The photo of the SpaceX shuttle seemed timely and appropriate for this newsletter on improving your search presence. Recently NASA named the astronauts that would be crewing the competing shuttle providers, SpaceX and Boeing, both due to test in 2019. It seems there’s a fair amount of trash-talking between the two companies who are racing to provide an alternative to continuing to contract seats with the Russian Soyuz spacecraft after November 2019, each costing an estimated USD $80 million.
The connection to marketing? A client recently asked me how to go from Page 8 to Page 1 of Google search results, which is 1) no small feat, 2) going to take some time and 3) may require an investment beyond what we can do organically to improve their search performance.
I try to help brands exhaust their free marketing options before paying for placement because the latter is rarely sustainable. In a crowded market/industry where many brands have comparable “authority” on a topic, you’re going to have some natural competition for the top-ranking spots. So at that point, after thinking strategically about ways to improve the content, keywords and other aspects of the site, only then would I consider paying to cut through the clutter until such a point that they dominate a category. In the meantime, I have some suggestions that may help brands like yours maximize your free search engine advertising options:
- Page speed is important: search factors page load time into the overall visitor experience score. Engines don’t want to send searchers to slow sites for fear it will reflect poorly on them. Check your site out on Google’s Page Speed Insights or Pingdom and then talk with your developer about the recommendations you receive from those services.
- Create and curate valuable content: your brand authority grows when you know what you’re talking about. Understand your customer and what they want to hear from you: how you communicate your products, what you stand for and what’s ahead all help your customers see themselves at your tasting room.
- Design for mobile: it gets said a lot, but it’s table stakes now to have a mobile-friendly website. It’s estimated that 60% of searches occur on a mobile device, so the experience you give them when they click is crucial.
- Photos and videos rock: they are ways to further engage, increasing the amount of time spent on your site while adding valuable content for engines to index.
- Link to other sites: help customers that make it to your site find pathways to related content. For example, what about linking to a recipe on Epicurious? You’re helping grow their authority on food pairing while a link back increases your beverage cred. Yes, in this case you have to give love to get love! I’ve heard this called “link juice,” and my guess is that it isn’t served in a pint glass…
- Link to your site: leverage your presence on trusted industry sites, retailer pages and social media accounts to make the appropriate links back to your main page or deeper content pages.
As an example of what a difference a little housecleaning can make, I recently took my own site at scottkolbe.com through Google’s Page Speed Insights. The result: 20’s out of 100 on mobile and desktop speed! After implementing their recommendations I jumped to the 90’s and 70’s respectively which makes my site a lot more user-friendly and attractive to search.