Speaking at the Digital Marketing Forum 2015 hosted by Sensis and The Australian, Maile Carnegie, Managing Director – Google Australia & NZ, said getting onto page one of Google is a mixture of paid marketing, having a great product and relevant information to improve your organic search results.
In terms of organic search results, “if you’ve got a great product, you might have a cracking service but if your site doesn’t answer consumer-specific questions then it’s not relevant content. It’s a combination of having a great product and great content.”
The goal of online marketing is for your website to be found when someone is looking for you and given that many internet searchers do not scroll past page one of Google, this is an enormous source of traffic for businesses.
Ms Carnegie said Google has to prioritise the relevance and quality of content because if people have a bad online experience they’ll go elsewhere.
“Google lives and dies by the quality of service we give. We’re only two clicks away from someone changing their search provider.”
Ms Carnegie also said that understanding the query process of how a user would reach your site was vital in improving a Google ranking. “You need to understand the journey of your users and map out what questions or queries and what path they will be on to get to your site,” she said.
In his opening address to the audience, Sensis CEO John Allan noted that two thirds of businesses in Australia generate their online sales from the local area.
Ms Carnegie added to this later and said “if you look at searches on Google, one in five searches on mobile are for geographic information like ‘florist near me’ or ‘pharmacy near me’.”
“The term ‘near me’ has grown two and a half times in the past 12 months,” she added.
Ms Carnegie also emphasised the importance of having a marketing strategy that was aligned to the surge of smartphone usage in Australia.
“Mobile is absolutely critical,” Ms Carnegie said. “Believe it or not, people are checking their phones 150 times a day. The new battleground for businesses and markets is how do you navigate that complexity?”
Mr Allan pointed out that many businesses do not have the time to adequately manage their search engine marketing which is why marketing services groups such as Sensis are increasingly helping more customers.