Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an absolute requirement for businesses who are are competing in the online space today. No argument.
A thoughtful online roadmap geared for search has the potential to reap a wide range of benefits that are both measurable, and able to provide more ROI than any other line item on your marketing ledger.
36.4% of click-throughs on Google search result pages go to the first result, 12.5% to the second result, and 9.5% to the third result – link:
You have access to visitor data metrics; figure out what works, and what your customers are really looking for
SEO has long-term potential; Online ads are often costly and the result send when the money runs out – SEO builds value (definitive traffic, reputation, trust, etc) over time and it holds it
We’ve taken a look at the current landscape to provide a more customised report for Australia; we’ve isolated some key factors that give Australia some edge online over other Western countries, in addition to compiling some tips that you can try with your business on your own.
A HOME-GROWN ADVANTAGE
Google’s ability to shape the markets which rely on it is uncanny, and some markets are much more receptive to its utility than others.
The Australian market is one of those markets due to a handful of rather unique factors which are specific to the country.
In 2012 another study reported that Google received over 160 million search queries across its flagship Google.com website and it’s Australian Google.com.au counterpart in a single week (ending May 19, 2012) in Australia. Add another 18 million or so to account for other search engines, and that’s a lot of eye balls (and perhaps a lot of your competitors acquiring new leads).
JUST OUT OF REACH
Australia is a big place, and because neighbourhoods and businesses are spread far apart, Australians typically search for what they’re looking for online before heading out.
This trend poses an incredible opportunity for businesses to outmanoeuvre their local competition by converting more online traffic into foot traffic.
Comparatively, Australia has much less competition locally than North America or the United Kingdom.
As a result, competition on Google search query result pages is also dramatically reduced. And of course; the cost of maintaining a regular SEO campaign drops along with the competition.
In Australia, it is much easier to rank and stay put than it is in most of the Western world –that’s something to think about. An advantage like that can help any small to medium-sized business punch above their weight.
OPTIMISE TO WIN
With Google dominating Australian internet search, it’s no secret that making your website more “Google friendly” is almost guaranteed to help your standing with the search giant and improve your local search rank.
There are a number of ways you can optimise your company’s website in addition to practicing healthy SEO best practices such as eliminating duplicate content (both published and dynamically generated), remembering to cite reputable sources, nurturing a balanced ratio of links to text copy, and not overdoing keywords and link anchor text.
SEO TIP #1
Put your physical business address and contact information on every page of your website within the header or footer; your website’s content will get picked up in location-based Google search query results by providing geographic context.
SEO TIP #2
Localising content for individual business locations is an effective way to target multiple geographies. Create a landing page for each location, with the service and city in the page title. By measuring your analytics for each page you will gain valuable insight into your customer-base.
SEO TIP #3
For improved visibility in search results, integrate “rich snippets” into your website. Rich snippets allow a variety of structured content types to be displayed below your search result description; formats include ratings, author information, media running time, product pricing, and so on.
SEO TIP #4
Create a business page on as many Google-verified social platforms as possible, verify your accounts, and link them to your website.
Social platforms serve as traffic portals that can deliver you a piece of their traffic and/or generate customer leads. Great social platforms for business include Google+ Business Pages, Facebook Pages, Foursquare, Yelp, and depending on your business; TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Agoda, and others.
SEO TIP #5
The best way to leverage social media engagement to reach the widest audience possible is to hit the most popular social media channels.
As of April 2014, Australia had approximately 13 million Facebook users, 13 million YouTube users, 2.5 million Twitter users, 1.5 million Instagram users, and 6 million WordPress bloggers (figures rounded to nearest .5).
Explore each option and look for the largest and most active communities available which surround your niche.
Facts above provided by Vivid Social’s Research Division:
SEO TIP #6
Google also looks at how thorough, comprehensive, and factual your site content is so be sure to provide thoughtful and accurate company information on your about page, and do not write only the bare minimum when it comes to writing appropriate copy to publish throughout your entire website.
Even recent date stamps in articles are picked up and favoured in Google search query results.
SEO TIP #7
SEO has been proven time and again to be more cost-effective than paying for online advertising. Each service plays to a strength; for pop-up one-off campaigns paying for online advertising may be the way to go. Online ads are ideal for when you need qualified traffic, fast.
However if you’re looking to build some online brand equity, search rank, trust and reputation, then perhaps SEO is the best way forward for your business. Unlike online advertising, a healthy search engine presence has long-lasting benefits and pays for itself many times more than online advertising.
Joe Ryan is the Founder & CEO of UK online marketing agency, Digital Search Group, which specialises in smart internet marketing. He is a specialist in online marketing strategy and brand building. When he’s not considering the next best online marketing strategy with his team, he enjoys travel and spending time with his family.