By Scott Feder, President and Managing Partner @ SHREWD Marketing, LLC.
The local business owners and marketing directors I speak with are quickly catching on to what it really takes to market their websites. There are two or three reasons I can think of about why this is happening. Internet marketing is nothing new and people are “wising up” to what is required to totally manage a company’s web presence. If nothing else, the 15 or 20 solicitations that most SMB’s receive every day must have the same effects of osmosis—meaning to learn by immersion or exposure. But gone are the days of simply posting a website for the search engines to crawl. It now takes a more comprehensive plan and concentrated effort to master the rules of the game for web, mobile and social media marketing. Here is how your local digital marketing agency should be helping you along the way.
You Have to Qualify before You Can Win the Race
Everybody is either searching for the Holy Grail or has some secret formula for getting websites to “pop up” first in local search results. They may mean well and good, but what some people don’t realize is that unless their website meets certain benchmarks and performance criteria, it shouldn't really qualify to rank, place or show in local search results.
Going the Distance, Going for Speed
Isn’t it frustrating to wait for a website to load? Well, it’s no surprise that for Internet search, the search engines seem to applaud websites that are faster.
Google PageSpeed Insights is a tool for testing website speed for desktop and mobile.
OK, so it may seem obvious that slower websites may not rank as well, but here are two other performance factors to consider: mobility and security.
Mobility is Key
If you’re like me, you are probably in front of a laptop, tablet, smartphone or TV “screen” a good part of the time. On the road is usually when I need to search for places and things that are around me. This usually means a chrome mobile browser search or IYP lookup for websites, maps, reviews and directions.
“My mobile search experience is great until I hit a snag trying to view a website that’s too small and doesn’t render well on my screen. A bad user experience and I’m off to the next website to find the right menu of options, the phone number, and map link or contact button”.
Apparently, it’s for reasons like this that April 21st 2015 is now known as “Mobilegeddon” when websites that are not deemed mobile-friendly are going to be “dinged” in search results.
“Adobe tracked traffic to more than 5,000 sites, which it divided into mobile-friendly and non-mobile-friendly.” Reportedly, nearly ½ of the non-mobile friendly URLs dropped in rankings. This must mean the opposite to be true, mobile-friendly websites outperform ones that aren’t.
Google gives webmasters a host of tools to optimize websites and test for mobility and speed.
Is your website mobile-friendly? Take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test
Security Must also be Tight
An SSL security certificate signals to website users which websites (https:/) are more secure and likely to protect their user data, privacy and e-commerce transactional information. In the fall of last year (2014), Google suggested that websites with HTTPS/SSL site security would receive a minor boost in search results (page rank).
Another good move, don’t you think? I know I don’t like visiting websites that might not be trustworthy or protect things like my e-mail address, username or registration.
Tip: when switching your site from HTTP to HTTPS be sure the proper steps are followed so that site traffic doesn’t take a hit. Let Google know that your site has moved from HTTP to HTTPS.
The Strong Should Thrive
There are nearly 1 billion websites online http://www.internetlivestats.com/total-number-of-websites/ so the rules for competing in the race for SEO and site visibility should be getting tighter in my opinion.
The top performing websites in terms of:
will not only survive, but should continue to thrive in the increasingly competitive, digital marketing environment.
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say.
Scott Feder is a professional sales & marketing executive, strategic advisor and business developer for all things digital. Specialties are websites, Internet marketing, “Software as a Service,” white label business directories and Local Search solutions that benefit entrepreneurs, professionals and enterprise organizations.