Spend 5% of Your Precious Marketing Resources on Social Media
Convert the other 95% to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). There is a ton of buzz about social media, especially for small to medium sized businesses. The truth is: you won’t see as great a return on social media as you will doing the other 4 items listed below.
If your goal is to gain more customers, increase sales, and rank on Google for more traffic then social media is almost never the solution. There are a few exceptions if you have a loyal and growing following with frequent posts but this takes either a huge money or time investment to get the snowball rolling down the mountain into an avalanche.
How To Dramatically Improve Your Rank On Google:
At Awesome Dynamic, we have charged hundreds of dollars in past seminars to give small business owners this knowledge below:
- Great click through rate (CTR)
- Quality and Quantity of Links
- Quality and Quantity of Content
- Smaller Items: Citations, Reviews, NAP, Google My Business (aka Google+)
1. Click Through Rate
Guess what? Google watches and learns how users interact with your site. Most experts agree that high CTR (Click Through Rate) and average time on page can definitely influence how you rank on Google.
What is CTR?
CTR (Click through rate) is a measurement of how successful your site is in Google’s eyes. It’s a percentage of how many times you show up in a search result vs. how many times people actually click on your result. For example, if you show up for the keyword phrase “alpaca farm” for 100 searches and 3 people click on your result, you have a 3% CTR.
What is Considered a Good CTR?
1% CTR is considered good. Anything above 1% is considered great. So if you show up 100 times for “alpaca farm” and 1 guy clicks on your result, you have done a great job of a 1% CTR.
Good CTR (Click Through Rate) Will Help Your Website:
- Rank on Google
- Have Google "trust" your website
- Provide high quality content to users
- Increase traffic
- Ultimately, lead to increased sales or conversions
Why is CTR Important?
You may be ranking for hundreds of keyword phrases like “alpaca farms”, “best alpaca farm”, “alpaca farm in Conneticut”. So if you averaged all of your CTRs for all of your keywords and it is at or above 1%, then Google ranks your website overall higher. However, if you rank below 1%, Google now thinks you have low quality content.
The opposite can happen too! If you have a great CTR of 3% but you notice that almost everyone is leaving your page after only viewing 1 page on your website (aka bounce rate) then you have failed in converting those people to a sale (or the action you wanted them to take once they get to your website). Therefore, you need both a good CTR so you have tons of traffic coming to your site PLUS you need good content on your website in order to keep people on your site.
Don’t Go Bouncin’
If Google senses you have a high bounce rate (over 30% of people visiting then clicking off right away) then you will go down in the rankings and your CTR will also go down as a result (because only first page results typically get clicks). Everything works hand in hand; have a great website with high quality content and in turn you will rank better online.
2. Quality and Quantity of Links
Google’s algorithm was created based on links going out of your website and coming into your website. Links are still the foundation of the current Google algorithm but it changes daily. Google is moving toward high quality content based data to boost your site in the rankings. Links are still so important to rank on Google.
Here’s what you can do to improve your links:
- Evaluate link profile
- Check your page rank score
- Get more high quality backlinks
- Rank higher on Google
Every website has a page rank score. You want to rarely link out to other websites but have all the high quality pages that have a higher page rank score link back to you. Easier said than done. In reality, you should have 1 internal link (link to another page or blog on your site) and 1 external link (link to another page on the internet) on every page you want to be ranked on Google aka your blog pages, homepage, and main service/product pages. You don’t need those links on your contact us or thank you page.
3. Quality and Quantity of Content
Content is king is the phrase that all the “SEO experts” throw around. We’re not really experts. We’re just guessing for the most part because no one actually knows what Google’s algorithm is and even if you do, it will change in a few hours. What we do know is that you need HIGH QUALITY CONTENT.
High Quality Content Ideas:
- Smiling pictures of staff to build trust
- High Quality videos clearly explaining your services
- Separate page for each product or service
- 300-600 words on every product or service page
- Interesting content that will keep people on your site for an average of at least 2 minutes
- Call to Action – guide people to what you want them to do on your site with a button or form
- FAQ section
4. Smaller SEO Items to Rank on Google
But still important ones! In combination with the big ones up there, these smaller ones can get you big wins and quick! Spend 1 month getting these smaller basics down and you can see a huge boost in your rankings just like that.
SEO Items to Start Today:
- Google My Business (aka Google+)
- NAP in header, footer, contact page
Google My Business
You don’t have control of your Google My Business page? That’s almost as bad as not having a website. Go to gybo.com and claim your listing on Google My Business right now. Yes, stop reading this article and go do it. Once you have control of your listing, you have the ability to respond to reviews, post pictures, get a virtual tour of your business, update your hours, correct GPS maps so people can actually find you, and so much more.
Reviews – Easy Step to Rank on Google!
Get just 5 Google reviews and your gold stars will show up next to your local result on Google like this:
Now, who would you choose? Gold stars or some guy no one has ever heard of? C’mon I know you have 5 happy customers you can ask for a 5 star review. If you have more reviews than your competitors, you could get a boost and rank above them on Google.
Reviews alone won’t do it – you have to do everything else too but reviews count for about 8% of why you rank on Google. Imagine if you don’t have any 5 star review on Google then your first review is a 1 star. Now, you look really bad online and it’s much harder to recover. Get more review tips here.
Correct Your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)
No, this is not the part where you and your marketing staff takes a nap from working on your SEO. NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone Number. By simply placing your name, address, and phone number in the header, footer, and contact page of your site you will make a huge difference from a search engine point of view and for the user experience.
Next, have your web developer add something called “schema markup” to your NAP in the header, footer, and contact page and you’re golden. Schema markup is just a fancy sounding tool that lets Google “read” your contact information and enter it into their database so you can start ranking. Make sure to match your exact NAP to Google Maps including all the same punctuation, spelling, capitalization, and abbreviations. A period could be the difference between ranking on page 1 of Google and ranking on page 10.
Do Citations to Rank on Google
Now that you have both your website and Google My Business page matching for your name, address, and phone number, start your citation campaign. What is a citation? Anywhere online where your name, address, and phone number show up.
Examples of citations:
- Online directories such as yellowpages.com
- Social Media such as facebook.com
- Industry specific websites such as webmd.com’s doctor directory
Here’s the simple version of how to do citations, but find the full detailed version here.
How To Do Citations:
- Create a new gmail account (so you don’t get hundreds of spam emails every day)
- Make a list of the top 50 citations you want to tackle first – some are worth more than others
- Create a profile and correct your business information on each citation
- Go back and check that the changes were actually made
4/18/2016 UPDATE: In some rare cases, you may experience that your Google My Business Page NAP does not match your Google Maps NAP. Match to Google My Business Page and try to influence the map or you can call Google Phone Support. If you cannot resolve, just make sure that you have at least your top 50 citations all matching to your Google My Business page.
Reallocate Time & Budget From Social Media to SEO
If social media accounts for about 5% of the reason you rank online according to Moz.com, then do this:
- Spend 5% of your time
- Spend 5% of your staff’s time
- Spend 5% of your marketing budget
If you invest any more time than that, you will be wasting precious resources that could otherwise be allocated to more effective SEO strategies to rank on Google.
Think about it like this: 40 hours per week for a full time marketing employee should spend 2 hours per week doing social media. In order to have a super effective social media campaign, experts recommend spending a minimum of 6-20 hours per month on social media.
So if you have employees or only yourself running the “marketing department” then it would be almost impossible to have an effective return on investment on your social media campaign and convert leads into sales. However, if your secondary goal is to have a great online reputation (and not increase sales) spending some time on social media can be good.
At a minimum, post twice per month on all of your active social media pages or delete the page. Why? It could look like you are closed or out of business if you have links to your social media pages but no activity. These should not be static pages.