What’s the first thing you do when you want to know, go, do or buy something? That’s right, you Google it! But did you know the Search Engine Results Page, or SERP, that is displayed for your query can feature up to 17 types of results, including a Featured Snippet, Knowledge Card, the Local Pack, Videos and Shopping Ads? That’s a lot of content and presents several great opportunities for businesses to reach potential new customers through Search Engine Advertising (SEA) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Find New Leads with Search Engine Advertising
Search Engine Advertising, also commonly referred to as Google Ads, is one of the most effective ways to grow your business in an increasingly competitive marketplace. With millions of businesses out there all vying for the same eyeballs, it’s never been more important to advertise online, and paid search ads are among the most effective ways to promote and grow your business. Advertisers bid on keywords that users of search engines such as Google and Bing might enter when looking for certain products or services. This gives the advertiser the opportunity to appear alongside results for those search queries.
Search Engine Advertising is amazing for bringing new leads into your business because it allows you to specifically target the people that are searching for what you’ve got on offer. As a Pay-Per-Click model, your business only pays money when someone clicks on your ad, meaning you’re only paying for people interested in your product or service, rather than people that have no interest. Plus, Search Engine Advertising is easily measurable. You can see stats including views, clicks, spend and more, in real time, giving the opportunity to review and tweak your campaign at any stage.
Reach New Customers through SEO
Another key lead generation opportunity on the SERP are the Organic Results, which appear below the paid results. These are free listings that appear because they are relevant to someone’s search term. These results appear in an order determined by the search engines’ ever-changing algorithm. It’s a well-known fact that the first page of Google captures most of the traffic, but did you know that there are also significant differences in clickthrough rates for the top vs bottom results? A 2019 study shows the following clickthrough rates by Google position:
If you’re not at the top of Google’s search results, you are missing out on a lot of clicks! So how do you get your website to show on the first page of Google? Through Search Engine Optimisation.
SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search results. You do this by optimising your website in ways that a search engines’ crawlers can understand and use to index your site. Then, the search engine’s algorithm can use this data to match your site with a users’ query and display your site in the results. It is an incredibly complex and evolving process, but here are five enduring SEO practices that will help your site rank higher on search engines:
Determine which search queries you want Google and Bing to answer with your website pages. These can be single words or phrases. For example, ‘orthodontist’ or ‘family lawyer Brisbane’. The right keywords for your business are those that your ideal customers are typing in to get the products and services they need. Then, make it as easy as possible for Google to scan, index, and retrieve your site by placing keywords in the Title, Meta Description, URL and Image Alt Tags on your webpages.
- Write for Humans
Of course, the body of your page’s content is the most important place to include the keywords for which you’re trying to rank. However, it is paramount that these keywords are not systematically and excessively inserted, but naturally incorporated. If you want to rank on the first page of results for a particular keyword, your page needs to provide the information, and not just the keywords, that users are trying to obtain.
- Emphasize Location
Make sure your website clearly indicates your city and/or geographic area, via your contact page and potentially also through blog posts and services pages. That way, when people search: “your industry” + ”your city”, Google and Bing will pick up that information and show your business as a “near me” search result. Even if a user does not search using a specific location, search engines will still serve up geographically relevant results based on their IP address.
- Optimise for Mobile
You will not find a website at the top of a SERP that is not responsive. Consumers now use phones and tablets more than computers and laptops, and the majority of local searches are performed on mobile devices. As a result, Google and Bing favour mobile-friendly websites.
- Focus on User Experience
A website with intuitive navigation, clear calls to action, and answers to your visitors’ most immediate questions will keep visitors there longer and coming back later — which search engines will notice and, in turn, rank you higher.
Remember, SEO is an ongoing process, and it will take time to build your organic reach and have your efforts reflected on the SERP.
Double Dip: SEA + SEO
The best way to maximize the leads your business is getting from searchers is to combine the power of Search Engine Advertising and Search Engine Optimisation. Using both SEO and SEA not only covers a wider variety of users, but if you use each to its best advantage, you’ll find them boosting each other’s effectiveness in ways you may not expect. For example, while you’re building your organic reach with improved SEO, your organic SERP placement may be too low for many users to discover and may not bring in much traffic. But SEA will place your company at the top of the list for your most relevant search terms, and once your organic SERP ranking rises, users will immediately notice that you’re listed at or near the top in both places.
You can also use the analytic data from your search ads to fine-tune your SEO, and boost your organic SERP ranking even further. Since Google changed the analytics available to website owners, you can still see the keywords that brought organic traffic to your website, but you can no longer see the data behind them. When you run Search Engine Advertising with ReachLocal your campaign results include a ranked list of highest-converting keywords, which you can use to more precisely target your SEO. Taking a holistic approach to digital marketing, which includes both search advertising and SEO, helps you increase your visibility, target more precisely, and ultimately pull more value out of your marketing budget.