By Bill Fukui, Director of Sales & Marketing
Now is the time most practices start accumulating marketing data over the past year to determine your marketing plans for 2018.
Of course, your own marketing data and results should be the foundation for building your comprehensive strategy. However, there is also other industry data that can provide insights to make more effective decisions. Let us just review some of them.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs Into One Basket (or just a few)
As consumers change, so should your marketing strategies. And consumers are changing how they research, compare and make decisions on services and providers. No longer do consumers only search a handful of “vanity” phrases.
Here are some general trends:
- Overall search engine traffic has increased, but search volume for the majority of vanity searches (city + 1-2 keywords) has been slowly declining over the course of time.
- Consumers are conducting a broader range of question-based search queries. Rather than rely on speaking to your practice to get answers, they are going directly to Google to find the answers.
- The majority of website traffic is typically coming from a wide variety of searches that are outside of a few vanity search phrases.
- Consumers recognize Google knows their location and conduct searches that are even more geo-specific (ex. “near me” searches).
- Practices that engage in more multi-channel marketing, advertising and remarketing are finding a higher percentage of their visitors are coming to their site via “branded” keyword searches (searches that includes your practice name, providers’ names, or some variation).
There are effective resources to identify search strategies that visitors are using to find your website. Use them to help you increase your exposure for the phrases that will make a difference in 2018.
More (Content) Is Not Always Better
I recently met with a client that was very satisfied with the growth of his organic traffic, and adding new content was certainly part of our strategy. His belief is that if something works, you double down and do more of it. So he requested we simply add to his content budget.
However, I pointed out that simply adding more blogs and pages is not the only way to improve organic visibility and traffic. Like most things, you can reach a point of diminishing return.
In some cases, it may make more sense is to improve the quality of the assets you already built. Here is a report from ahrefs that ranks pages by Google Position by age. It shows that pages in the #1 position are typically older than those in position #2; which in turn are older than pages in position #3 and so on.
So in 2018, don't just focus solely on adding more pages or blogs to generate results. Incorporate upgrading existing key pages of your website into your content marketing strategy.
Keeping in line with the strategy that more is not always better, it may also make sense to consolidate some of your thin (minimal content), narrowly focused, low-visibility pages. There was a time when practices created a lot of highly niche pages and optimized them to target a specific search phrase.
If your practice has a lot of these overly-niche pages that are not effectively indexed or rank for intended searches, combine them into a more authoritative, higher level page that is more all-encompassing. It can likely help your rankings and provide visitors a more comprehensive resource page.
These more comprehensive resource pages are highly organized and broken out into sub-sections that provide more details about the target topic.
We refer to these types of pages as long form pages. To provide some data to support this strategy, Backlinko conducted research on 1 Million Google searches that correlated the top ranking pages against the number of words on those pages.
Generally speaking, pages with more content tend to rank higher than thin, niche pages.
Add Imagery and Graphics
In addition to planning more authoritative content to your 2018 strategy, we also suggest you develop strategies that incorporate more images, graphics and engagement elements.
In the same Backlinko research, they also correlated the Google rank position based on the percentage of pages that had at least one image. Overall, it showed that the majority of listings in positions 1-9 almost always have at least one supporting image with the content. From position #10 and lower, the percentage of pages with at least one image dropped noticeably.
To enhance user experience, comprehension and build even more credibility, your content strategy needs to also incorporate more interactive elements beyond a stock photo. Engagement elements such as infographics, slideshares, consumer quizzes and checklists, etc. can elevate the time users spend on your site, convert into leads and boost your pages’ credibility with Google.
Promote, Promote, Promote
There is no question that improving your content development strategy can make an impact in your business in the coming year. But you don’t want to simply build great content in a vacuum. Great content can only be seen as great when it is actually viewed!
Thus, part of your budget needs to include promotion of your content. This promotion can be in a number of different forms.
Internal Links – Include links to your high priority pages on other pages, blogs, and calls-to-action.
Social Media – Facebook and other social media should be promoting blogs, pages, articles and resources on your website. Integrating your website and social media needs to be a key strategy. Anywhere from 30%-60% of your social media posts should link to and promote fresh content on your website.
Newsletters – Practices must leverage their customer databases and those newsletters also need to promote these highly useful pages and blogs.
Email – In many instances, follow up email efforts with prospects can significantly be enhanced with links to these key consumer resources. They can provide a real differentiator in terms of credibility to your prospect and equity to your target pages.
Display Advertising – The affordable cost of some social media display advertising or boosting posts can also drive a lot of branded traffic to these pages.
Now is the time to start planning your 2018 campaign. Give us a call to get your plans on track – 800-368-9910.