Jackson Martin keeps you up to date with everything that’s happening in the world of search. This week, Google announces new Penguin updates, Yelp wins a major legal battle, and America is lining up for the iPhone 6.
The goal of Moneyball is to get the best results out of the least money spent. In other words, Billy Beane viewed his baseball team as a business, looking to get the best value or ROI. Beane’s Oakland teams made the playoffs four straight years in the early 2000s despite being in the bottom five teams in salary.
As a sports fan and a sportswriter, reading Moneyball changed the way I look at baseball like few other things have. Each week, I’ll try to do the same thing with SEO for you in this series, SEO MoneyBall, using some deeper statistics to give you a better look at how to improve your web presence. This week, I look at why Google isn’t the only search engine you should focus on.
Oftentimes in the Search Engine Optimization business we only truly focus on one search engine. In fact, we should really call what we do “Google Optimization” because almost all the tricks and effort we put into optimizing websites is solely to optimize for Google.
This isn’t necessarily wrong: Google holds nearly 70% of the market share in search engines and has the widest variety of tools and extensions that companies can use to promote themselves, so it makes sense to focus the majority of time and effort on this search engine.
However, there is a sleeping giant and it has been gaining steam for quite some time now. Bing, backed by the corporate giant that is Microsoft, has worked its way up to a 17.9% market share and big things on the horizon.
George Fischer of Search Engine Watch also says of Bing, “Aggressive marketing and business decisions leading to increased market share are one reason to focus on Bing. Another is their unique demographics. According to Alexa, users age 45-65+ are over representing on Bing as compared with Google. This same age demographic is also the fastest growing on Facebook.”
Bing has also gone all-in on image search, showing tons of images on regular results pages. This gives companies an opportunity to easily rank and get conversions from Bing by being smart about optimizing images (i.e.,with the proper keywords in the alt. text).
The biggest reason to divert some of your focus to Bing, however, lies in this press release by Apple:
“Starting this fall with iOS 7, Bing will power Siri’s new integrated web search. When users ask Siri a question either the specific answer or web search links will now be delivered automatically so users can find information even faster.
Bing was designed from the outset to be a great place for web search, helping customers quickly find what they are looking for and get more out of search. We are thrilled that all the great results people have come to know and love on Bing.com will now be available to Siri users on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Making sure customers can have access to the power of Bing where and when they need it has been a big focus of the work we have done over the past few years, and we are excited to work with Apple to deliver it to Siri users this fall.”
That’s right, everyone on Apple iOS 7 will by default use Bing as their primary search engine. This means that Bing is set to skyrocket its market share starting this fall.
In particular, businesses that rely on location-based searches will benefit immensely from Apple using Bing, as many of these iOS 7 searches will be looking for a restaurant, gas station, or other nearby place.
Where you can take advantage of Bing in places Google doesn’t go is social media. Bing search integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Klout on its results page. Having a large following and good Yelp reviews can send your business to the top, and help you take advantage of the incoming volume of iOS 7 searches.
To rank higher on Bing, especially in location-based searches, pay attention to your social media. Update all channels regularly, and manage your Yelp reviews. Having an active social media presence can mean the difference between getting thousands of hits from iOS 7 Siri searches in the fall and missing out completely.
Gotta have more SEO Moneyball? Check out these posts for more!
For larger brands like Apple, Pepsi, and Chipotle, it’s not too difficult to make a splash on social media. They simply show up to the digital party and collect their millions of fans fairly quickly thanks to their outstanding levels of brand awareness and popularity. However, if you run a small business, it’s significantly more difficult to build up a dedicated army of social followers that will interact with your posts consistently. Therefore, for smaller companies and less visible brands particularly, it’s important to give your current and future customers a reason to take the time to find you on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.
So what counts as a “good reason” to get someone to connect with you on your social networks? That’s the million dollar question, and it really depends on the nature of what your business does and what sorts of things customers in your target market will likely respond to. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Coupons- Giving away coupons and other special offers is a very common practice amongst smaller businesses. Make sure that the offer is noteworthy enough to really draw interest. However, you should note that you run the risk of someone liking your company to get the offer and then unliking you afterward, so try to combat this by posting interesting, helpful content on a regular basis.
- Prizes- Instead of instantly granting a coupon for any like or follow, some companies go for a sweepstakes-style approach, exchanging a like for a chance to be entered into a drawing (or multiple drawings that occur periodically). Because a sweepstakes is usually accompanied by long odds, you need to make the prize particularly enticing if you want to see significant action from customers.
- Helpful information- Again, this will vary depending on the industry your firm competes in. Restaurants should consider keeping customers up to date on things like specials and new menu items. Entertainment venues can announce upcoming events and update show information. A shoe store might announce sales on certain brands. You’re only limited by your offerings and your imagination.
- Donations to charity- If your business works with a non-profit, it can actually be fairly effective to offer to contribute a small donation in exchange for each unique like or follow. In this case, you give the non-profit an incentive to promote your social channels as well.
Like most social initiatives, strategizing to increase follower count should be a fun opportunity to let your creative marketing juices flow. Try to think outside the box to come up with radical incentives that really catch customers’ eyes.