Why You Need Search Marketing - Understanding how search can work for you in 2018

How SEO and SEM Can Grow Your Business

We all have heard it before. Search Engine Optimization is dead. It’s alive. No, wait it’s dead. Whatever side of the fence you sit on, it doesn’t really matter.

Making your website more accessible to Google (and it’s legion of site crawling bots) only serves to benefit you in the long run. Here’s why:

Search Engine Marketing and Optimization (SEM & SEO) should have a place in your strategy if you want to gain long term traction and traffic.

From an ROI (return on investment) perspective it has out earned Social Media by a factor of a 1,000 (for several $1,000,000+ businesses I work with). However, search, as we’ve known it is changing. You’ve noticed, I’m sure.

You probably don’t click through to links anymore in google, or at least not nearly as much as you used to. This is especially true on mobile. As we know, Google is committed to being “mobile first”.

Is this how your search experience usually goes?

Chances are you enter a search into Google. Then read the “scraped” feature and rich snippets data they provide in the results. Then leave.

Sometimes, I find myself altering my search to increase the likelihood of getting the answer, right in the search results. Have you done this?

Next time you search, try to look at yourself as a consumer, as a user. Someone you’re studying. What do you do?

This is why, as Google evolves from a search engine that matches your query to a 3rd party site that answers it -- to a one stop shop for information, right in the results; you’ll want to take advantage of this change.

Why this shift?

We see a shift in Google’s strategy. A strategy you might already be familiar with. Chances are, you’re one of the 1.86 Billion active monthly users on Facebook.

I’d call this shift from Google, Facebook inspired. Facebook is obsessively focused with keeping its users logged in and on site.

Facebook REALLY wants to keep you logged in. Have you noticed they’ve hidden the “log out” button? You now have to scroll down to see the logout option and it is definitely not clear that it is there. (Depending on how you’re using Facebook and what device).

Returning Visitors, Frequency and Time on Site have been Facebook’s north star since before it was cool.

Google already had frequency and returning visitors as key metrics. However, until now, I would imagine that time on site, to Google, would mean their search results weren’t relevant and the user was having to dig for answers. Not what they want. That’s all changing now.

Like Facebook, Google, it would seem, is now intent on keeping you on Google. YTD, according to our data, CTR (Click Through Rate) for search terms ranking 1-3 on the first page, is down almost 40%. Meaning more people are getting the answers they seek from Google's Rich Snippets.

So why would I encourage you to pursue this if our stats are plummeting?

Entrepreneurial Change and Creative Destruction

Would you agree that the one constant in life is change? I would. It’s no different for internet companies and search engines. They evolve more rapidly, but follow the same trajectory as all businesses. Optimize, Iterate, Optimize. Or die. The pace is faster. The strategy is the same.

The reason behind strategy shifts can usually be broken down into two categories.

1) Increasing Revenue

2) Increasing Customer Satisfaction and Market Share/Adoption.

Many times these two goals overlap, sometimes they don’t.

A Horseless Carriage

Remember, there was a time, before cars, when buggy whip makers had a monopoly they thought would last forever, until the car came along. Pivoting and adjusting to a changing market is what will make or break any business. Today, it just happens faster. Especially with online services such as Google.

Today, people want the information they're seeking, now. They don’t want to wait for your site to load, or click through 10 links to find what they’re looking for. Google knows this. Why do you think pagespeed has become such an important ranking factor? What about AMP? (Accelerated mobile pages).

Google is “killing” and pivoting their longheld operational model. Matching search queries with relevant sites. They’re doing this because, that’s what us, as users want.

We don’t care about the site most times, we care about the information.

As business owners that may be a different story. As users, though, we want the information now. Not later. Not 10 seconds from now, or after I have to close your welcome mat and popup optin. We as marketers need to pivot as well to meet this change. Google has removed the middleman, YOU, and replaced it with your information.

How To Seize the Marketing Advantage.

Whether you’re already ranking high in Google and seeing your CTR (Click Through Rate) diminish or are just getting started. Now is an exciting time to be getting into SEO and SEM.

A few reason are:

  • It is “out of favor” (Hey, I’m a contrarian)
  • Viewed as hard and labor intensive (and it is, but when done right, it is worth it)
  • Requires a mix of technical skills, grunt work, and content creation.
  • Social Media is the darling of Digital Marketers right now. (rightfully so)
  • It generates traffic, consistently, for free. (you have to rank though)
  • High ROI for long tail search terms (also less rich snippet and SEM competition)
  • Few sites are doing the hard work with Rich Snippets and other “scrape” friendly optimizations.

The last one is huge. Optimizing your site to be “scraped” and displayed in results, especially if you’re already ranking well should be a top priority. Head over to your Google Webmaster tools and get started working with Rich Snippets. Make sure that when the robot gets to your site, it’s like “damn, sh*t is optimized”.

Many Digital Marketers are fleeing SEO.

I’m running towards it, for myself and my clients. There is a lot of opportunity in long tail keywords as well as new and emerging trends. As things change the more they stay the same. Remember, Social Media could be the buggy whip company of tomorrow. Finding information that you need, quickly, will always be of value.

Social Signals as a Ranking Factor? Not really. It’s still important.

Have you heard Google uses social signals as a ranking factor? You may have. However, on a ranking factor (the factors set by Google, over 200 of them) basis there’s no evidence that this is true.

Having a social media presence that is consistent with quality content doesn’t do anything for your Google or Search Engine rank on a 1:1 level. Google doesn’t say “Hey, this dude got 1,000 likes and 200 shares, let’s bump him up a rank.” Which begs the question.

Does Social Media matter when it comes to SEO?

Resoundingly, YES. It certainly does. You could liken this to content marketing. Very hard to measure the ROI and benefits in a clear cut manner but massively important, nonetheless.

For example.

  • How would you measure this scenario?
  • You create an awesome post about SEO. Publish it on your blog.
  • You share it to your Social Media Accounts.
  • Internet Magic Occurs. You’ve gone just a little bit viral.
  • 1,000’s of People Share and Retweet Your Post
  • A few of those people even do a write up about your post on their site.
  • Of course, they link to your original article, with a DoFollow link
  • Nice! You’ve just gained a few highly relevant backlinks to your content.
  • Your rank in Youtube and Google has increased by 10 Spots in the past 3 months since you’ve published. You also show up on “related video” playlists in Youtube.
  • Revenue is up 15% 3 months later.

So given that scenario. I have one question for you. How do you measure that? How do you know for sure what drove what? I would describe SEO and SMM (Social Media Marketing) as symbiotic. Alone they are powerful. Together they are unbeatable. They feed off each other when done well.

I think that is another reason people shy away from SEO. It is a LONG game. Results are usually months out. Sometimes years. (If you’re looking at years, it might be better to look at other strategies, like PPC).

You really can only measure a handful of things. You also won’t always know why or how things are working. Which drives me nuts.

So what else makes Social Media such a complementary force to SEO?

  1. Social Proof: Like backlinks for Google. Social Media also has it’s metrics to rate and rank content. Social currency is usually: Shares, Follows, Comments, Likes. (in that order for the most part)
  2. Social Media Posts are Indexed and Searchable (sounds like a search engine, hmmm.)
  3. Social Media is the NEW AUTHORITY. It used to be Backlinks and Ranking. Today marketers are concerned with people centric marketing efforts. Not their technical SEO efforts. (as we’ve seen, one can feed the other.)

How Missinglettr Fits into My Digital Marketing Strategy:

You may have guessed. I love writing content. I also love doing technical SEO and outreach work. If only there was enough time in the day.

Well, that’s what Missinglettr gives me.

More time to do the work that matters to me and my clients.

If I had to schedule every blog post, create content calendars and post to my accounts I would scarcely have time to sleep.

The ability to have RSS feeds sent to Missinglettr is a huge time-saver.

Their automated drip campaigns are simply amazing. If you haven’t taken the time to try Missinglettr, you are missing out on a lot of time you could have spent growing your business.

With Missinglettr I have the ability to hit “Publish” on my blog and know that within a few minutes I will have a 12 month drip of social content prepared in a campaign for me. Awaiting my review. Missinglettr is growing to be my favorite Social Media Tool and Time Saver. Quality is not diminished and productivity is increased. What’s not to love?

Conclusion

There is a lot of hype around social media. It has changed how we interact with people and allowed us the ability to connect with anyone in the world. From a business standpoint the shift in thinking I have seen is “We need to be on social”. Ok, why? Social media, in my opinion, is a black hole where you can spin your wheels forever, if you don’t have a clear objective. Without measurable goals, you can waste a lot of time, and most times come out with a negative ROI. Especially when manpower and salaries are taken into account.

There are amazing opportunities to be had on social media.

There are also horrible losses too. Some of which I have witnessed firsthand. Accounts that went from 650,000 followers and a thriving business to being banned from Facebook in a New York minute. This particular instance was a haunted house and horror movie enthusiasts page. They had many 100’s of thousands of subscribers.

Social Media Marketing

After Facebook’s “fake news” fiasco. They reacted. Part of that reaction was banning this group from Facebook. Why? Didn’t you know? Haunted Houses, Ghosts and Ghouls aren’t real. They are fake news.

Does that seem fair to you?

Do you want arbitrary control from an entity that doesn’t care if you survive or thrive? Facebook certainly didn’t bat an eye at banning their page. Focusing on a couple of channels and delivering value to customers is a great way to start. Building your entire business on a platform you don’t own. Well, that’s just plain silly. Problem is, I see a lot of businesses and entrepreneurs doing just that. You’ve been warned. Own what you build.

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