In spite of the compelling TV ads for do-it-yourself website builders, they are not the simple path to success. Internet marketing, at its basic level, is no different than any other medium. To succeed you need to present your message to a potential customer at a time when they are interested. It's as simple as that.
A dazzling website is no more effective than a massive billboard on a country road that no one travels. Fortunately, it is a lot easier to get qualified traffic to your dazzling website than it is to relocate the massive billboard to a high traffic location.
I know what you are thinking. Another pitch for smoke and mirrors SEO. No. SEO, as we have come to know it, is dead. That is, the tweaking of your website to impress the search engines, more specifically Google, is an expensive waste of time. In fact, traditional SEO techniques may actually harm your position in the Google search results. Google has taught its AI to look for SEO tricks and optimizations.
When it comes to creating content for your website, you only need to follow one simple rule: Forget all the keyword tricks and simply write for your human audience. And, add new content as frequently as you can. Google likes fresh content. It means you’re alive and kicking and offering more content for your (and Google’s) audience.
Google’s AI is getting closer and closer to human-like understanding every day. They continue to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in this ongoing effort. Good quality content, created to impress humans will do more to impress Google than the mumbo jumbo, smoke-and-mirrors SEO tricks of yesteryear.
Ok, great advice. Quality content will impress Google and I will move to the top of the search results causing massive amounts of traffic to come to my dazzling website with my perfectly-written marketing message. Right? Well partially right.
The content on your website only represents about 40% of the determination as to your position within the search results. Don't hold your breath waiting for business. You should face the reality that your website is only one small piece of the Internet marketing puzzle.
Let's assume you have done a perfect job of writing your title and description to the point where it is the absolute answer to the question the searcher had in mind when they entered the search argument. Let’s also assume Google then displays your title and description as number one in their search results. What happens next?
Well, the searcher has to run a gauntlet of Ads, maps, and information snippet's before they even see your perfectly written title and description. Google has about 20 different search result formats when you count all the variations and they’re all designed to keep you on the search results page until you click on an ad. Why? Because that’s where the money is. Google makes about 135 billion dollars a year from ad revenue.
Ok. Let’s further assume a searcher makes it past all the distractions and clicks on your listing and is now on the way to your dazzling, beautiful, award-winning WordPress website. Unfortunately, there is one more thing to consider. The odds are your visitor is using a mobile phone because more than 60% of Google searches come from mobile phones.
A large percentage of smartphone users are on a 4G connection. Your beautified dazzling WordPress web site takes 3.5 seconds to load, which is very fast for a WordPress website. Google's own statistics tell us 53% of visitors will have already bailed out and selected a different search result by the 3-second point in the page load cycle.
It sounds a little depressing. You have spent thousands on your dazzling website, paid a consultant thousands more for smoke-and-mirrors SEO and now you realize that you are not getting all the Internet has to offer. This is the reality of marketing your company on the web.
So what's the answer.
The answer is to re-align your digital marketing priorities. Utilize free services effectively and spend your digital marketing budget efficiently.
Utilize the free services
You may have noticed the map, with three listings next to it, in the search result. This area is known as Google My Business (GMB), it's a free listing, and it is near the top of the search results. The inclusion of a website in the "3 Pack" listing is heavily determined by the physical proximity of the business to the searcher. The GMB listing won't show if the search argument is of a global nature. I will be doing a blog post on GMB soon. This is probably the most underused free opportunity on the internet for local businesses. If you need some help you take advantage of GMB I recommend my friend, Gary Blackman at Marketing First, https://marketingfirst.com.
You may have also noticed the "snippets", 40 to 50-word text blocks providing a quick answer to the question posed in the search query. I did a blog post on this "Google in a transition from a search engine to an answer engine".
With all these distractions presented before your, number one, organic listing you would think Google doesn't want anyone to click on the organic listings. Would you be shocked to know that 47% of the time (60% on mobile) the searcher finds what they are looking for without clicking on an Ad or organic listing? Google want's to keep the searcher engaged with the search results until they click on an ad. Google processes 70,000 search requests per second. All those are chances for an Ad click. Ad clicks represent the bulk of Google's 162 billion dollars in annual revenue.
How can you get the most out of your digital marketing Budget?
Have a simple, fast, mobile-friendly, brochure style website as the digital face of your company. It should provide helpful information in a way that Google will be encouraged to capture and include snippets in their search results. Write for humans, don't waste money on in-depth SEO. Your website is mainly for people looking directly for your company, so it should tell your story with minimum graphics and short concise paragraphs.
Take full advantage of your free GMB listing if your market is local. Consider getting professional help.
Get a Facebook business page and post occasionally. Keep in mind some people think Facebook is the Internet.
If your business is "visual" post photos on Instagram.
If you buy ads do not link directly to your website. Link to a very fast AMP landing page with a clear call to action.