In the run-up to Thanksgiving, Christmas (and, for that matter, Valentine’s Day), make sure blogging is on your daily to-do list. Otherwise, you’re missing out an easy, cost-effective way to improve your SEO.
That’s just some of the advice that Google Solutions Architect Loren Hudziak shared with floral industry members last month, during a packed session, Demystifying Google, at SAF Amelia Island.
The high tech guru, who previously shared tips with SAF members in a Floral Management cover story, said the search giant’s algorithms have become increasingly sophisticated in the past decade — gone are the days when a business could land at the top of search results by including the same keyword 1,000 times on a page, or embedding the same keyword deep in metadata.
“We’ve designed [today’s] algorithms to think like a human,” Hudziak explained. “So you should write like a human” on your website. (And, in case you didn’t know: You want to be on page one of search results. Land on the third or fourth page and it’s as if your business doesn’t exist to time-crunched, impatient customers, Hudziak said.)
One thing these modern algorithms do like — and actively seek out? Fresh content, Hudziak said, adding that you can’t just let a website sit unaltered for weeks.
“Think of it as going to the gym,” Hudziak said. “You have to keep going, keep maintaining.”
Rather than updating your site with little tweaks here and there, “blogging is a good way to keep that content fresh,” he explained. “It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. Post something like, ‘Here’s our arrangement of the day.’ That type of information will serve you well when it comes to how the search engines are indexing your site.”
During the one-hour session, which was followed by a second program on Google AdWords and Analytics with Google exec Ben Polk and SAF CIO Renato Sogueco, Hudziak also delved into big-picture trends affecting where and how consumers shop, and what florists of any size can do to better leverage Google tech for their benefit.
Among the highlights:
Always On. Hudziak reminded attendees that, not long ago, people talked in terms of “getting online” to check email. Today, the average American checks his or her mobile device an average of 150 times per day. “Nobody ‘goes online’ anymore,” Hudziak said. “You’re always online.”
Industry Takeaway: For business owners, the importance of creating mobile-responsive websites cannot be overstated, Hudziak said. “These have gone from tertiary devices to primary devices. Your website has to be optimized for these devices.”
Fast, Faster, Fastest. In describing some of the expansive network behind Google tools, Hudziak explained that a primary goal for the company is to decrease the distance between when a question is asked and answered—and, when possible, predicting what the question will be before it’s even asked. As an example, Ludziak described a consumer inputting a flight number (Delta 123). A search result could give arrival or departure times but “what that person really wants to know is, ‘What time do I need to leave my house to get to the airport,” Hudziak said.
Industry Takeaway: Florists can use an assortment of free Google tools to analyze how and when consumers are visiting their sites. The plethora of information provided—including which terms they used to arrive at the site, which search engine they traveled through, how long they stayed on each page—can help business owners better understand customers and potentially increase sales. (Noticing that customers tend to leave the site at a particular point in the online sales process can point to a problem in the site, or the need for a final push or promo code at a strategic moment.) “Your customers, I’m willing to bet, know more about your business than you know about them. [These free tools] give you the ability to get to know them and how they interact with your site,” Hudziak said.
If you missed SAF’s convention or Hudziak’s session, you can still get a taste of what he calls Google’s “healthy disregard” for the impossible. Watch him discuss some of the thinking behind the company in this short clip.