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Susan DeMatei
 
July 23, 2013 | Analytics | Susan DeMatei

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

We hear a lot about “quality”, “authenticity” and “relevancy” when developing Direct to Consumer strategies.  But we also talk a lot about metrics, Google Analytics, dashboards and statistics.

How do numbers equate to quality?

How do you use data (numbers) to represent quality, especially when that quality is mere perception? Who’s to say that one article is better or more important than another?

This is exactly the challenge Google has when it consistently revamps it algorithm to provide us with search results. Google uses a variety of indicators to assess relevancy – inbound links, social signals, authority, PageRank, and so on. All of these are programmatic measures to determine the relevancy of a web page to a search term.

In order to add quality to this long list, Google announced some changes announced earlier this year.  They place more relevance on inbound links, long-term content engagement and included social media integration.

What does this mean to your winery?


Look at Your Ecosystem.

We all fall into the trap of focusing on ourselves too much.  We post our sales, update our products, write our blogs and are so busy creating content out in the interweb about ourselves, that we forget to comment, or interact, with others.  As the web is changing, the importance of inbound links have never been more critical.  Take some time each week, or assign a staff member, to comment on others blogs, report photos or event notices, congratulate accounts or other wineries on awards.  Comment on your local writer’s articles.  All of these things show a) that you care and are aware of what others are doing but b) will increase your rankings in Google.  Plus, who knows, you might learn something from what someone else is doing, or see a potential partnership.

Tip: Google Alerts are an easy way to set up some key topics or partners that you want to track.
 
Be Social.

If there is anyone out there that is still doubting the relevancy of Social Media, Google just proved it for you.  They now take your social presence, inbound and outbound, into account.  Now rather than rolling your eyes and thinking this is yet another thing you have to focus on, think of it as a two-fer.  If you connect with customers, via pictures, written text, blogs, posts, tweets whatever – you are not only creating loyal customers, but helping your overall web-presence as well.  Google is just giving you street cred for being a good Social citizen.  And, it goes without saying – Ahem – Google ownes a social media platform called Google +.  They really like it when you spend time on that particular one.

Tip: Using a tool such as the Vintank platform or Hootsuitecan make conversations with your customers targeted, and efficient.
 
Create Lasting Content.

Google now puts more emphasis on content that creates interest over the long haul.  This just requires some thought and planning.  If you have a page about your vineyards, update it with photos from the change in seasons.  Or instead of individual pages on each event or sale, have a single events page that is kept up to date.  This accomplishes two objectives – it gives Google updated content and shows your site isn’t stale, but also keeps people interested in the same pages over a period of time.

Tip: Try creating a calendar of site updates that correspond to your events, sales or wine releases to plan out content to keep your site fresh.
 
And above all, remember Google is a data engine.

Google doesn’t see your site the way a human does.  So, while you see your expensive vineyard shots, Google sees an un-tagged photo (which it interprets as….nothing.)  And you may carefully stress over your headlines, but Google isn’t looking at your syntax, it is looking for an H1 tag that is supposed to encompass the content of the page.  You may thing you’re being cute when you name your headers in catchy inside jokes, but Google will just be confused because your word isn’t reminiscent of the content. You don’t need to be an expert at SEO, but you need to at least understand that to build a website is part art, and part technology.  And if you want to be found, better give some effort to the latter.

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