Online visibility is making yourself widely available to anyone looking for you online and what you look like when they find you. The very process of being widely available is self-reinforcing. If the only thing you have online is a website then Google will not consider you to be very important and you will find it hard to rank your site. But if you also are listed in places like Maps, Directories, Review Sites, Industry Niche Sites, Local Sites, Social Media Sites, Video Sites then suddenly the likes of Google sit up and take notice. Make sure of this and it helps your site to rank better in each search engine.
One of the problems with being widely available is to ensure brand consistency. You may put a lot of effort into getting your website just right in terms of look and feel, but what happens if someone finds you in one of the other places listed above? Has anyone made sure that you will be recognised as the same company as the one on your website? That is an important part of your online visibility and it has a bearing on your online credibility too.
The more online presence your business has, the more likely people looking for your product or service will find you as opposed to a competitor. If you restrict your online presence to a website then you will be almost invisible because there is so much competition. The websites that rank well will have been around a long time and will have had huge investments over time to make them perform in the “search engine results pages” (SERPs).
Google is the new Home Page
What does this mean? If Google recognises your business then you will appear in what has become known as the Google Knowledge Graph. This dramatically improves your online visibility and ranking.
As you can see from the knowledge graph of the Google Knowledge Graph, Wikipedia describes it as “The Google Knowledge Graph is a knowledge base used by Google and its services to enhance its search engine’s results with information gathered from a variety of sources. The information is presented to users in an infobox next to the search results.”
The term “a variety of sources” is a bit of a clue here. It is quite possible for a business to have a Google knowledge graph even if it does not have a website. This is more likely for a local business as it is more likely to be registered in other databases like maps and directories than an e-commerce site or a brand.
Authority, Relevance, Trust – ART
It stands to reason that for Google to rank a website it needs to prove itself to Google and it does this using what has been described as ART. Authority is largely derived from content that can be attributed to the entity such as the content on the website. For this to be authoritative it has to well reached and written so that it can demonstrate that it is better than most other similar content. Relevance is important in ranking because the general public is specifying what they want to find online and they don’t want irrelevant search results. So Google and other search engines try to understand what content is about and to serve up the most relevant content in the search engine results. Trust comes largely from third-party endorsement which can be from being known to other sites (think LinkedIn and other social media platforms or Yelp and other review platforms). It can also come from the public via their online reviews, particularly if the reviews are descriptive and the business responds to them.
One of the most important advantages of a company’s marketing is increased online visibility, which can reach an audience 24/7.
There are two types of online marketing to note here:
- Static – where the emphasis is getting into places where you may be found like directories
- Active – where the emphasis is on campaigns where you are trying to be noticed
Prospective customers have more chance of finding a business if it is widely listed as mentioned above as the business cannot predict where people may look. Some may like to look in business directories, others on maps, others on YouTube, you get the point.
Some campaigns can be passive once they are set up. A good example of this is when you seem to be followed around the web – wherever you go, seemingly, a product that you recently looked at is presented to you again and again. I recently looked for a desk lamp and clicked through to one for sale on Google. When I log in to my eBay account I now see those same lamps displayed even though I did not look at them on eBay in the first place. I see them on other sites that I visit as well. I would bet that a lot of companies pick up extra customers and sales using this sort of passive campaign. You should too.
Local versus Organic Ranking
Wikipedia defines SEO as “the process of growing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid results (known as “natural” or “organic” results) and excludes direct traffic and the purchase of paid placement. Additionally, it may target different kinds of searches, including image search, video search, academic search, news search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.”
That last item “industry-specific vertical search engines” is similar to a directory which contains structured data. It is that which differentiates local from organic search ranking. Think of a directory that instead of being industry-specific contains location data such as addresses. It is these directories that enable local search results to appear even when there is no website associated with the business. They contain not only geographic information but also other structured data such as business categories. This enables the public to search for “the nearest cafe” using their smartphone and to get results despite the cafes not having a website.
Map Directories & Voice Search
Everyone has heard of Google Maps and Apple Maps and most people know of others like Bing Maps and Garmin etc. These systems can be used for navigation but they also contain a directory of businesses which are “local” by definition. Their aim is to be the go-to place for people to find the products and services that they need and they lend themselves to voice control because they contain structured data. This is definitely increasing their appeal and would explain why
- Google has invested so much in the Android operating system for smartphones
- Apple is investing so much in Apple Maps
- Amazon is investing so much in Alexa
Online visibility would definitely include search results delivered verbally by Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana and Google Assistant.
A page that appears higher up and earlier in the search results is guaranteed to receive more traffic than a less visible page and vice versa. In local search, this is referred to as “appearing in the 3-pack”. It is widely recognised that businesses in the 3-pack pick up the lion’s share of resulting sales.
This, also known as commercial intent, refers to the intention of a user (or buyer) during the process of purchasing a product or service. With the help of modern data analytics tools, marketers can map out buyer intent and determine where buyers are in the buyer’s journey, which helps improve targeting.
Research shows that people using local search terms are far more likely to have commercial intent than people undertaking similar online research without a local element. This stands to reason. If someone is searching “plumber near me” it is much more likely that they need a plumber now than if they are simply looking at “plumbers” with no geographic specificity.
And it is for this reason that online visibility – being widely listed – is so important and that only having a website and no other online presence is such a mistake. Lack of the ability to be found in a general online search can result in customers never reaching your site. If you have a product or service that is needed, you need to be visible when they are looking for it.
This one fact should undoubtedly convince you that investing in increasing your company’s online visibility is essential to the success of your business. This will help you build your online presence to increase your chances of beating the competition, especially in local search results. If you offer a product or service in your niche with a local focus, Local SEO can help you.
Content Marketing for online visibility
Perhaps the most interesting way, however, is to provide relevant content that provides consumers with valuable information to entice them to visit your web pages. Essentially, you want to use the same language in your content that your target audience will be using to search for your services. This helps a search engine to recognise your content and serve it up in results.
There are a number of possible ways to increase your company’s online visibility. With Internet marketing now aimed at increasing public awareness of brands and products, strong online visibility can help reassure potential customers that the website or company is legitimate and worthwhile.
A strong online visibility marketing campaign combines as many practices as possible that support each other to increase the visibility of your business. Some routes focus on making sure your content appears in search engines, while others focus more on content creation, advertising and social media marketing.
Therefore, make sure that your social media profiles are well written, uniformly branded and optimized for how you want to be found. Choosing the right platform for your business and actively participating in it, whether by posting content, asking questions or interacting with followers, can increase your online visibility.
In your blog, you can present your expertise and offer added value to your target audience. The more content you provide, the more visible your web presence becomes. It is a great source of information about your business, products and services, possibly as well as your personal life and it can be one of the most important parts of your online presence.
Ideally, you should try to blog as often as possible, but just one blog post per month will help increase your online visibility and help boost your site in search engine results pages. This is especially true if you share links to the blog post widely on social media and people start commenting.
Some experts talk about the long tail of keywords which is using a less popular phrase that is more likely to rank due to there being less competition for that phrase. Online visibility is about finding out where the conversations take place and whether they are important for your customers, your industry or your company’s participants.
Question – What is online visibility?
Answer – Online visibility is making yourself widely available to anyone looking for you online and what you look like when they find you. See the first paragraph above for more detail.
Question – How do I increase my online visibility?
Answer – Get listed in places like Maps, Directories, Review Sites, Industry Niche Sites, Local Sites, Social Media Sites, Video Sites etc. Each business category has niche sites (think TripAdvisor for the hospitality sector) and we can advise accordingly.
Question – What is visibility in digital marketing?
Answer – Static visibility is being widely listed, see the answer above. Active visibility is engaging in campaigns whether via email, social media, print, radio etc. to be noticed.
Question – What does visibility mean in business?
Answer – It means brand recognition. That is why it is necessary to “look” like the same business wherever you may be found when you are found online. Use the same logo and imagery on all your profiles.
This content was originated by MyLocal – All rights reserved.