According to new (2012) data, in the United States, the majority of adults depend on natural (organic) search results to find websites.
Almost one third of online adults in the US depend on social networking sites, a significant increase over 2011.
Gaining significantly in the last year as a way to find websites of brands are the brand’s emails.
The other break-away growth indicator are sponsored search engine results. These paid ads show a strong gain over 2011 as a way for US online adults to find websites. We continually hear of click through rates falling, but the figures from this new Forrester study belie that.
Implications of findings
Owned Content is the hands down winner in this survey with the top two ways people find websites coming from owned media and the other significant gainer being a brand’s own marketing email.
Earned media, which would be newspaper and magazine articles have diminished slightly (one percentage point) as a way to find websites, with TV shows and news stories advancing by one percentage point. Word-of-mouth, the other significant way people learn of brand’s websites, has gained ever so slightly.
Businesses and brands seeking consumer followers and interaction must continue to make certain that owned media channels (website, blog, social media pages/posts, and marketing email) are utilized in the marketing mix.
Read more on content marketing.
How can I make my website first on Google?
If I had a $50 bill for each time I’ve had someone tell me that they want to “be first on Google,” I’d be a very rich woman.
In 2001 with Panda and 2012 with Penguin updates, Google has publicly stated that it cares about content that is important, relevant and useful to people–not bots or spiders. Additional evidence indicates your site be more visible in search results if your business is active in social media, is conversational and seeks to answer questions, solve problems and be a source.
Advice for those wishing to be first on Google
In a very articulate and concise article from Fast Company, Veronica Fielding sums it up:
…the Panda and Penguin messages go deeper. With them, the search engines are openly acknowledging that a website isnt the only place on the Web that a brand needs to maintain a strong presence. [emphasis mine] The interactive exchanges that people have with each other and with the brand–online–are happening in the social media channel, and the search engines are placing an increasing importance on how these conversations influence their views on brands and how their websites should rank. This means that a brand can no longer rely on a well-optimized website to earn Google’s attention. A brand must be a conversationalist, going where the people are and engaging them in discussion, and by doing that earn a wonderful reputation. [emphasis mine] Smart brands are doing this by fully leveraging each social channel’s particular properties.
If you want to be number one on Google, you must read and follow the advice in SEO Isn’t What You Think It Is via Fast Company.
Follow these tips to be first on Google
- Make your website useful. Have an interesting website that provides potential customers the information they want. While it is good to have information about the products and services you offer on your site what is even better is to provide your potential customers information that helps them make decisions at every point on their path to purchase.
- Give value. Regularly author (on your website) and share helpful, relevant and useful information across the web. This does not mean copy and past in whole articles you’ve found in other sources. You can quote as we do here, providing attribution and links, but do not copy and paste the entire article which is authored by others elsewhere. This will get you bad karma as well as pushed down in search rankings.
- Converse and share in social media. Avoid marketing speak and share messages that are of help to others.
- Demonstrate your involvement with others through links to your website from high ranking sites that are relevant to your industry and sector.
Following these simple tips will help you rank first on Google. And after all, that is what we know you want.
Navigating within a site
Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for every small business’s marketing. One aspect of your SEO efforts that is an important component of your SEO plan, are internal page links.
Simply, these are links placed on text in pages and posts that lead readers to other content that is highly related to the words on which the link is placed. Note in the paragraph above, the links on SEO, which take the reader to additional articles we’ve authored on optimization. This is an example of what in page links are. On page links are essentially an interstitial navigation system, leading readers to significant content.
For search engines too
Internal page links also help search engines find related content just as much as they help your readers find related content. They form a spiderweb- like map, referring readers deeper into your site or to key content.
In the early days of blogging, authors would create outbound links to referenced posts assisting the reader by providing deeper insight or reference to the topic being discussed on the page. Now with the implementation of Panda, Google’s 2011 algorithm refinements, Google wishes to index and send searchers to content that is highly relevant to their searched terms. When you place links to related content in the first paragraphs of your content, you help Google’s spider know what you are telling your readers is relevant and significant.
And isn’t being helpful an important component of your business too? And we all wish to be helpful, right?
Photo credit: flickr user cybershotking