As search engine users evolve their searching habits, our businesses need to evolve to meet their needs as well. And an agile business strategy for marketing needs to move quickly and think outside of the box to meet the needs of our future customers.
One way to achieve this could be through “similar SEO."
Think With Google is an initiative to give marketers high-level insights based on the data that is available from across Google's platforms. Their website published an article in May using Google data from 2015 through 2017 that found “similar to" mobile searches have "grown by 60 percent in the past two years."
Examples of searches that Google has given for these types of terms are:
- “Honda that looks like Ferrari"
- “furniture that looks like pottery barn"
- “coolers similar to yeti"
- “brands like Patagonia"
- “stores like urban outfitters"
People are figuring out more and more that there is most likely an alternative to nearly every product, store or brand out there. And they're looking for these alternatives with search engines.
Something even more interesting? Google reports that queries that search for less expensive alternatives ("Mobile searches for 'under $_'") "have grown by over 175 percent in the past two years."
Want a cheaper version of a Ferrari? Need to find a jacket similar to North Face? People are searching for these keywords—and their derivative—right now.
There are a couple of immediate takeaways from this report that you can start to think about implementing into your current marketing plan.
- The data Google highlights are from mobile "similar to" or "less than" searches, so the user is more likely to be looking at a product in person, as opposed to browsing from a desktop computer.
- These are retail and product focused searches, and they're narrow in scope. This means that we know that user is likely very motivated with focused intent.
Achieving the "Similar to" Agile Business Strategy
Capitalizing on these similar and price-based searches could be an agile business strategy to help move the needle quickly on finding more customers.
Do you have competitors? Do you have products similar to other products? Most likely the answer is yes to both of those questions.
So here are some steps you can use to hopefully capitalize on comparison searching.
1. Optimize your website for mobile visitors.
I can't stress this enough: If you sell products on the internet, you need to ensure that people browsing your website on their phone are able to purchase products easily. This means making sure that, at the very least, your website is appealing to mobile customers so that they can just buy instantly on their phones.
A great way to decrease friction in the checkout process is to implement a guest checkout, where the visitor can buy the product without having to create an account with your company right that moment.
If you're needing more help, Google offers mobile guidelines for creating mobile-friendly websites. Optimizing for mobile is your first step for implementing an agile business strategy for your marketing.
2. Start modifying your copy to include "similar to," "under $X" and similar wording in your copy.
This allows search engines to understand that your product is similar to another product. Because of possible copyright issues, you probably can't use the exact competitor brand name in your copy. That said, if your product is less expensive than a popular brand, there's a good chance that search engines will make that association anyway thanks to improvements in machine learning.
Here's an example of how a business could possibly use this strategy:
Let's say your company sells 9-volt batteries. You might add in copy about how your batteries are less expensive than your competitors, with the current model under $X for a pack of 10. Or perhaps you could have a page where the title is “9-volt Batteries Under $X." (Just replace X with the actual price.)
There are plenty of opportunities for this type of promotion if you think outside the box and are willing to get creative with your copy. As with any marketing advice, make sure it makes sense for your business.
3. Try to obtain links or mentions on other websites with the "similar to" wording.
If a third-party website like a blog or news site is willing to write about your company or products, try to get them to link to your product (or at least mention your product) with the “similar to" or “under $X" phrasing.
Using the same battery example, you might find a technology blog that is wiling to write about your 9-volt batteries and mention the fact that they're “similar to BIG BATTERY BRAND X" or “cheaper than BIG BATTERY BRAND X".
It's important that you don't try to generate artificial links or obtain links from disreputable partners though. This practice can do more harm than good in the long run. Make sure the mention is a natural fit.
If you can create content centered around the “similar to" or “under $" search phrases, your company could potentially receive a lift in purchasers who are already looking for products like yours. Similar SEO can be a great way to capitalize on motivated searchers looking for alternatives to your competitors.
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