A brand's organic search ranking — or Search Engine Optimisation — determines where it appears when would-be customers search for its products or services. Consumers don't scroll through pages and pages of results; they place their trust in the results ranking at the top of the first page. This
is where a business needs to be. The hard truth is that if your brand is not in the top five search results, it probably won't be seen by potential customers. According to Google's Webmasters
blog and its ongoing updates to search algorithms, the search engine will no longer display review-rich snippets for local businesses and organisations. These will be removed as they could be perceived as self-serving and not in the best interest of consumers.
According to Mordy Oberstein from Rank Ranger, results will be driven by trustworthy user-generated content rather than potentially biased reviews. This will have an impact on a business's ability to rank higher on the results page.
Brands would be wise to focus on their company's Google My Business review management strategy to increase their local search rankings. This is because the top three results appearing above organic web rankings make up as much as 15% of how Google ranks a local business.
Despite this, most brands still direct the bulk of their online media spend to paid media, which accounts for — on average — 15-30% of clicks. By insisting that media spend be allocated solely to paid search results, they're ignoring the bulk of the available clicks and potential customers; no business can afford to disregard more than half its potential client base.
There are also brands that only use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram advertising to attract consumers. However, they’re effectively ignoring the massive pool of savvy online consumers who appreciate (and actively look for) an honest review that ranks a brand highly in an organic Google search — more highly than a paid-for advert.
Customers have wisened up to paid placements, realising that they carry little integrity, while top-ranking organic search results have earned their place at the top of the page by being deserving of a good review.
Simply put, it's 'In Google we trust' for most South Africans when searching for gifts to buy, places to go and destinations to visit over the festive season. Staying ahead (and high up in search rankings) relies on staying on top of the changes to Google's algorithm — in conjunction with tailored content strategies that build trust and 'link equity' within the Google My Business ecosystem.
This is where Specialist Performance Marketing and SEO agencies, like Mickey Llew, come into play. They work with clients on customised strategies to help them rank high on Google through paid and organic search optimisation.
And with Google updating its algorithms as much as several times each day, it's simply impossible for a multitasking business owner to achieve the same level of results without a specialist team dedicated to tracking and decoding Google's tweaks, quirks and ever-evolving features.
Brands wanting to reap the rewards of the upcoming shopper-rush must rethink how they allocate their digital marketing budgets. This is to make sure that they're capturing the biggest possible audience.
They need to find better ways of balancing between the 60% of clicks from conventional ad spend, and the 40% of users who prefer trustworthy non-paid resources to inform their buying decisions.
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