What Steps are the Most Important for SEO?
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Important Steps to Maximize Online Initiatives in 2022 and Beyond
At the end of the first quarter of 2020, online optimization, along with the economy, was blindsided by the global pandemic. Not only did the major economic indicator, the Gross National Product (GNP), drop precipitously, but also the goods and products distribution supply chain was severely impacted. For eCommerce, that meant there were no available products ready to ship. For leads-based websites, mandated quarantines eliminated their revenue sources.
As a result, back in March 2020, many companies with an online presence opted to pause their search engine marketing strategies in hope that the economy would soon rally, and with it, their online enterprises. A year later to two years later, most clients have resumed their contracts, however, the long break impacted the efficacy of most SEO initiatives.
While not starting from scratch, reversing the ‘damage’ has meant that search engine optimization firms have our work cut out for us. For every client, new resilient SEO strategies have to be crafted to ensure our client business’s metrics not only rally but continue to grow.
Globally in 2021, COVID-19 isolationism boosted eCommerce to $26.7 trillion in sales, but in truth, this number was only up marginally from 2018. As of the first quarter of 2022, firms across many industries have not yet regained or surpassed their 2019 metrics. While conjecture, this may partly be traced to decreased marketing budgets due to pandemic-driven revenue losses.
So as digital marketers today, we often face higher client expectations for less spending. What search engine optimization services can you as digital marketers offer as effective and pandemic resistant SEO strategies to your clients to allow their businesses to continue to rebound and thrive?
Here are some industry trends along with personal observations from the past two years, intended to support increased online business growth, as well as online business survival. Keep these in mind when discussing options with your clients and prospects:
Look to Local
Yes, intermittent COVID-captivity has increased online sales, however, when consumers do venture out, they may not be willing to travel as far as they did previously.
SEO Strategy: Optimize for local SEO for geographic locations. In addition, review your online presence to maintain and grow your brand’s visibility. Is your Google Business Profile up to date? Is your business community-minded? Be sure to highlight any local activities, such as fundraising, donations, etc. utilizing social media to extend your brand’s reach.
When was the last time your site content received more than a refresh? Stale content impacts your site user experience. Remember, Google’s algorithm prioritizes newer content featuring fresh information impacting 35% of online searches. Just as consumers flock to retail outlets to see the latest styles, they expect fresh information via new content whenever they visit your site.
SEO Strategy: You’ve worked hard to achieve rankings and may not want to tamper with existing content. However, it is the job of responsible search engine optimization firms to analyze Google search results, search engine results pages, and ranking algorithms and evaluate which pages are attracting viewership and which are not. Then adapt. High-quality content that compels will continue to attract attention.
Capitalize on user-generated content, up the wattage on your information-focused pages, consider more/newer/fresher/relevant images (which can easily be optimized), and even how-to videos if that will interest your customers.
Relevancy drives rankings. When creating a new piece of content, focus not only on users’ interests but also on their convenience. For example, voice search gains in popularity daily. Optimize your clients’ sites for voice by updating FAQs to be more conversational in tone since user queries will use conversational words, i.e. “Where is the nearest pharmacy in my neighborhood?”. Update blog posts and pages to answer potential questions posed by visitors: “Neighborhood Pharmacies Offer Convenience and a Personal Touch”.
Hear From Industry Experts
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Today, over 25% of Americans over the age of 18 own a Smart speaker system. That equates to about 60 million people and does not include their families, etc. Some stats indicate over 62% of Americans use voice-assisted devices. Consider also that almost 20% of new vehicle owners rely on voice-activated in-dash systems for information and entertainment, a metric that will only increase, so this is not a one-off trend.
SEO Strategy: As part of your SEO optimization services, convince your clients to try something new. Voice search has been looming around the perimeter of many SEO strategies for several years. Now, when looking for that ‘something something’ that will increase your clients’ visibility, remind them that over 111.8 million of us, nationwide, are using it today. And that figure is expected to increase by almost 10% this year. Now’s the time to get on board, ahead of their competitors.
How to incorporate voice search into your SEO agenda? Update websites with a “click to call” option that is easily accessible to mobile users and simple to optimize to gauge its metric value. This one site update offers a great channel that will drive both increased traffic and revenue to your online business.
Hardly the digital marketing stepchild, Social Media can readily be harnessed to improve SEO results, including rankings. The sheer volume of blog posts, Tweets, shares, etc. are the compelling reasons why–over 5 billion communications daily.
SEO Strategy: Harness this powerful medium to your client’s advantage. Shared links across social media outlets will increase brand awareness. This action influences SEO by keeping site content in circulation, ensures a longer lifespan for blog posts, improves organic traffic via increased online visibility, furthers brand reach/recognition, and can boost local SEO ranking signals. Social media is not a support player, it is a powerful platform to enhance organic metrics.
Learn to Pivot
The future for every online business is to remain fluid, and flexible–to shift focus as circumstances warrant. For example, the restaurant industry was among the hardest hit by the pandemic. Restaurants that were shuttered, thereby losing their primary profit source- in-house dining and liquor sales next turned to take-out, delivery, catering, food carts, and food trucks to ride out the storm.
Major retailers, whose warehouses were chock-full, but their store aisles were empty of shoppers, pivoted to curbside delivery options that stressed hygiene and zero personal contact. Not only will these options remain popular afterlife returns to pre-pandemic norms, but also present online enterprises with new opportunities to gain customers and market share to remain competitive.
SEO Strategy: Focus on inclusion/integration of any pandemic pivots your clients may have utilized. It is essential to complete keyword research and assess your target keywords to include these alternate shopping options, both in-store and online. For example, if supply chain delays extended shipping times, and customers were rewarded for their patience, with additional discounts and/or free shipping over a given dollar amount, continue that practice, albeit in moderation.
Redefine convenience as site ease of use. As part of your SEO services, create optimized landing pages to attract new business, citing these improvements that will help to create a more optimal user experience. To retain customers, honesty is paramount. Trust must be earned with each transaction, so deliver what you promise.
Hopefully, during the entire pandemic, you have kept in touch with your clients. This one action will have positioned your SEO firm well as their guide/champion in better times. Even if your SEO optimization services were paused, this one action will have underscored your continuing commitment to their online enterprise.
SEO Strategy: Hopefully by now, every client has resumed their SEO services with your search engine optimization firm. Continue to earn their trust by sharing information regarding their industry, underscoring how an appropriate initiative will support growth in that sector.
Search engine rankings, load times, site speed, click-through rate (CTR), bounce rate, internal links, backlinks, mobile-friendliness, domain authority–all are important ranking factors to your SEO campaigns. But do your clients understand these SEO and Google Analytics metrics? Clients know their business, and you know SEO.
Make certain clients understand your language and that you understand their business. Demonstrate each metric’s worth by using indicators that your clients’ value, i.e. increased revenue, higher rankings, an uptick in conversions or forms submissions, whatever is relevant to their enterprise, to showcase how combined SEO tactics such as link-building, on-page SEO, keyword research, etc. are supporting their business growth and goals.
The beauty of these revitalizing initiatives is they are scalable and workable on any client’s budget. They just have to be green-lighted and implemented. The primary lessons learned during this time are persistence, creativity, adaptability, and perseverance.
The adage: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail” was seldom more accurate. By establishing creative partnerships in support of online businesses, SEO initiatives can and will direct future endeavors and future online success.
A Final Word
Never lose your passion. The pandemic has had many negative impacts, but seldom better opportunities to demonstrate what you, your search engine optimization company, your team, and your top-ranking SEO services are made of. Get out there and create value for your clients!