Going 8 Seconds on the Google Bull
Hold on it can get bumpy
Search engine marketing today can seem like riding a bull in the National Pro Rodeo finals without a cinch, never really knowing which way the bull will spin or when you will get bucked off. Like the final score at the end of the ride, search rankings have been the one constant that you could grasp along with raw traffic that could determine which way the search engines had moved, giving a sense of the direction to focus your marketing efforts.
Enter todays arena, where it’s common to feel like you’re riding the search engine bull without a cinch or that you are trying to weave it mid buck. To make matters worse the size and shape of the bull seem to change arbitrarily at random intervals. Amidst all this turmoil you are still expected to stay on the bull or lose traffic to your site! While it may seem an impossible task, with a little work you can grab the morphing bull by the horns by applying some marketing research and a little creativity.
Know Your Rider
The first step toward riding todays search engine bull is to understand who is riding it, or more specifically your website visitor. Understand the demographic makeup of your visitor allows you to effectively develop a design and content strategy that will allow you control of the search animal and provide a comfortable experience to your rider.
A great tool to use to find and target specific groups within a local area is the Nielson “My Best Segments” tool It is great for identifying the predominant groups in a area and their preferences and activities. http://www.claritas.com/MyBestSegments/Default.jsp?ID=20
Build Your Cinch
In order to successfully ride 8 seconds in the arena, a rider firmly tightens a cinch down on one hand to help stay on the bull. Properly crafted content targeted toward your demographic sweet spot in the form of articles, graphics, and videos allows your site to score higher than its competitors by providing a better ride, keeping your user on the site for the proverbial 8 seconds.
Understanding your targeted demographic is critical in relating to the types of sites and content that your riders already use and connect with. A great resource on defining the type of social channels used by various demographics is an article by PEW that discusses usage of social sites, tools defining the percentage, gender, age, income, and education of their users.
Understanding which social channels your targeted rider uses gives you additional strands to weave into your cinch allowing you to keep your rider continually interacting with your website and conquering the bull.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Using Google Analytics is a great way to track and measure your user experience enhancements, allowing you to check bounce rate, time on page, pages viewed and how they found you. http://www.google.com/analytics/
As mentioned earlier the longer your user stays on your website the more the search engines consider your website a greater match for a wider range of riders that they will send to you.
Like most bull riders, riding does not come quick or naturally, and only after consistent practice and effort. Experimenting with different combinations of marketing methods, content strategies and social channels will you allow you to truly master the art of riding the bull that is today’s personalized internet search animal.