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Google-Proofing your Business Marketing Strategy

28 Jun 2019
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There has been a lot of noise around Google algorithm updates in past months, with two significant updates taking place in March and June 2019: the Diversity and Core updates. These updates can come without warning and effectively shift the SEO goalposts we are collectively aiming for. The underlying theme and our key takeaway is that these updates can have a significant impact on businesses who put all their marketing eggs in one basket.

It got us thinking about what a holistic marketing strategy should look like for a modern kiwi company, so strap in while we unpack Google algorithm updates and how they can work for or against you, and how to Google-proof your business’s marketing strategy.

 

What is a Google algorithm and why are they ‘updated’?

While intensely complicated (think lots of ones and zeros), put plainly Google algorithms are the logic employed to determine the best possible search engine results page (SERP) for whatever search query it is that the user types in.

They do more heavy lifting than simply decide which links to feature, they carefully calculate what information will be most helpful to the user and in what format will best serve them. This is why you can get a wildly different looking SERP page for two different searches — one with Organic results, a knowledge panel and a ‘People also ask’ panel showing related questions like this…

 

what is a google algorithm 

 

…and the other one with Organic results, paid Google Shopping Ads and Google Search Ads, and a Google My Business listings showcasing the business that best matches what Google considers to be the user’s intent:

 

nike shoes google search 

 

It’s all about identifying the search intent and serving the right results in the right format to closely match it. Google are constantly working on their algorithms behind the scenes to achieve this with increasing precision — when they think they’ve made an improvement they update the algorithm(s) in question.

Read more about the evolution of Google SERPs.

Read more about notable Google algorithm updates from the company’s history.

 

 

How can a Google algorithm impact your online visibility?

On any given day, a professional SEO could be working to optimise a client’s website. They will be doing so based on data from a variety of toolsets, experience, observations and industry standard best practices informed by established information about the signals Google uses. These signals are what Google use to determine how useful websites are to users performing Google searches.

When an update to a Google algorithm takes place, the way the megalithic search engine interprets this website can change literally overnight, shifting the goal posts the SEO is aiming for. If the client’s website all of a sudden doesn’t 'meet' the new SEO criteria the algorithm update has created, its online visibility can plummet because their website struggles to serve as a Google result for their targeted search terms and keywords.

 

The worst case scenario following a Google algorithm update

In the case of earlier Google algorithm updates like Pandaand ‘Penguin’ — which were designed to circumvent low quality content websites and websites using underhand link acquisition tactics to manipulate the algorithm in its former state to achieve improved rankings — the impact on businesses around the world was huge. These sent some smaller mom and pop businesses out of business (while also disrupting some of the larger ones) due to the fact they relied almost entirely on organic search engine results for their traffic.

In more recent times there have been stories of good-intentioned websites suffering substantial drops in traffic following one algorithm update, then investing heavily in optimising their site to achieve better visibility under the new algorithm and successfully regaining visibility and traffic, only for another update to come along and decimate their website traffic once again. In the case of CCN (a major cryptocurrency media site), after taking this unfortunate journey they abandoned their website all together, deciding it was too risky and economically unviable to keep playing the Google-pleasing SEO game.

Read ten examples of Google penalising high-profile websites.

 

Is there any point chasing Organic Search visibility for your website with SEO?

Organic Search reach is becoming harder to come by, but it is by no means not worth chasing, we rather think it needs to be just one feather in a business’s marketing cap.

A recent article showcased US data that highlighted two things. One was why Google continue to create more engaging SERP functions that give users answers to queries right there on the SERP, without having to leave the Google environment — because almost 49% of the searches in the sample were ‘zero-click searches’, in which the user didn’t click out of the SERP. The second was that 41.45% of Google searches resulted in organic clicks to non-Google sites.

The findings show that a (US) company and their website can still qualify for 90.41% of the search pie, trusting their SEO and GMB listing are on point. Furthermore, for every click on a paid result on Google, there were 11.6 clicks on organic results.

 

where users click after searching google 

 

6 steps to Google-proof your business’s marketing strategy

Now, when we say 'Google-proof' we aren’t saying abandon all Google-related digital marketing. We instead urge businesses to spread their marketing eggs across multiple baskets, incorporating different digital channels and both online and offline verticals. Because if you focus all your budget and energy solely on achieving great Organic Search visibility, you are putting your business at the mercy of the next Google algorithm update.

So, here are 6 steps we recommend you take to hedge your bets and create a robust marketing strategy.

  1. Make sure your website is ready for your users and measures up to your competitors. Is it all that or do you actually need the ugly baby conversation?

 

  1. Sort your branding out to help you stand out and project a professional image. Think livery across everything from vehicles to your business card, and of course: your website!

 

  1. Construct a multi-channel digital marketing strategy with:

Paid Search Ads to help your search visibility across devices and amidst a plethora of Google search results page layout changes

SEO to improve organic search presence and Local SEO to put you in front of your local audience when they need you

Social Media to give your brand a voice, a persona and a community

Paid Social Ads will help improve your reach on social media

Excellent Original Content that your users (and Google) will E-A-T up. Create original content that shows your: Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust. Think website page copy, blogs, whitepapers and case studies focusing on your existing client base.

 

  1. Community involvement by way of team, event or organisation sponsorship shows your local community you care enough to support them. In addition, it’s also an excellent way of building up networks — both B2C and B2B.

 

  1. Online reviews are the new word of mouth, so cast your rod and try and reel in as many as you can while tending to your ORM.

 

  1. Don’t stop! Some company’s take their foot of the marketing pedal when they get busy. That’s great your busy but looking forward and continuously improving your marketing is the only thing that will help you stay busy.

 

Where to start?

Establishing your company’s marketing strategy shouldn’t be something you scribble on a napkin over your morning coffee — it needs to be a considered process informed by research across all of the seven points listed above.

If you’d like to read more about what we can do to help you achieve a multifaceted marketing strategy, please get in touch, we’d love to lend a hand.

 

 

 

 

Written by
Mark is our Digital Marketing Manager and has worked in the online marketing space since 2005. Before joining us he plied his trade in various traditional marketing roles abroad and in New Zealand, yet nowadays much prefers the highly measurable and transparent nature of online marketing.

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