With the evolution of search engines and social media, examine how to more wisely invest time and resources in SEO rankings
Despite being maligned, the focus on SEO keywords and their rankings is not, in fact, irrelevant or obsolete due to the shift in how search engines rank content. In fact, we would argue that when content marketing is prioritized, SEO is needed more than ever for that content to be found; the process may just look a bit different
There was a time in the not-so-distant past when attaining the first organic position on Google was the only gateway for marketers to attract new online customers to a website without having to invest in paid advertising or e-mail marketing.
With the marketing power of social media beginning to warm nearly ten years ago, businesses and brands suddenly had access to free marketing channels via YouTube, Facebook and Yelp, whose online connectivity allowed even less validated businesses to rank well. The model depended on gaining as much traffic as possible with the hopes that a segment of that population would convert.
In this environment in which connecting with new customers only occurred through rankings, it was essential to invest in building linking networks and cramming keywords into websites to increase visibility.
Keyword rankings, today, lack the power of social media because they are not proactively engaging with a niche demographic, and they don’t always connect brands with the more highly qualified traffic associated with, say, Instagram or Reddit.
But there are still great uses for ranking data beyond the keyword phrase.
Location results trump traditional rankings
Local ranking factors are way more prevalent than you think. Your businesses’ proximity to the searcher, the accuracy of your listing, your content’s relevance to a city or neighborhood name and the quality of your ratings in the marketplace are a big deal now as in this general search for “kitchen supplies”:
Instead of using ranking data for individual keywords, many tools now rank target keywords within a particular location. This information is best used to determine how to prioritize listing accuracy, positive reviews from past customers, and the effectiveness of local competition.
Landing page rankings reflect keywords
Since the encryption of granular keyword data, alternative metrics have been essential to target traffic information. One such alternative is the use of landing pages. They typically signal organic search traffic because each landing page has likely been created around a target keyword, product, or theme. As a result,
you can see which organic searches on Google relate to which landing pages on your site:
We recommend the Landing Pages report in Google Analytics to cross-reference which pages receive traffic from Google organic search and how well this traffic performs.
Use users’ search behavior rankings in the purchase funnel
Another way to use ranking data is to consider the purchase funnel of a business in light of search data – the traditional Awareness > Consideration > Conversion. Consumers treat search engines like a knowledgeable friend. When they have a question, they search; when it’s time to buy, they search.
After completing the necessary research to create effective keywords, it’s most effective to segment groupings together based on which part of the “funnel” the customer is in when they search for it, again using the recommended Google Analytics.
Here’s an example of how you would group keywords to each buying stage:
- Awareness: “watches”
- Consideration: “August Steiner watches vs. other watches”
- Conversion: “where to buy August Steiner watches”
Completing this process for all keywords may be time-consuming, but it informs what type of content you most need in each keyword theme. Do you need more educational content for new users to the brand? Comparative content between products both in your inventory and in the marketplace at large? Incentivizing content to entice a prospect who is ready to buy?
Looking beyond keywords makes them more effective
RLC Media can maximize your traffic and conversion opportunities through keyword rankings; not simply through numerous links and keyword listings, but by creating quality content around brand-specific concepts and phrases. The formula for success is almost never through a single channel, but through the combination of social media, paid ads, and wisely investing