“Lessons Learnt in the Past can be a Great Guide to the Future”
The year 2010 proved to be a year where Google remained the dominant search engine and clear innovators within the search industry. With the introduction of many changes, Google effectively shook up the way some businesses need to think about their online strategy.
Major changes initiated by Google in 2010 included Google Caffeine, Google Instant, Google Places and Google Instant Previews. All of these changes highlight the importance of businesses adopting an integrated approach to their online strategy and the need to constantly refine your SEO strategy to stay ahead of your competitors.
Below is a summary of the key lessons learnt roi.com.au has identified in 2010.
Lesson Learnt #1
Localisation needs to be a Priority
With changes to Google such as the new Google Places algorithm, localisation is proving to be one of the most important parts of your online strategy. Google is now displaying local results for a large number of generic keywords.
A good example is the keyword “Furniture”. Google now displays different search results depending on whether you are based in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.
This means your SEO approach needs to be both local and national in focus if you want to be listed on the first page of Google for all users across Australia.
Lesson Learnt #2
Conversion plays as big a part as Traffic or Rankings
Once a potential client reaches your website, it is important they convert into a lead or a future opportunity for your business. This is difficult to achieve unless you regularly work at segmenting and improving your customer’s website experience.
Your website is receiving new traffic from new keywords every month, so you need to constantly tweak your website communications to improve your conversion rate.
roi.com.au clients that put the investment and effort into online conversion get the rewards. It’s much easier to increase your conversion rate from 2% to 4%, than double your website traffic.
Google also tracks the web pages that people visit on your site and has a wealth of data available through Google Analytics, so if you improve your website experience this will improve your conversions and often your search engine rankings too.
Businesses still have immense scope to improve the performance of their website and be dynamic – without the need to completely revamp their website.
Lesson Learnt #3
Keep things Fresh and be Found
One of the major updates in 2010 was the introduction of Google Caffeine. The two main changes from this update were firstly Google’s ability to store much more data about websites, and secondly their ability to index websites much faster than they were previously able to. In many cases, if you updated your website, Google would know about it and be able to display that update in their search results almost instantly.
The introduction of Real Time search with Google Instant highlights the importance of your website being regularly updated with fresh and relevant content. “Real time search is the natural evolution of universal search” according to Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of search products and user experience. There is also speculation that an upcoming Google algorithm update will provide even more real-time search results than what Google currently displays. Keep your website up-to-date with regular Blog posts or Content updates in order to maintain strong ranking results.
Lesson Learnt #4
Protect your Brand and Online Reputation
Protecting your reputation online is an important part of any organisation’s online strategy and an area generally underestimated by most Australian businesses.
It is extremely common in 2010 that competitors are buying Sponsored Links on your brand name and/or product name, as there is little to no regulation.
Other online branding challenges include the prominence of Customer Reviews within Google Places and shopping websites, as well as the ease in which Internet users can publish comments on blogs and forums about your business. Many of these problems are occurring without the knowledge of Australian businesses.
If you would like a free audit of your organisation’s current online branding status, we have a new business, Protect Your Investment (http://www.pyi.com.au) which specialises in this area and can help protect your brand online.
Lesson Learnt #5
Complacency = Going Backwards
Having a complacent approach to your online marketing strategy increases the risk of losing online market share to rival brands. The big brands have arrived online – you only need to do a quick Google search for “Christmas gifts” and you can see that large National brands such as Harvey Norman, Big W, Westfield and Tiffany’s are all advertising online in 2010.
Businesses need to have a proactive approach with their online strategy, or they risk being overtaken by their competition. Don’t let another 12 months go by without a solid investment into a stronger market presence.
Lesson Learnt #6
Online Marketing is a Necessary Business Decision
Industry Market data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that there are now 9.6 million active internet subscribers in 2010 – a 14% increase on subscribers in 2009.
There are more and more people relying on the internet to search for information about businesses to aid their purchasing decisions. But it’s not just online research – people are buying online too, with online shopping websites seeing a 49% year on year increase in visits.
With more people searching and buying online, there is increased potential for your business to benefit from advertising online – rather than through Print Ads or the Yellow Pages. Not only that, but Online Marketing can be more accurately measured, so every dollar of your online marketing investment is accountable.
Want 2011 to be Bigger and Better?
To get ahead in 2011 your business should be thinking about your online presence as a whole – from your First Page rankings on Google to your Websites end-user experience.
roi.com.au can help your business go Bigger and Better in 2011 with a sophisticated and comprehensive online strategy. By assessing your current online strategy roi.com.au will provide critical insights into how your business can improve or strengthen its online presence.
Request a free Website Performance Analysis from roi.com.au to receive an assessment on how to get ahead online in the New Year.
To get started, simply reply to this email, and let 2011 be the best year for your business yet.