Four Ways to Keep Your Business Top of Mind Online

Over the last three decades, the way we do business has changed dramatically with the internet. Consumers are spending hours on multiple connected devices, from laptops and phones to fitness bands and even their refrigerators. There’s more clutter – and more opportunity – than ever.

In this always-on, always-connected world, how do businesses stay top of mind?

The answer: be customer-obsessed. Businesses that are tuned in to the user experience will win. This starts with taking advantage of how consumers are searching. These four opportunities will help to stay top of mind online.

1. Be Mobile.

With 95% of the US population using a smartphone and 93% of online activity starting on a search engine, businesses need to find ways to connect with consumers in their moments of need – AKA via search.

What can businesses do?

  • - Build your website with page speed in mind.
  • - Be secure. Make sure your site has an SSL.
  • - Use SEO best practices to help you rank higher for mobile.

2. Be Vocal.

“Siri, call mom.” By 2020, 50% of all search queries will be voice, using digital assistants like Siri, Cortana and Alexa to voice services like Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Users are trusting voice-enabled devices more, and with machine learning, these devices are becoming more accurate, even tailoring answers to their owners.

What can businesses do?

  • - Write website copy in natural, conversational voice. Answer commonly asked questions about your product or service.
  • - Browse Google's "People also ask" section to gain insight into questions related to a given topic.
  • - Position Zero matters. Survey your front-line staff to discover commonly asked questions to drive content in Google’s featured snippets.

3. Be Local.

One in three searches are now related to location. Google’s Consumer Insights has reported a 10x increase in “near me tonight/today” searches in the past two years, proving that consumers are looking for local, in-person search results while they’re on the go. Retailers have an opportunity to capture and measure those moments of immediacy, answering where to go, what to do or what to buy.

What can businesses do?

  • - Keep Google My Business and Google Maps up-to-date. And don’t forget other business listings like Citysearch and Yelp.
  • - Social media is the newest form of customer service, so keep a strong presence and encourage fans and followers to share feedback.
  • - Implement local campaigns, which will be available soon in Google Ads.

4. Be Visual.

People are visual; images are processed faster and recalled better than words, and we’re innately drawn to them. This is particularly evident in the rise of visual and video content online.

What can businesses do?

  • - SEO still applies. Optimize for images with keyword-friendly ALT text, file names and shipping feeds, and check file sizes for page load speed.
  • - Use short videos to capture attention quickly. Design for sound off, which mobile users prefer.
  • - Visual search is great for online shopping. Users can now take a picture of just about anything and use apps like Google Lens, Bing Visual Search or Pinterest Lens to learn more about the product, price shop or compare similar products.

These four areas are just the tip of the iceberg but can make a huge difference in getting your business found. Remarkably, voice search is additive, not subtractive - meaning the quantity of desktop searches is not decreasing, but rather mobile, voice and image searches are just piling on top. Businesses need to be nimble, ready to pivot when change occurs, because rules of search are always changing. What will the next three decades bring? We can’t wait to find out. But one thing is certain: users will drive the change.

Author Bio

Miki Miller, Senior Digital Marketing Analyst at Lawrence & Schiller, is a data detective, delving deep into the numbers to see the big picture for her clients and coworkers. Miki’s proficiency with SEO, paid search, analytics and finding ROI helps keep Lawrence & Schiller a leader in digital marketing strategies that reach the right audiences and drive conversions. She lives in the great state of South Dakota and is constantly looking for the next big adventure

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