage of digital advertising like Facebook Ads or AdWords.
Digital ads offer tools like demographic targeting, as well as location extensions, geographic radius bidding, and location bid adjustment, which help you realize the best ROI possible by targeting the consumers who are most ready to come to your location and buy things.
Use Tailored SEO Strategy To Bring In More Local Traffic And Leads
By building an effective business website that walks consumers through a carefully crafted process, incenting them to provide lead data, and making it easy and attractive for them to visit your location immediately, your company gains a solid foundation for successful advertising and conversion.
Modern consumers are always looking for the latest information about places, events, and people – and they want honest information in real-time. Whether they realize it or not, what they want is user-generated content published by other users who are sharing their experience with a brand.
Search engines like Google don’t provide this type of real-time information, but fellow social media users do! As consumers become turned off by the static sites and dated content on Google, they’re beginning to use social search as a way to discover the latest information they want.
Social search is capable of satisfying the hundreds of micro-moments consumers experience on a daily basis. The need to know, do, go or buy right now means people are turning to their smartphones to conduct quick searches for relevant information at that moment. When users don’t find what they’re looking for on mobile search, social sites are the next place they look.
You can use the search function on any social site such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. The catch is that you are dependent on your fellow “micro-content producers” – that is, the millions of people who post to social media every day – to effectively categorize the results from their micro-moments. Using hashtags, checking in, and using location tagging makes a post public and searchable to other users.
If searching individual sites is too inconvenient, or you want a larger sampling of results from multiple social sites, there are several social search engines that pull results from all the major platforms. Easy to use and free, these search engines return real-time results for the topic you’re interested in.
Smashfuse and SocialMention, and even Google-based Social Searcher are some of the most popular social search engines.
With consumer micro-moments driving the demand for instantaneous information, brands should expect the popularity of social search to grow in coming years. While an effective social media marketing strategy is more important than ever, user engagement will be central to a brand’s success with social search.
This is because consumers want candid content from other users. They want to know when people visited a place or purchased a product, what they thought of it, and they want to see pictures and videos of exactly what they can expect.
A brand just can’t be trusted to provide this level of honesty about their products, but other customers can. Knowing consumers are using social to search for others’ experiences, brands can encourage their customers to correctly tag their posts so that they are indexed and easily found in search results.
Hashtags, location tagging and checking in are all ways to make a post public while providing exposure for a brand. The key is to create unique hashtags, share and encourage their use, ask people to check-in when they visit your venue or shop and make sure your location information is correct across all platforms.