— January 25, 2018
Recently my CEO shared a nice thought provoking article titled law of sh*tty click-through rates. It was a great article with a lot of great insights. The main point the article highlights is that over time all marketing strategies result in shitty click-through rates.
If you’ve done online marketing for some time you know this to be true. Banner blindness is lowering the CTR for most display ads. Email open rates are declining steadily and Facebook advertising is becoming expensive by the day. One traffic source that has stood the test of time is traffic from search engines. It’s one method that is guaranteed to bring you a steady stream of traffic.
However, one thing that has changed is how search engines rank content. Gone are the days when few good links did the trick. Now hundreds of factors are considered before a website moves up in search rankings. As a small business, you can’t focus on everything. Below are two things small businesses can focus to get a competitive advantage.
In May 2016, Sundar Pichai announced that 1 in 5 searches on Android devices in the USA were voice searches. I’m willing to bet that the pattern is the same across all smartphones. More importantly, it’s a rising trend which will lead to quick gains for any business or organization that’s quick to adopt it.
It’s extremely important for local businesses because one of the most frequent words used in voice search is “near me”. Fortunately, local businesses don’t have to do anything specific to get found for this in voice search. The normal local search ranking factors like citations, reviews and on page work like adding NAP will do the trick.
If you’re not a local business then what you can do is focus on natural language. Instead of just focusing on specific keywords think about how they are used in a conversation. For example, if your target keyword is “NewYork city tours” then try to include words like popular NewYork city tours, best NewYork city tours etc. within the content.
It’s important to think of how people use voice search before applying it to your business. For example, our diagramming tool Creately is frequently used to draw flowcharts. So we’re heavily focused on the keyword flowchart software. But adding something like “find me flowchart software” wouldn’t make sense because it’s highly unlikely someone will use it.
Awesome User Experience
Providing a good user experience not only improves your search rankings but it improves your leads, purchases and lifetime value of a customer. But very few small businesses actually focus on improving this.
The first step is to get the basics right. You need to improve the load time of your site, fix broken links, get rid of filler content that serves no purpose etc. Google search console is a good place to start. It shows the most critical errors and the page speed test provides some great insight on how to improve the load times.
The basics will make the user experience better and give you a boost. But to be the best and go up the rankings you need to provide an exceptional user experience.
This means understanding your users’ intent and providing them with exactly what they are looking for. There are hundreds of articles covering this topic but I particularly like this one by HubSpot. It talks about the technical things, site actions as well as other not so commonly mentioned things that can be used to improve the user experience.
Obviously, you won’t get it right overnight. But you need to make a conscious decision to work on it and have a clear-cut plan to improve it. Remember, a goal without a plan is just a dream.
I sincerely hope that you’ll be inspired and ready to take action after reading this article. But remember what I said in the beginning, every strategy decays over time. So while optimizing for the currently hot methods always keep an eye on the next big thing.