Challenge Accepted: Taking on SEO the Game

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When you have a question about the meaning of life or need to know the name of that weird movie with Bill Murray, Mathew McConathy and an elephant that you saw as a kid, what do you do?

Well, chances are you head to Google or ask Siri or Alexa. You are not alone and this number may not surprise you, but Google reports that they have an average of 63,000 searches per second. Those are people with specific needs and, for some, you may be able to offer the solution.

According to Search Engine Journal, 93% of web traffic comes from search. Moreover, 75% of curious searchers rely on the first page to get their answer and click through. So let me make this clear…if you are not investing time and resources in understanding, monitoring and adjusting SEO, you are behind in the game. Especially in the midst of the COVID crisis and the changing landscape of consumer needs.

Just like a game, you have to look at SEO strategy as you move across the board. Ranking reports (paid and organic), keywords, search features, use of technology, or your own website experience and content relevancy: Are you looking at all these pieces to make meaningful, data-driven decisions? If you answered no to some, then you aren’t looking at all the angles.

So where do you start? Surprisingly enough, it’s not necessarily keyword.

1. Like most traditional games, you start at HOME. So begin with your site and landing pages: While you may be quick to drop and adjust keywords that aren’t bringing in conversions, you have to work on yourself first. You need to make sure Google understands what it is you are trying to sell or provide and that metadata, backlinks, and topics within your site reflect that. You also must take a look at user experience and site speeds, permalinks and so on. Overall, how is the experience on your website, do things makes sense, is information easy to retrieve and navigate?

2. Diversify content: Have you ever searched on Google and notice the option to search by articles, images, video, or shopping?Besides your website you need to make sure you are covering all the bases, including captivating video, blog posts, and beyond. You want to appeal to segments and how they want to receive their information.

3. Build Authority: I mentioned this in a previous post, but you need to establish yourself as an authority in your industry. This will help you eventually drive direct search. Users looking specifically for yourbrand for an answer.

4. Google My Business: I don’t mean to go and Google your business, although that may not be a bad idea. But GoogleMyBusiness is a powerful, free tool that allows you to accurately promote your business with location, hours of operation, reviews and beyond and allows you to monitor engagement. This is especially critical when it comes to local geographic audience segments and during a crisis like COVID.

5. Keywords: Yes, keywords are still drivers of search, but only when in context. Google’s algorithm is extremely sophisticated and highly adaptive, so you have to make sure you have everything in place before you start testing PCP and campaigns. Then you can start using data and KPIs to make adjustments.

While we are all still learning the SEO game and like all good games, have been thrown a curveball with COVID-19, I’ll leave you with a podcast featuring Mark Traphagen, VP of Product Marketing at seoClarity, discussing ‘How SEOs need to be Thinking Differently about Ranking,’ and his insights on navigating SEO through this new era of search.

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