No war was ever won without a winning strategy. Good tactics might win a few skirmishes — and random, uncontrollable variables might determine a battle’s outcome — but ultimate victory requires an overarching vision and persistence to see it through.
Think of it like a football game. No coach’s game plan is to “do all the things.” Rather, a winning strategy might be using a power running game to control the clock and stunt the opponent’s momentum; or spread the field and beat the opposition with advantageous one-on-one matchups; or to lean on your defense, generating turnovers and winning the battle of field position.
SEO is a contest, just like war and sports. Search engines are the game boards, websites are the game pieces, and marketers compete for the most rewarding spaces. You’ll need a winning strategy if you don’t want to go home empty-handed. This is especially true if you’re a small business owner with limited resources. Read on to learn more about the top strategies for building your SEO heading into the new year.
1. Embrace Technology
The way people interact with the Internet is changing, and marketers who’ve been slow to react are getting left behind. If you’re in this camp, there’s no better time to make embracing technology the cornerstone of your SEO strategy.
Embracing technology goes further than having a mobile-responsive website. (Although, if your website doesn’t work on mobile browsers, then fix that now and form your SEO strategy later.) This also might mean streamlining your site to appeal to smartphone users, or optimizing your landing pages so that visitors from Google click through to your shopping cart. It means evaluating your hosting provider and optimizing images to quicken your page speeds. It might mean investing in a smartphone app to complement your website. It could mean investing in tutorial videos, interactive graphics and other website content designed for people who swipe, not type.
Keeping up with technology should be in the background of everything you do, even if you eventually shift to a completely different strategy. But if you’ve neglected your website and the shift toward mobile Internet usage, then nothing will give you larger gains from less work than a technology-based SEO strategy.
2. Get Hyper-Local
Marketing toward your local audience might not have the same reach as pushing your brand statewide, nationally or globally. However, there’s tremendous value in a localized marketing strategy, especially for small business owners who have traditional brick-and-mortar storefronts.
Consider this: A recent study by ComScore found that 88 percent of smartphone owners search locally for goods and services. Of those, 78 percent have followed their searches with purchases from local stores. Also, ComScore found that 56 percent of all on-the-go searches had “local intent.”
Adopting a localized SEO strategy isn’t just good for your search rankings, but also for getting more customers into your store. This translates to real, face-to-face relationships with customers that are more likely to last than impersonal online relationships. And as more people visit your store, they’ll also write online reviews and talk to friends and family about their experiences — all of which cements the merits of a hyper-local SEO strategy.
Want to make this your game plan? If so, start by evaluating your website and thinking of ways to highlight its local appeal. List your full physical address, mention your district (not just your city) on your about page, and consider blogging about local issues.
Interact with customers on social media, and share your involvement in community events. Meanwhile, start a Google My Business page and also get listed on Yelp, Angie’s List and other directory sites that might attract visitors from highly ranked search results.
3. Grow via Social Media
Social media marketing is a different animal than SEO. That said, the two forms of marketing can compliment each other. Social media is unique in its ability to form more personal online relationships with customers both near and far. Furthermore, the various popular social media platforms give marketers different ways to connect with potential customers.