In what may seem unfortunate, a website is no longer sufficient for a significant or successful digital presence. Essentially, a presence is non-existent without some consideration of search engine optimisation (SEO).
But this too has become one of the basics of ‘going digital’ – a must, rather than a “nice to have”. This begs the question – has the playing field been levelled? And if so, how can your business possibly get ahead when it seems everyone is in on the so-called secret for success?
Well, Nate Burke, CEO of Diginius, a digital marketing and eCommerce specialist firm, explains the SEO sweet spots that remain unexplored, or at least under-utilised, to help businesses really get the most from their digital activity.
It goes without saying that the online marketplace is saturated and will only become even more so as an increasing number of businesses undergo digital transformation. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent impact on physical business practices, this transition accelerated much faster than anticipated.
Consequently, there hasn’t been a gradual switch where businesses have been allowed time to learn and adjust to the new and unfamiliar ways of conducting sales and interactions. Instead, many have found themselves thrust into a marketplace that already feels exhausted. Everyone seems to be doing the same thing and people who may have read the same guides – their knowledge – are fast becoming outdated and no longer provide a way to get an edge on the competition.
But digital is here to stay. We can’t possibly have exhausted its possibilities yet. Fortunately, this is one of the many benefits of the digital landscape – it is constantly evolving as new advancements and innovations are developed.
In terms of SEO, it once really was an activity that not many were focusing on, and for the few that were, there was a great success to be found. However, we have long passed such a time, and SEO elements form the foundations of just about every professional website development project today. Therefore, it can be tough to get ahead of competitors with such tactics.
However, it should be noted that although you might not be able to use basic URL mapping, page speed optimisation and content structuring techniques, for example, to gain an edge, you can quite quickly find yourself falling behind if such foundations are skipped.
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And this ties in quite nicely with one of the first and most important ways to continue seeing SEO success. Remembering that the digital landscape is forever evolving, one should commit time and resource to ensure these foundations remain relevant, updated, and able to support any website’s additions or developments.
When these elements have been built into the early stages of website development, it can be easy to forget about them. But as core parts of the platform, it is not difficult to see why it is so essential that they remain functional and effective over time.
Think Bing and beyond
Another trap that many businesses can find themselves falling into is believing all effort and focus must be placed on Google. While Google does hold significant market share and influence in search engine optimisation trends, it is by no means the only platform that exists.
In fact, Bing holds more than 10 per cent market share in the UK, and this is steadily increasing month by month. Therefore, consideration should also be given to how online presence can be optimised for the Microsoft-owned platform.
And when you begin to monitor your performance on the search engine, you may even find you are yielding better results, including greater impressions and consequently click-through rates (CTR) and higher rankings due to less competition.
Similarly, YouTube and Amazon are rising in popularity and prominence when it comes to consumers searching for products and services. And what may come as a surprise to some, Amazon has actually overtaken Google as the first point of call when searching for a product to purchase.
‘Businesses utilising the marketplace should place greater focus on optimising their product listings as that will enable them to rank higher in results pages.’
In many ways, the marketplace offers consumers a greater intent to purchase, thanks to convenience, choice and better usability in terms of completing a transaction. They no longer have to scroll through pages and pages of text to click through to various websites to get information regarding price, features and availability, as Amazon offers it all in a single view.
Therefore, businesses utilising the marketplace should focus on optimising their product listings, which will enable them to rank higher in results pages.
Just like SEO for Google, Amazon has its own best practices that leverage its ranking algorithm. These include elements such as product titles, brand or seller names, bullet-point features, images, reviews, and so on.
While Amazon is great for high intent transactions, optimising YouTube content is vital to ensure you are capturing customers who are still in the research or discovery phases.
Similarly, businesses should look to ensure video titles and descriptions target the right keywords and phrases for YouTube. And as the platform now transcribes content, it is also crucial that these keywords are mentioned in the video. But most importantly, content needs to be engaging.
Again, there are several best practices for each of these platforms, but essentially, what’s key here is that you remember to focus on them and any efforts on Google, as this will help you establish a strong overall online presence.
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No matter the platforms you choose to optimise your performance on, it will always require a long-term commitment. And although the commitment will pay off in time, businesses looking for short-term results should consider using PPC tactics to supplement their SEO efforts.
The two activities can run hand in hand. If an equal amount of focus and attention is given to both, there is an opportunity to help the other. For instance, if your ads are ranking well and raising awareness of your brand and traffic to your website, there is a greater chance of impacting people’s organic perceptions and recollection of your company. They may even search for your product or service by name or look for your listing in organic results, which could certainly help improve a search engine’s interpretation of your authority and relevance – both of which are key factors for SEO.
Similarly, there really is no harm in taking up additional space on a search engine results page, which is only possible through a ranking ad and organic listing.
It may seem that running both activities will create an extra workload and strain your resources; there are ways to minimise the burden. For example, keyword research can be conducted and applied to both initially and then micromanaged using an integrated software solution to inform and streamline any improvement areas.
Ultimately, there is still a lot left to be discovered and implemented when it comes to optimising your online presence. There really is no one way to go about it, either. Businesses need to look at what is working for them and what isn’t. They also need to know who their competitors are and identify untapped opportunities to help them get ahead. SEO isn’t a game of the following suit, and that is the real secret.