On Friday 8th May, our Communications Manager Natasha Clarke and Client Lead Sarah Nagra, attended a digital bootcamp organised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). The event explored organic search marketing and covered a range of paid search activities. Here are their key take aways from the event:
SEO is a marketing channel
As marketers, we turn to search engine optimisation, just like other marketing channels, in order to get more for our clients: more sales, more enquiries, more traffic to their site, more leads…
Making sense of Google
Search marketing is not something we have to ‘win’ or battle against. What we have to remember is that Google is for the people. If your business is directly related to a particular search term, there is no reason why best practice efforts can’t be made to get a great search ranking result on that term.
Google is a product and it has customers, individuals like you and I. It is a business that wants to provide its customers with the best service: the right search results. Google wants people to use it, so it makes sense that it is going to do its hardest to present people with the right answer. It’s job is to make sense of an enormous library of information and find what is most relevant to that search term or query.
Search ranking methodology
Google’s search ranking methodology is based on measuring things. Search ranking isn’t based on feelings, emotion or opinion. It’s based on measuring the facts. Google measures a host of different things to work out the relevancy of your website to certain search terms. Theses can be broken down into three key categories:
- Keywords naturally within the content of your website – Does this search term appear in this website’s content?
- Usability and engagement – How many visits have their been to this website, from this key word? And crucially, how many of those visits have continued their journey on this website? How many have returned back to the results page (SERP’s)?
- Location – We’re all starting to come round to the idea that Google has access to our location and whereabouts, cue the following mobile pop-up message: ‘”Insert App name” would like to use your current location. This allows access to location information in maps, photos and video’. How many of us now simply add ‘near by’ to the end of our Google searches? A lot.
- Different types of content – There is an assumption that having different types of content; videos, industry articles and info graphics, is going to improve search results. However, it’s about the affect this content has on engagement, which Google is able to measure. If these types of content are relevant to those who are visiting your site, this will be communicated to Google through their time spent on that page, playing that video, sharing that article…
- Speed and load time of content on your site. Everyone hates that spinning, loading wheel of death. Google recognises this and therefore, the speed of your website can have an affect on your ranking. This goes for the number of broken pages or errors on your site too. It’s about making it easy for the user to use.
- Optimised for mobile – As you may know, Google recently stated that responsive web design is their recommended mobile configuration, and the industry best practice. Read more about the importance of ensuring your website is optimised for mobile here.
Authority – So this is the big one…
- Relevant links – When we talk about a website’s authority, Google measures this by looking at who that website is connected too, sometimes referred to as its ‘neighbourhood’. Who is this website linked to? It’s also important to get others to link back to your site.
- Social signals – Having a social media link on your website is not enough to increase your search results. However, if you’re active on social, your followers are engaged and your content is shared, this is something Google can measure. Get people to talk about you, with you and the ultimate goal, for you.
- Number of website visits – Essentially, quality visits with engaged users.
Getting the right combination of these three key areas will undoubtedly aid your search marketing efforts. It’s all about sending Google the right signals. You want to be specific enough in your search marketing to get the right visits to your website too. We like to remind our clients that we would rather just 10 visits to their website that results in 10 purchases, than 1000 visits to their site and no purchases.
What do I do now? How do I start?
Long gone are the days of short, three word searches e.g Eiffel Tower Height. Today, queries are often six to seven words long e.g. How tall is the Eiffel Tower. Plan your content development around these longer queries in order to create good quality, engaging content that is crucially, relevant to the user.
So, think about the different types of customers you have and segment your audience into groups. For each group think about the questions these people will have about your service or product. These questions turn into ‘topics’. It is best practice to write content around these topics, rather than the specific key word.
SEO is never done
Finally, one of the biggest messages to take away from this Search Marketing bootcamp was that, SEO is never finished. It is a long term, on going marketing activity. The underlying principle is simple but it can be tricky to execute.
If you would like to know more about Search Marketing, get in touch with our team today. At Mackman we work with a number of clients to support their search marketing activity and get them on the right track to obtaining those all important high search ranking results.