By: Kaysha Hanock and JoAnna Dettmann (featured in www.ana.net)
Every 21st century marketer knows that SEO is a critical component of any comprehensive marketing plan. After all, 80 percent of all web traffic begins with a search engine, so if your target audience can’t find you on Google, you may as well not have a website.
But if everyone is on the SEO train, how do you get ahead? If your goal is to outrank the competition, consider implementing these three advanced SEO tactics that they probably haven’t caught wind of yet.
- Voice Search Optimization. Comscore estimates that 50 percent of all searches will come from voice commands by 2020. Because consumers use voice search differently than typed search, SEO must be conducted with a different mindset to reach this audience. Businesses can address the unique particulars of voice search by optimizing for question words and longer-tail keywords. That means going beyond regular keywords to add in common conversational phrases or sentences used when voice searching. Adding FAQ pages that cover these questions and statements can be a helpful way to capture the long tail of voice search, as well. It’s also beneficial to use plenty of microdata including your address, contact information, directions, and any other pertinent information for which your target audience may be searching.
- HTTPS. For several years, Google has been shifting the search landscape towards HTTPS, the secure version of the HTTP we’re all used to seeing at the beginning of a web address. What’s the difference? HTTPS uses a secure protocol known as SSL to transfer data. SSL adds an important safety layer to tasks such as online transactions, verifications, and authorizations — all of which form part of our daily online activities. While using HTTPS won’t give you a huge bump in search engine rankings, it will act as a tie-breaker for two otherwise equal sites. Additionally, 40 percent of Google’s page one organic search results feature an HTTPS website, suggesting that we may see a further push towards HTTPS in future.
- Advanced Paid Search. One way businesses can put their best foot forward in this competitive space is by using Google Campaign Experiments and Drafts. This “testing playground” allows you to A/B test ad copy, ad rotation, and bid strategies — giving you opportunities to optimize your campaign prior to its launch. Businesses can also target their ads towards highly specific groups of people based upon demographics, characteristics, and browsing history. In addition, they can build “negative” audiences by tailoring a campaign to weed out unwanted or off-target users, boosting ROI and reducing ad spend as a result. Plus, tools like Google’s new Customer Match can be used to target an audience based on similarities to your business’ existing clients. Businesses can upload the Gmail addresses of their most valuable clients, and Google automatically displays ads to other Gmail users with similar profiles.
It’s important to note that these tactics won’t replace your existing SEO strategy, but rather take it to the next level. With that in mind, make sure you have all of the basic SEO elements in place before you reach for the stars. If, after an analysis, you find that you have a solid foundation, these are only the next steps. The SEO landscape is ever-changing and staying competitive is an ongoing process. Keep up, and your bottom line will thank you.
Kaysha Hanock and JoAnna Dettmann are co-founders of tSunela (@tsunela), a digital marketing firm that specializes in search engine optimization, mobile search marketing, paid search marketing, local search optimization, web analytics, and social media marketing.
Need help implementing these changes on your website? Contact tSunela online or call us at 314-721-8813.