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Online Brand Impact in a Mobile World

By Justin Garvin

Statistics today show a consistent increase in mobile website traffic across all industries — to the tune of 3.5% per month. PER MONTH. That’s huge. As mobile devices, both smartphone and tablets, become more and more prevalent as essential tools for life both at the office and at home, the conversation surrounding your brand’s online presence must evolve. Specifically, I’m referring to the nature of online search — that wondrous gateway through which over five billion queries are fulfilled per day. And that’s just from Google alone.

Search Engine Marketers know that some of the most important pieces of real-estate today exist online. Having the top listings on Search Engine results pages means more impressions and click-throughs for your business. Moreover, business and consumers typically associate top search results with authority and expertise within a given field. To keep your brand top of mind and within that consideration set, it’s critical to rank well for appropriate keywords. With top organic search rankings difficult to cultivate as well as sometimes time-consuming, marketers tend to rely on paid search as the alternative (or complement to their ongoing SEO efforts). Bidding wars have existed for years regarding coveted spots on sponsored search results subsections of engines such as Google and Yahoo!. These eye-tantalizing locations are in even higher demand with the expansion of mobile Internet technology.

When browsing, or more specifically searching, on a web-enabled mobile device, limited screen size hinders the user from seeing the same number of search results as on a desktop PC. This makes it virtually impossible for a business with a low-ranked position to be seen by potential customers. For instance, using the iPhone 5 (one of today’s most popular smartphones), how many results can be seen via a Google search using the built-in browser? Less than five. Of that, only one or two are sponsored.

This reality can be quite disconcerting to those businesses that spend thousands per month to have their site optimized for organic results or displayed via paid search. Certain keywords for each industry are in high demand and becoming one of the top listings on a page of search results can be challenging. Challenging, but essential. A recent study by Optify found that websites ranked number one received an average click-through rate (CTR) of 36.4 percent; number two had a CTR of 12.5 percent; and number three had a CTR of 9.5 percent. Being number one in Google, according to Optify, is the equivalent of all the traffic going to the sites appearing in the second through fifth positions combined.

What is the moral to this story? Allocate budgets appropriately. If you view your website as a key lead generator (which it should be), then budget needs to be set aside to maintain or establish its position on the “center stage” that is online search. And track key analytics such as website traffic, search rankings/search clicks (both organic and paid), lead sources, etc. to ensure that you can continue to make informed decisions about the importance of you online search efforts.

And once you have your search rankings in order and you’ve gotten your audience to click, there’s the issue of optimizing your website for mobile. But more on that next time…

What steps are you taking to ensure brand strength/brand dominance in an increasingly mobile world?