Making Google work for you

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) continues to be a vital and yet tricky marketing tactic to achieve and execute correctly.

According to the latest intelligence from Google, 75% of customers use a search engine to find local eateries, with 56% of those searchers looking for a business to visit that day, or in the next week. So, it’s paramount that your business is found in that search.

There are obvious and simple ways to improve the SEO of your site whether that be through imagery, content or analytics. Smart changes can make huge differences and ensure that when key words related to your business are entered into search engines, you will indeed appear at the top of the results.

For example, content is still key, the correct wording can attract potential clients and customers from all over and from a huge variety of sources. It’s vital that the identity and tone of voice is correct and this must follow through the messaging on all web pages and marketing channels.

Our work with Bells of Lazonby, a high class bakery, saw us produce magnificent results for the client and this was through implementing simple content tactics. On their site we always ensure that there’s a clear landing page for each product whilst also having the most up to date imagery where possible. Up to date photography is a must and can help provide so much insight, this along with clear landing pages are two vital tactics in achieving excellent SEO results.

Not only that, we also wrote longer and more detailed product descriptions. This is due to the fact that Google sees longer and more detailed pages more authoritative and so ranks them more highly than shorter and less detailed pages.  

Finally we used Google’s Keyword Planner to understand what terms are searched most often, and used this to inform the keywords we used in the page copy and meta data for Bells of Lazonby. One of our key tips for businesses is to use Google tools more effectively. They offer a whole range of analytics which can be used to test and improve how your website is performing. The Google search console in particular provides vital technical data on SEO issues on your website that may be critical and need attention. This tool can be used to run regular monthly diagnostics to really streamline and improve your SEO. If you link this tool with your website analytics it will share search query information and much more.

As well as utilising Google’s tools, creating unique metadata throughout your top level landing pages is a vital. This is the page title and description that searchers see on Google listings. By including those all-important keywords, which should also be present in the main page copy, you can grow your rankings for those terms. The meta description in particular should also entice the user to click through – as popular pages are likely to appear higher up the page.

Looking ahead over the next few years, we are only going to see increasing challenges for businesses to ensure they are featured in people’s search terms.  For example a growing challenge now is voice search. Sales of voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home doubled in Q4 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. Shopping and searching via voice commands is increasing and that may present a key challenge the sector, but getting your content right will be vital.

I’m advising our hospitality clients to focus on elements like Google My Business listings, and also make sure you have an easy to read FAQ section, which will help with voice search which is more conversational. Voice searches like, ‘Find me a restaurant in Bristol with free parking near the city centre,’ will soon become the norm and the FAQ’s are critical to appearing within these.

My top tips are:

  • Make sure you have clear landing pages
  • Provide strong content and imagery, along with individual FAQ’s
  • Understand search queries and what people are searching, services and locations
  • Create unique “meta data” throughout your top level landing pages as a minimum
  • Know your competition, national and local competitors and where they rank in Google
  • Set up analytics with thorough tracking for conversions and your ecommerce revenue
  • Work with other local businesses and attractions to combine offers and share content and links
  • Make sure your imagery is up to date on Google my business listings and looks professional.

David O’Keefe, is the digital account director at Fat Media, one of the UK’s leading digital marketing agencies for the hospitality and catering sector.

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