SEO Update – Opportunity or Risk?

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A very common marketing strategy in the inflatable and party rental industry is to invest considerable time and money into improving your website’s SEO (search engine optimization). Companies spend thousands (or tens of thousands!) of dollars and/or countless hours optimizing their site, building out content and encouraging appropriate backlinks that signal to search engines that their site is highly relevant for the keywords they want to rank well for.

What you may not know is that many websites are now falling in rank, and many are jumping in rank, because of a recent Google update.

Search Engine Optimization Overview

SEO is a very important component of your online marketing strategy. When someone searches for “inflatable rental” or “bounce house rental”, I’m sure you would be thrilled to be the top search result, because that would mean a lot more visitors that you’d have a chance to capture as a lead on your website.

Google, and other search engines, use sophisticated algorithms to determine which results are the most relevant and valuable to the searcher. It’s important to remember that success as a search engine depends on their ability to meet the searcher’s needs, so it constantly adapts it’s algorithm to produce more relevant and valuable results, despite sophisticated attempts to “game the system” by many online marketing companies (many of which are simply not reputable).

The difference in traffic between positions on the SERP (search engine results page) is pretty staggering. Different online sources cite different numbers, but generally speaking, first position gets about a third of the organic clicks from searchers. “Organic” just means that the click was on a non-paid search result.

So, what this means is that out of every 1,000 people searching Google this month for what you offer, around 330 of those searchers will click on the first result! And the traffic drops dramatically from there.

To break out the rest of the SERP, the following are generally accepted traffic share metrics:

SearchEngineWatch

Image courtesy of SearchEngineWatch.com

So, it’s pretty obvious how valuable it is to be among the top five in your market, let alone #1! That’s why companies spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to improve their rankings.

The Big Opportunity

Every change that Google makes to their algorithm represents either risk to those at the top of the results page, or opportunity to the rest.

In April, Google made changes to their algorithm that places additional value on websites that are mobile responsive. “Responsive” basically means is that the website is user-friendly all device types, most importantly mobile.

And it makes sense right? Google’s job is to make sure search results are as relevant and valuable to the searcher as possible. A website is less valuable if it’s difficult to use on a specific device.

And… by the way… mobile is now a dominant force in our industry!

We recently worked with an inflatable rental business to design and build a new website, and they shared with us that over 75% of their visits are from mobile devices!

Think about that… if your site is not mobile responsive, your user experience is poor for potentially 75% of your visitors! AND… now Google will favor your competitors on search results that are responsive.

Whew… I got all worked up there, but this really is a big deal. You either have an opportunity to jump up on your competition, or the risk that someone will jump ahead of you. What will you do?

Now much of this gets very technical, and I’ll spare you the details, but the bottom line is that if organic search visitors are important to you, your website needs to provide a friendly experience to its users. If someone is on a mobile device (which may be nearly 75% of searchers for this industry), and your site is not responsive, then your search ranking will suffer.

What To Do Now

First… head over to Google’s mobile-friendly test and learn how Google views you. What you want are results that look like this:

Google mobile test for Inflatable Academy

If your site is mobile responsive, congratulations! You’re in great shape. Let us know in the comments… I’m sure people would love to check out your site for inspiration.

If your site is not mobile responsive, which is the case for the vast majority of sites I’ve seen in this industry, you need to know for yourself what your traffic share is on mobile devices. Don’t take my word for it. Head over to your Google Analytics account and check it for yourself. If you don’t have Google Analytics set up or don’t know where to find this information, we’d be happy to help you, just post a comment below and ask.

Once you’ve confirmed that mobile traffic is VERY important, it’s time, right now, that you think about doing something about it. I am not overemphasizing the importance of this by saying that it could negatively affect your ability to generate new business in 2015.

You have a lot of options for web development, and I’m not selling anything here… this is meant to be purely informational. However, our mission at Inflatable Academy is to provide you with information and training as well as recommend or offer products and services to help you meet your goals.

We would love to help you.

So if you’re interested at all in learning how we can help you get mobile responsive, go ahead and post a comment below.

Just as a frame of reference, the company we worked with recently got a whole new website in just a couple of weeks. And yes, they’re already reporting results of improved sales because of their new, professional, search engine optimized and mobile-responsive website.

If enough people express an interest in getting some help, we may consider building a website-in-a-box product/service… I envision a done-for-you-service where we implement a beautiful website that you can then easily customize and configure to your needs. It would be a product that we can design and develop one time and offer for a reasonable price to the industry as a whole, rather than you needing to make a much greater investment that a new website would usually require.

But again… only if enough people are truly interested. If you are, then we can follow up with a post that shows what we implemented so you can get a better sense of what we can do for you.

If not, we hope this post is helpful for you, and please feel free to comment requesting other topics you may be interested in us posting about.

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