With the internet now the most used channel for communication, promotion and transactions, a strong online presence can make or break a business. SEO and SEM have become part of everyday business vocabulary, however with the developing search engine algorithms and the ever-changing user generated content, the application of these concepts is constantly evolving.
Search engines are smart, and they are changing on a daily basis. However there are a few recommendations around managing online content that can assist in getting search engines to consider your information as a useful and relevant source.
Beyond your website, you need to manage the content via alternative channels. The use of Google Maps, online directories and social media are becoming much more important to consumers as sources of relevant and up to date information. Businesses need to ensure their details on these channels are current and provide the right information to engage with their market.
Find the right keywords
The right words are paramount in effective online marketing; more so than a glamorous site design. If a consumer begins reading your content and the copy is badly written, too complex or not relevant, they won’t be convinced on the credibility of your company. Choosing the right words for your audience is the initial step in building a relationship that can hopefully turn into a transaction.
You need to have an in-depth insight into your audience and what language or keywords they’ll be searching for online. Try using Google’s keyword suggestion tool for developing your SEO and SEM strategies. This tool assists in the identification of the most popular search terms around your content. Using the right keywords, but not overusing them, will drive better results and maximise your return on investment online.
Your audience is more likely to share relevant content and this should be a key objective in managing your online presence. When your information is shared, it increases your visibility to search engines and in turn increases your rankings in search results. Tailor the content to your audience by:
- Capturing them through relevant and targeted language
- Telling a story, it’s a great way to hold onto a reader
- Prompting a desire to interact with your brand or product, instinctively positioning your company as the best to service their needs
- Call to action – include a link to the next page or contact window.
Quality content needs to constantly evolve. Every piece of content should be relevant to current news in your industry and either provide intelligence or entertain your readers.
When developing content for your website and online listing think about what issues or challenges your audience might be searching for solutions to, and cover this in your content. It conveys the message that you are knowledgeable about your industry, and builds trust and authority towards your audience. Make sure your content across the different channels is consistent, repeating your message will have a larger impact than trying to cover different topics on different mediums.
The importance of quality social content
Search results are now producing not only company driven content on your website and online directory listings, but it also brings up comments from social media. Negative comments through social media next to your links on Google can lower the engagement of the audience, so it’s imperative to have a social content management strategy in place.
Generating positive buzz through conversations on social media, maps or online directories can impact your search engine rankings. Search engine robots are designed to consider social content or recommendations as more authentic, and the more positive comments and ‘likes’ around your brand, the more credibility search engines attach to it. Your social content should be authentic, simple and succinct, while also maintaining a conversational feel to it.
Measurement and Tracking
Gathering data around what’s being said about you online, what your customers are searching for and where they are coming from is key to keeping you ahead in the SEO game. Integrate online and offline tracking tools to ensure you are maximising your SEO and SEM campaigns.
SEO and SEM processes are changing, and changing at a faster pace each day. Consumer’s expectations are rising and they can easily access a balance of positive and negative information online. However this doesn’t necessarily mean a challenge for businesses. Ultimately, having quality and relevant content, processes and measurement tools, is the best way to respond to the evolving online landscape.
– Raffael Fernandes is the Account Manager at FranchiseBusiness.com.au, which is the official online business directory of the Franchise Council of Australia, listing franchises and service providers.