Search performance matters. It’s long been acknowledged that web users rarely stray beyond the first few results – and there are stats to prove it. Analysis from Smart Insights indicates that the top results receive around 30% of all clicks, which is three times as many as the result two spots lower. Click-through towards the bottom of the list stands at 2%.
Unless you’ve budgeted for paid promotion, amplifying your message, and connecting with a relevant online audience, still relies to a large degree on optimizing for organic search, through link building, monitoring trends and careful use of relevant keywords. These should appear not only in written text, but the metadata that underpins your assets, which is an area where automatic content tagging tools can be significant timesavers.
Yet, as Google enriches its search results, there are more diverse opportunities for brands that choose to embrace them. Integrating AMP not only helps you deliver content in a user-centric manner; it could also see your content promoted to the dedicated AMP carousel that sits below the first entry in a list of Google search results. Rich snippets, which Google introduced more than a decade ago, use microformats to integrate images and metadata, which immediately highlight the relevance of your content within results, and SiteLinks – effectively sub-listings beneath a single header – maximize your brand’s real estate within a results page. Google itself determines which listings include SiteLinks but making sure you have a comprehensive sitemap and clear internal navigation helps. It’s worth the effort, too, as the difference they make to click-through rates can be remarkable.
Produce content worth marketing
Yet optimizing for organic search while paying little attention to your content means you’ll just be delivering empty promises. If your audience doesn’t find what it needs when it lands on your site then, far from enhancing your standing, you may end up harming your brand. You need to produce messaging that’s worth amplifying before you look to increase your visibility and share of voice.
There are plenty of tools that can help. Among the simplest and easiest to implement, Google Trends visualizes Google’s massive data sets to illustrate what people are searching for and, in particular, demonstrate biases between functionally similar keywords. Across all parts of the UK, for example, ‘coronavirus’ is used in around 85% of all related searches, ‘covid’ in 13% and ‘covid-19’ barely at all. It’s a similar story in the US and mainland Europe, so any brand with content relevant to the current crisis is only likely to maximize its reach by using the first of those terms in headlines, content and calls to action. Similarly, ‘lockdown’ beats both ‘quarantine’ and ‘isolation’ hands down.
Yet keywords are just part of the equation and, with luck, pandemic-related content will have a shelf life of a few months, at most. Thus, while always being responsive to current events, brands need to remain on point, and not sacrifice their core message in pursuit of the latest hot topic. Doing so risks diluting the relevance of their audience, and the likely ROI, even if that audience grows as a result.
Thus, Google Trends and similar services should form part of a broader suite of content intelligence tools, which can monitor not only which subjects are gaining traction, but their relevance to the brand’s target audience. Specifically, brands need to understand why their audience cares about a particular topic, so they can produce content that satisfies those needs. Less publicized than the coronavirus panic buying of toilet paper was the subsequent shortage of webcams as businesses kitted out staff with the tools they needed to work from home. Brands employing content intelligence, in which AI analysis of clearly-defined audience personas forecasts the questions an audience is most likely to ask – like ‘where can I buy a webcam’ – could anticipate such a concern, giving brand managers within relevant markets the notice they need to ideate content to fit.
Share the load
Successful content marketing is an iterative process. Following ideation, keyword analysis and the production of the content itself, using the results of those labors to connect with a target audience requires an understanding of where that audience is found and how it talks. Only by occupying the same online spaces, and adopting an appropriate tone, will a brand achieve maximum engagement.
Thus, a comprehensive audience persona includes not only the topics that interest your audience and the lifestyle variables that should inform your treatment, but the contexts in which they’re most likely to encounter your content. This is of greatest relevance once you start looking beyond organic search. When investing in paid marketing or engaging influencers with a large social following, you start incurring additional costs, either financially, or in terms of distributed product that you won’t get back. Those costs will only be recouped if you achieve your goal: amplifying your message. So, choose the wrong context, whether that be a medium that your audience doesn’t consume, or an influencer that doesn’t engage with it, and your mistake may well be exposed on your bottom line.
Amplifying your message, and connecting with your audience, can only be done by those brands that both know who the audience is, and understand how to demonstrate relevance within their messaging. It is vital that your message is something your audience wants to hear - personalize your content in order to achieve this, Concured's brief builder has been enabling marketers to do this. Strategies like organic search optimization remain an important consideration, but they’re part of an overall mix. As consumers arrive at content through a broader range of channels, it’s vital that brands tailor not only their messaging, but their wider outreach operations if they’re to attract the largest relevant audience they can. See what making these changes can do to your business today and book a demo with Concured.