5 Growth Hacks to Improve Your Organic Market Share
Good SEO used to be about improving website rankings on search engine results pages. Now, though, it's not quite that simple — equally important is maximizing your first-page real estate.
To understand why, search for "men's shoes." If you're searching on your smartphone (as most people do), then sponsored listings from AdWords are probably all that you see. Scroll down, and you might see a locator map with shoe stores in your area, followed by a handful of listings with information such as user ratings and hours of operation. You likely need to scroll down even further to reach the organic search results.
Your initial reaction might be, "How will my website ever get noticed with so much competition on search engine results pages?" But if you think about it, a more productive response is, "look at all these ways to get ranked on page one!" Maximizing your website's exposure on SERPs is critical to boosting organic traffic volume to your website. Here, we'll review five growth hacks to beat back competitors and meet your organic traffic goals.
1. Improve Your Organic Results Page Share
Organic search results are still the bread and butter of SEO. The impact of a high ranking is somewhat diminished by Google's inclusion of knowledge graphs, ad extensions, AMP sliders and other elements on search results pages, but good things happen when your website excels in the search rankings.
That said, why settle for just one great search ranking? If you hold the no. 2 ranking but a competitor's website is ranked in the third, fourth and fifth positions, then are you really better off? It's just as important, or more so, to claim as many spots as possible on the first pages of search results.
Here's how to do it.
Start by making a spreadsheet with five columns. In the first column, list the top 25 keywords that bring organic traffic to your website. Then, one by one, search for each keyword on Google. Count the number of placements you have on the first page of search results — that number goes into the second column. Then, look for up to three competitors that also have multiple placements, entering their placement totals in the third, fourth and fifth columns, with the largest number in the third column.
Once finished, you can easily see where competitors are getting the best of you. Those are the keywords where you should prioritize work on your SEO.
2. Don't Just Optimize for Organic Listings
Sure, you could just focus on organic search results, but that's like going to an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet and ignoring the prime rib. Organic search results aren't alone on SERPs. In fact, they're positioned below AMP sliders, knowledge graphs, maps, images and other elements. Why not strive for more organic traffic by reaching beyond organic listings?
Proceed with this as you did with improving organic page share. Create a list of your best keywords, search for each one, and write down which SERP elements appear above the organic listings on each search. If your website appears in any of these special SERP sections, be sure to note its position.
Once finished, review your list and determine which improvements would be most beneficial for your business. Could you rank higher within a certain SERP element? Or are there certain keywords where you simply need more page share? Your answers to these questions will help you further prioritize your SEO strategy.
3. Promote Positive Customer Reviews
Customer reviews (especially good ones) play a big role in SEO. For starters, Google displays locator maps above organic search results with business listings and their ratings — these ratings are aggregated from several reputable sources. Then, in the organic results, directory websites such as Yelp and Angie's List often have high-ranking placements. These directory sites can be gold mines for organic traffic to your website.
How can you capitalize on this? First, make sure you've created a free Google My Business page. Next, make profiles for your business on Yelp and other popular review sites.
The most important step is encouraging your customers to write positive reviews of your business. There are several ways to do this, such as by talking directly with customers or by including links to your business review page in follow-up emails after purchases. You can also include buttons to Yelp, Google My Business and other directories on your website.
4. Think Local
Localization is one of the hottest trends in SEO. Thanks to the convenience of smartphones, many people nowadays search for goods and services in their immediate areas. This means your website content shouldn't just include the city where you're located. Rather, your website should reflect your district, neighborhood or any community where you have branch stores or offices.
How does this relate to page share?
Consider this. Let's say you own a paint store in the Hollywood District of Portland, OR. Unless that's clear on your website, then your best SEO efforts might be wasted on anyone searching for paint shops in the Hollywood District — no locator maps, organic listings or anything.
Does your business have several branch locations? If so, try searching for related goods and services for those specific communities or districts. This will help you see whether your local SEO strategy needs work.
5. Look Over the Fence
If you've followed the previous four steps, then you should know which competitors are beating out your organic page share. Why not take some pages directly from their playbooks?
Search Google for your best keywords and click on highly placed links for your top competitors. Mine their content, page layout and website structure for ways to improve your own site. Is their content more focused or angled differently? Are they using different header tags? Are their meta tags in the organic results more compelling? Do their webpages have more multi-media elements? Are the competing websites bigger or more logically organized?
Sometimes, checking out the competition is the best way to find your own shortcomings.
Improving your rankings on Google's SERPs is important, but so is improving your page share. And page share is only increasing in importance as Google siphons more real estate from organic search results.
These hacks can get you started toward improving your page share.
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Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on Forbes.com, Inc.com, MSN.com, and many other major business media outlets.
Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.