The Best Long Term Digital Marketing Strategy for Local Businesses

Saturday, August 24th, 2019 by Patrick Hogan in Local SEO, Pay Per Click, Popular Posts / 0 Comments

At the dawn of the Internet age, savvy businesses easily gained a huge advantage over the lagging competition simply by creating a webpage and stuffing it with relevant keywords about their products and the cities in which they market. Opportunistic early pay-per-click customers of Google also enjoyed cheap clicks with a hefty return on investment.

Most of our potential customers still think about digital marketing in that way: If they (or we) build a good enough system, they will get plenty of leads that will turn into customers and eventually, profit. They think since many companies enjoy success on the internet, all they need to do is install a system (“flip the switch”) just like competitors and they will succeed also.  In many cases, that is still absolutely true. There are multitudes of actions we can take to pave the path to that success.

In reality, though, as a digital marketing company, it’s much easier for us to build leads and subsequent business if we build the system for a great company. In today’s continually changing online marketplace, the effectiveness of digital marketing and the resulting returns for great companies as opposed to poor companies is only going to increase.

Here’s how the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns for both organic (free) and paid search results (pay per click marketing) will ultimately be heavily influenced by the quality of the company advertising.

Search Engine Optimization – The Free Results

If you have a website, you theoretically have the opportunity to get ranked #1 for your preferred keywords. The criteria Google uses to determine the ranking order is always changing.  It began as a competition primarily between the actual websites. It is now trending toward and will continue trajectory toward a competition between the quality of companies trying to rank high. Better companies will rank higher. It’s important to remember that Google is more than a tool; it’s also a business.

What is Google’s number one goal if someone is searching for a plumber?

Google wants to offer searchers the best plumbers.

People searching for a plumber are not looking for the company with the flashiest website, most links, or even the plumber with the most reviews. They are looking for a local company that will respond quickly and performs the job efficiently at a fair price. In other words, they are looking for the BEST plumbers. Google knows this, and they have a huge brain trust and budget to ensure that their customers get what they want.

The Rankings Transformation

Past Ranking Factors

  • Does a website exist?
  • Keywords on the page
  • Size of the website – bigger sites must be better
  • Links to the website – votes from others on the web

Current Ranking Factors

With the always-improving algorithm and the more prominent presence of a company’s Google business listing as part of both the ranking algorithm and results listing, more factors emerged as part of the rankings:

  • Location of business relative to both the location of the device searching and geographic keywords
  • Quality of website
  • Is it fast?
  • Do visitors get what they want?
  • Is it technically sound?
  • Reviews across the web
  • Publicly disclosed reviews on Google
  • Consistency of information across web

Future Ranking Factors

Google has always been discreet about its planned algorithm changes, but a seasoned Internet marketer can make an educated guess based on what developments could occur given an unlimited budget and an ultimate goal of providing searchers a list of the very best plumbers in their area.
Some of the tactics I would employ:

  • Tracking time spent on suggested websites to determine their usefulness
  • Increasing reliance on reliable reviews of the company
  • Developing a public quality ranking system
  • Using human employees to proactively call a business’s customers
  • Hiring mystery shoppers to determine the actual service levels of a company
  • Monitoring signals on social media sites about product quality and customer service

As Google gets better and better, so will your results on your rankings on Google ‘s free results if you run a high-quality business.

Paid Search Results

Pay-Per-Click marketing, called Adwords on Google, is by far the largest source of income for Google. It works. Companies with good strategies can almost always still succeed at this point. However, there will come a time when only quality companies can afford to pay the necessary per-click cost to attain enough quality leads to pay for the campaign.

In most competitive pay-per-click markets we see, costs per click are consistently rising, even in very successful campaigns with good quality scores (even when our campaign is performing strongly compared to competitors). So given the fact that we are getting a high rate of clicks compared to impressions, and conversion rates (leads) can only get so high, eventually it will be up to the company to become more efficient with what they do with each lead so they can afford to pay the most money compared to its competition for each click.

For instance, if an electrician can turn 1 out of 3 calls into a technician visit and then turn 1 out of 2 of those into an average of $120 profit, that means 1 in six calls creates $120 in profit. So they can pay around $20 per click to break even.

Improving the quality of the company by improving inside sales to convert 1.5 out of 3 calls and the technicians to increase average profit per customer by $20, now you can afford to pay $35 each for those same 6 clicks.

Inefficient companies will be forced out of Pay-Per-Click marketing even if they have the best pay-per-click strategy in the market.

The Pay Per Click Quality Score

Google wants to be the best resource for people to find the best companies and they aren’t willing to abandon that goal by selling out, allowing substandard companies running poor campaigns to rank high. They currently use a quality score to keep out the bad results. An advertiser’s quality score is determined largely by click-through rate and landing page relevance. So since a low-quality score raises your cost per click, low-quality advertisers are quickly squeezed off the page because they can’t afford to keep the campaign running.

In the future, why wouldn’t a company’s quality score on Adwords include a Google-generated quality rating? They already use similar information for the free search results area. Google could offer costs per click at a lower rate to companies they already know deliver high-quality service….because those are the companies they want to show in the first place.

And searchers get the best results.

Everybody wins.

You can participate as long as you run a great company.

The Internet Marketing Consultant

Eventually, traditional search engine optimization will simply become making sure all the greatness of a business is translated as efficiently as possible to the major players on the internet. It will be even more important to find an internet marketing company that will keep up with current trends of how to accomplish this.

Pay Per click marketing will become even more about the strategy of positioning the company with special pricing, offers, and conversion optimizing with A/B testing.

An Internet marketing consultant succeeds when their customers succeed. So the smart ones will only work with great companies because great companies will have a built-in advantage on both the free and paid search results.  And any other platform that develops in the digital world.

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