he majority of readers find this post through our top Google listing. So because you’re reading this and were searching for a Black-owned marketing company… you likely already realize how critical it is to get your business on the first page of Google (for the right terms), to get in front of the exact clients you want.
But… did you also know that search engines send 300% MORE traffic than social media?
And that GOOGLE ALONE sends exponentially more traffic than Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social networks COMBINED:
Google search leaves social media in the dust when it comes to generating well-targeted, qualified leads for your business. (Again, if you’re ranked for the right terms. More on that in a minute.)
But that’s not to say that social media marketing isn’t valuable. (It can help increase your Google rankings.) It’s just not necessary for you to regularly get the exact types of clients you want.
Sure, you might get a funny look or two when you tell people you’re not on social media, when they ask. But who cares, as long as you’re consistently getting your exact, perfect client?
2 Commonly-Asked Questions About “Organic” Google Marketing
“Organic” means the “free” search results you don’t pay for, which does not include the paid ads surrounding those listings.
We’ll outline our proven Google ranking strategy for organic search in a moment. But first, it’s imperative to understand this:
Getting to the top of google search results takes time.
We’re not magicians (unfortunately! because that sounds kind of cool).
We’re focused hard workers who have been doing and studying search engine marketing for years.
That said, here are two top questions YOU need answered:
Question 1: How long does it take to get your website on Google?
If this isn’t a trick question, it certainly has a trick answer.
Frankly, any marketer worth her or his salt knows how to get Google to find your website immediately after it’s created.
But because 91.5% of searches END on Google’s first results page, if you’re not on the first page, you’re unlikely to ever be seen by the customers looking for you.
However, even then, a first-page ranking still may not cut it.
Why not? Because…The top THREE Google results ALONE steal 50 to 67% of all first-page result traffic.
(Sources: van Deursen & van Dijk; Optify, Chitika; Advanced Web Ranking)
So even if you’re on the first page, but not in the top three, more than half the people who view your listing will never visit your website.
With this data, you’d think that it makes sense to shoot for a #1 to #3 ranking for your keywords. Right?
In theory, this sounds amazing.
But with literally millions of websites competing for most keyword phrases… this is only happening for THREE of hundreds of millions of websites.
Of course you see the problem.
The following tidbit is beyond the general scope of this article, but suffice it to say that it’s a fine idea in some cases to shoot for lower rankings for super-competitive keywords. But…
Microbusinesses don’t usually have the budget to compete for super-competitive Google rankings.
Instead, you’d start with moderately competitive, plausible keywords to establish a ranking foothold. Your marketing team should know which ones to best choose.
Back to the original question:
Getting a #1 to #3 Google ranking can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, to more than a year to achieve, depending on a wide range of factors (actually more than 200!).
Question 2: If Google rankings are increasing… why isn’t website traffic?
Top rankings don’t automatically indicate a landslide of traffic.
In addition to simply taking time, here are five reasons why you could be seeing rankings increase, but not yet seeing any leads:
Basically, although you might be ranked #20 out of 549,396,209 websites… you’re still on the second or third page of Google results. In this case, stick with it, understand your marketing plan, and give it time to work. (Honestly, at least a year.)
If you’re still in the beginning months/year of Google marketing, you likely just haven’t amassed high enough rankings for reasonably-competitive keywords to see traffic from them. (That’s IF your marketing team knows what they’re doing. No one can guarantee rankings because we don’t control Google, AND because the only entity that knows *exactly everything* that causes a website to rank at #1 is Google.)
In this case, your marketing team should be on that, adjusting your site snippet to get higher clickthroughs… or adjusting your keywords to choose better fitting terms for your business.
It’s only by a careful analysis of your stats, conversions, on-page live user sessions, and more that the answer to this can be determined. But if keywords lack relevance or search intent was misinterpreted, a high bounce rate could be a telltale sign.
One very common explanation for this is assuming a buying intent when there’s actually an e-learning intent.
For example, if the keyword is “halloween makeup,” it’s difficult to be sure which users seek to buy it, and which seek application ideas. It’s better and more cost effective to shoot for more specific keywords — “buy halloween makeup” or “halloween makeup tutorial” — whichever matches our product/service offered.
We try to avoid these types of errors by using keywords more specific to your offerings, and researching user intent thoroughly before settling on a keyword list.
Again, “long tail” keywords (very specific ones with lower search volumes) are the appropriate starting point that allow many “niche” businesses, (like black owned marketing agencies), to gain a foothold most quickly — even if that foothold is a baby step.
Because traffic numbers just aren’t as important as number of leads.
It matters less if you’re only getting 10 visits per week from one keyword group… if two of those 10 people are contacting you weekly about services. (A 20% conversion is pretty great!)
And that’s just from one keyword.
The longer your Google marketing campaign goes on, the more keywords sending leads to your website, and the more the snowball effect occurs once social media, content marketing, and more are begun. This is why it’s vital not to give up after a few months!
Focus more on your website conversion rate than website traffic. After all, you’re really only concerned about the result (a new client/customer/donor/subscriber), not a landslide of traffic that never converts.
In summary, patience and a solid, calculated marketing strategy are key.
But not to worry. As long as your rankings are steadily improving, the keywords chosen are relevant, you have a smart, well-planned Google marketing strategy AND a high-converting website, then clients should eventually find you. (Literally!)
How We Got to the Top of Google (Fast).
Finally! The goods.
Below are some first page Google rankings we got using this strategy, back when our focus was strategic design.
Note: CTR is “clickthrough rate,” meaning the number of people that saw our listing and also “clicked through” to visit our target page.
Here are stats for a 90-day period:
#1 ranking, black owned web design companies: 20.45% CTR
#2 ranking, black owned graphic design companies: 22.84%
#2 ranking, african american web designers: 13.22% CTR
#2 ranking, african american web developers: 16.42% CTR
Our clickthrough rate was very good, but we could honestly have optimized some things to improve it even more. But because it was for a page I tossed up in a day for some easy rankings, I hadn’t done much to it because it was already doing a great job of generating weekly inquiries.
So here’s an overview of our process for getting ourselves and clients top Google rankings.
Stage 1: Keyword Determination
Objective: Fully understand your market. Compile list of “starter” keywords. (CRITICAL.)
We start every marketing plan here, usually by
interrogating you relentlessly, er, digging deeply into your business to understand you, what you do, why you do it, who your target market is, what they want, need, and expect… for starters.
If we don’t understand your motivation, goals, and market, there is no way we can consistently help get you results. This step is critical to be done thoroughly and well, as it sets the stage for the entire rest of your campaign.
We’ll discuss things like:
- What kinds of “solutions” to your clients’ problems do you offer?
- What do they expect from your business?
- What search terms are they using to find your competitors?
- What need are prospects expecting your company to potentially meet for them?
From that intel, we’ll brainstorm and discuss the best target words to help guide the rest of your strategy.
Stage 2: Competitive & Industry Analysis
Objective A: Identify top competitors and marketing strategy effectiveness of each (SEO audits).
Objective B: Refine & finalize home page keywords, choosing most relevant, popular, and attainable.
Here is where we evaluate your top competitors for the keywords we determined in the last step.
- What types of content are your competitors offering, and how is the market responding to it?
- Are users asking a question via search that isn’t well answered by the search results? (If not, why not? Is this keyword a dud, or is it a prime opportunity for you to dominate the results?)
These findings help us “test” our starter keywords to either ensure they’re sound choices, or tell us we need to go back to the drawing board and replace some or all of them with options more likely to deliver the specific results you’ve told us you want to achieve with your marketing.
Tip: Make sure you’re considering only the Black owned marketing agencies that base your plan of attack around a specific business goal (or set of goals) you specify.
Objective A: Compile shortlist of top domains/sites to scope for links.
Objective B: Notate critical on-page optimizations your site must do for best chance of outranking competitors.
Once we’ve decided on the final list of keywords to start with for your marketing plan, we update your competitor list (if needed), and do some digging to understand why they’re ranked highly for those keywords:
- Do they have a ton of links? From where?
- Are they new to this, or have they been around for years?
- What domains and web pages are their top links coming from?
- What are the common top sites that link to most of your top competitors?
These findings tell us how easy it will be to rank highly for your chosen keywords.
Stage 3: Compile “Starter” Places to Set Link Foundation
Objective: Map out marketing first steps.
Based on the notes taken from the last step, we’ll already have a few basic categories of online properties where we plan to get your site linked.
We also will already have uncovered several “categories” within which to promote you for several weeks, to, most likely, several months (dependent upon your marketing package).
Note, all outreach we do to promote your website (get links) will be high quality and 100% relevant.
Getting relevant listings allows a specialized business to build a relevant online presence much more quickly.
Stage 4: Build Solid “Starter” Web Presence with Niche Listings
Objective: Build a solid and RELEVANT online presence.
Now the promotion starts. This is how we “get your foot in the door” in Google’s eyes, showing them that there’s a new biz on the block that is ready to take on the world.
Or do the next tax return.
Or design the next comprehensive financial plan.
Or guide the next investment, find the next real estate buyer, build the next succession plan… or however it is that you serve your specific clientele.
In the previous preparation stage, we came up with numerous categories from which to begin getting eyeballs on your site. Now, we start exhaustively deep searching the Web for the most popular, relevant, and credible places we can find, then set out to get you listed there.
Stage 5: Create Starter Content to Establish Google Rankings
Objective: Start publishing content on your website that Google will come to love.
Depending on your offerings and target audience, by now we may have come across several competing, third-party blog posts or other pages that rank for one of your primary keywords.
If we have, we’ll save those additional competing pages to analyze later in your marketing plan (once we begin to make a big dent in all the categories from above, and before you start writing content).
And just like in our earlier competitive analysis stage, we’ll scrutinize the top ranking post in particular to understand why it’s at the top of Google. From there we may recommend building a post on YOUR website to outrank it.
Note, the first content we’d write and/or optimize would be for your primary landing page for the exact types of ideal clients you seek to attract. This “optimization” includes both the text you can see, as well as the ones you can’t, like meta tags, page formatting, and schema.
Stage 6: Market New Posts to Increase Google Rankings
Objective: Promote your on-site content to drive Google rankings up and visitors in.
To maintain your rankings over time, you should continue writing content and promoting it.
If the keywords you’re targeting are very competitive, we recommend repeating this cyclical process of:
- content creation
- content marketing (of that new content)
- keyword analysis (finding “spin-off keywords” to optimize for),
- competitive analysis (finding new places to promote your articles, based on “spin-off keywords”),
- content creation…
- content marketing…
…and so on.
In addition to everything else, you may also want to try different techniques that have proven effective for other small businesses, to see if you can overtake even more of Google’s first page with sites like Craigslist.
*** Repeat Steps 5 and 6 often. ***
Stage 7: Measure Content & Google Marketing Results
Objective: Discover what’s working best for your website, to do more of what gets results, and eliminate what’s a waste of investment (in either time or money).
Once you’ve begun to get a system down and momentum going, you should regularly analyze your site’s content to see how it’s performing. This is critical in understanding what resonates with your unique audience:
- What are your highest traffic articles?
- Can you monetize those in some way?
- What keywords are those articles ranking for on Google?
- Are those the keywords you intended to rank for?
- Can you expand on those topics to create more high-traffic content?
- Can you repackage that content as supporting media (videos, guides, podcasts, etc.) to get the fullest benefit (from the lowest investment) from that piece of popular content?
…and so on.
Keeping the cycle going—and doing regular “internal” analyses (of your site’s and articles’ performance)—ensures that you never run out of content ideas and places to promote your website.
Stage 8: Promote All Website Posts on Social Media
Objective: Start establishing your social media footprint, as social signals are also very important to Google rankings.
If your business isn’t yet on social media, design a social profile to match your website and brand. Then use the research we’ve done so far, and dig deeper to understand the type of content your audience really wants to receive.
If you’ll manage your social accounts yourself, it’s important to make a list beforehand of where and how to find content indefinitely, plus how to increase followers and find interested leads organically, who are most likely to visit your website and contact you about services.
Spend some time each month building your following, sharing relevant, interesting content to your audience, and ensuring that all of your relevant articles and news get shared.
More importantly, as your on-site articles climb up the Google ranks, try to make sure that the most popular of those get shared by readers who visit your site, increasing your site’s social popularity, thus bringing in even more followers, likes, +1s, shares… and hopefully, clients.
As an example, just one of our on-site articles that gets hundreds of visits per week is responsible for helping boost our Facebook following into the thousands, as well as getting dozens of Twitter shares per month with exactly zero additional work on our part.
Hint: Make sure the marketing companies you’re looking at have the experience to create YOU some high-powered posts to help dominate your industry.
Is Google Marketing a Good Decision for Your Business?
By now, it should be abundantly clear that getting your website to the top of Google is vastly more important to your bottom line than social media. Achieving top rankings on Google can REALLY pay off — if you’re willing to stick with a sound strategy for the long haul.
Search engine marketing for competitive keywords is not a “set it and forget it” strategy. It takes focus, time, patience, high strategy, persistence, and adaptability:
Your chosen African American owned marketing agency must be able to discern whether something is working or isn’t… and know what to optimize in both cases to help you get more and BETTER clients from the Internet.