“So how do I get on the first page of Google?” We often get asked questions like this. Everyone knows how important it is to be on Google’s first page for their keywords; some want to know the quick fix to get them there. Although it would be awesome if there was a quick fix…there isn’t one, and we won’t make any wild claims that there is a quick fix or that it can be done. There are a few limited cases out there that everyone hears about where people have had immediate success getting to the top of the first page on Google, but that is not the norm. There seems to still be a large part of the corporate world who still don’t understand how hard it is to get results and how much work it takes.
Despite this mindset of the “magic factor,” we have some clients who understand how much work it takes. We’ve had to work very hard with their Search Engine Optimization
(SEO) strategy, and they have had great successes as a result. Part of our job is to continue to educate clients about search and how it affects their business and that it’s not an easy process – it requires a lot of work. Other firms might tell you it is easy; they are lying. So here are a few things we work through before tackling getting a client at the top of Google.
Brand names can be easy and you should be ranking in the top spot on Google for your brand name. That’s kind of a given. But there are a ton of people searching for products or services without using a brand name. So, that means we need to optimize for the terms that people search for when they’re trying to find something to meet their current need or want. These are usually the terms that are very competitive and require a lot of work. So why not go for the terms that are less competitive? Sure, there can be some measure of value there, but are they really
relevant to your business and are they going to drive real business or just mislead people? Are the people who need your services or products even searching for those keywords?
So don’t think about getting on the first page of Google, think about getting on the first page of Google for search terms that actually make you more money. Think more in terms of conversions and competing for the keywords that will drive business leads and revenue for your business. This might include words that you can easily obtain first page rankings for and it might include words that you will have a very difficult time getting on the first page for – the key is whether you are getting quality leads from them or not. Adjust your thinking to a leads-centered thought process vs. just getting on the first page of Google. Getting on the first page shouldn’t be the priority; driving the right leads should be.
I am the new guy. And yes, there is another Blake in the office. Confusing I know. So when I was asked to write this blog post, I secretly hoped there was a mistake, and they had the wrong Blake. No, it was me. So, here we go.
When you start at a new company, there is always a new vocabulary you must learn, filled with acronyms and abbreviations that all the veterans of the biz take for granted. The first day, the first sales meeting, I was sitting there, nervous and smiling, trying to make a good first impression. Curt and Alex went off on a tangent about SEO, and I had no idea how it worked (give me a break, I was 25 minutes into a new career!) I nodded, smiled, and immediately following the meeting, I called on my good friend, the World Wide Web. I typed in this foreign abbreviation, and soon found out what it meant and how it worked: Search Engine Optimization
I continued digging into the subject, and learned what it was all about; how search engines “crawl” over the content of a website to find relevant and new content. So, when you type in a series of words or a phrase, these “spiders” go out and scour the web and turn it into a ranking. That ranking is important to companies- it gives them exposure, leads you to their site, and hopefully, if their site is well thought out, that company will accomplish their goal of “converting” you (i.e. Instant quote, questionnaire, you buy something, you eat at their restaurant, etc.) That is why people are now professional bloggers. Yes, it was astonishing to me too, but that is also why I am sitting here typing this. If you keep your content fresh on your site, you are more likely to be discovered by the search engines.
As I have learned more and have become more familiar with the case studies of current clients, it amazes me just how advanced these search engines are, and more importantly, the research and work that must go into finding and optimizing for the “key words” appropriate for each client. The challenge is that A LOT of companies are competing for visibility with the same key words. The web is a big place, and if you type in “BitWise Carmel,” we will be number one on the search engine. However, if you type in “website development Indiana
,” BitWise will be found farther down the page. This is because the search engine found other sites that have more mentions of the key word or more relevant content; therefore they are higher in the search results.
So, whether you are a new company, or a long time pillar in your industry, there are people searching for you, and like BitWise, you want to make sure they make it to your site, not a competitors’! Search engine optimization is not a one-time event. It is ongoing and important for enabling the right people to discover YOU and YOUR BUSINESS, quickly and efficiently when searching. Once you get them to your site, you can direct them where you would like them to go, but getting them there is often the toughest part. This is why SEO is important to your business! Invest in SEO, it will make it easier for potential customers and clients to discover you via the world wide web. Once they are on site, then we work on conversions. But alas, that is a blog post for another time.
About three weeks ago, Google
Analytics made some changes to their analytics package, most of them user-experience oriented and rather inconsequential. However, there was one small change they made on the Search side that will significantly impact businesses who are serious about their online marketing. Most people will not notice until it’s too late.
For any business engaging in search engine optimization for keywords relative to their business, it is very important to know just how well those keywords are performing on your site and what kind of traffic each is sending to your website. Until now, Google Analytics and other analytics packages have reported information on the specific keywords and phrases that send traffic to your website, but this small change to Google Search a few weeks ago means you will be flying blind as far as understanding the results of your SEO efforts.
We have been seeing that as much as 30% of our client’s non-brand related website traffic is now grouped into a “(not provided)” bucket in Google Analytics (see image). These are the keywords relative to a company’s products and services, for which they have spent a lot of time and money competing to get ranked higher on Google – and they’re all hidden now. So, if you are an
There is good news though for businesses who are serious about the success of their SEO efforts – Google is not the only provider of analytics software and you don’t have to spend big money for a great alternative. Gasp!! I know, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Webtrends Analytics is a great analytics software solution with the deep, rich insights one expects with an analytics package, wrapped up in an extremely easy and slick user-interface…at a reasonable price.
Now, we usually try to stay away from blatant “selling,” but this alarming change to Google Analytics makes it so hard not to yell, “Hey! We have a solution!!” So, since BitWise Solutions is a Webtrends partner, we want you to know that we are able to offer world-class analytics reporting for an extremely reasonable fee so that our clients can obtain all the data they need to maximize their online marketing campaigns. When incorporated with our top-notch web analytics consulting to help make sense of the data, we are able to provide something that Google Analytics alone can never compete with: insight and action that lead to real ROI. We want to help businesses be successful and that is exactly why we’re speaking so boldly about this change to Google Analytics. If you’re using Google Analytics and you’re serious about your online marketing efforts, please don’t wait to give us a call to get your web analytics back on track.
After some additional research, we have found that the change is not just within Google Analytics but rather it is a change within Google Search, meaning that it affects all analytics software providers the same. We did some digging and discoverd that Webtrends now shows a "Not Provided" category as well. We are terribly sorry for relaying this misguided information.
This means the change is even more devastating becuase now there is no way (can't just switch analytics provider) to find the information necessary to determine keyword performance on your website. You can obtain some, very limited information through Webmaster Tools but the data is highly inaccurate and only gives you data about keyword performance before the visitor comes to your site - that's where the information stops. No longer are you able to determine if specific keywords you are competing for are actually converting on your website and turning into new business.
To be clear, this change is only affecting non-paid Google traffic. The Adword side is still reporting the same information as it used to, so that's a small glimmer of good news amidst this troubling change from the Grinch (Google) who stole the ability for marketers to effectively track and measure their SEO performance.