When thinking of how to boost SEO for your website, billboards probably don’t come to mind. Most people wouldn’t consider billboards something SEOs should focus on, but a proper billboard campaign can have indirect positive effects on your rankings.
It’s hard to deny the role the internet plays in modern business. Whether you’re a small-town brick and mortar store or a multinational e-commerce giant, chances are you have a website. However, having a website isn’t enough. With an estimated 500,000+ websites created every single day, you need to make sure your customers can easily find yours. That’s where SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, comes into play. SEO is important for both small and large businesses, so if you’re not familiar with it, check out A Basic Guide to Small Business SEO before reading on.
The Google Algorithm
When thinking of how to boost SEO for your website, billboards probably don’t come to mind. Most people wouldn’t consider billboards something SEOs should focus on, but a proper billboard campaign can have indirect positive effects on your rankings. Algorithm updates happen all the time and tracking ranking factors can sometimes feel like the goalposts are moving. Google says that the goal of its search engine is to give the best results to searchers (or maybe it was to generate ad dollars). One thing that stays true through the updates is the idea that Click-Through Rate matters. Google wants to serve websites that meet the needs of the searchers. How many people actually click through to your website is a good indicator of where it should display on the search engine results page.
Billboards and SEO
Running a billboard campaign with memorable messaging generates buzz and curiosity around your brand. In fact, 1 in 3 people who notice a billboard end up Googling the brand later. This uptick in branded search traffic should also be accompanied by a high CTR to your website. Billboard advertising doesn’t contain “link-juice”, meaning it won’t fix your missing meta descriptions and other SEO errors. It does however drive web traffic, increase branded search volume, and should result in relatively high CTRs as a by-product. For example, when Blip runs its own promotional billboard ads, it’s not uncommon to see a 10-20% increase in branded search and clicks a few days after ad creative has been switched out.
What about non-branded search? Unless you’ve got a young site or a common business name, branded rankings are probably a fairly easy win. This is where doing a little keyword research before creating your billboard campaign can come into play. One school of thought is to take keywords you rank well for (but competitors don’t) and use those in your billboard ad along with your brand name. If people recall seeing “garbage removal in Akron” along with your brand, they might end up searching for “garbage removal in Akron” instead of your brand name. If you don’t own the SERP for a search term, you risk advertising for your competitors.
Perhaps there is something unique to your business (a program, piece of content on your site, product offering, service, etc.) that you don’t share with a competitor. Putting this in your billboard ad along with clear branding can drive search traffic and subsequently give those rankings a little boost. A variant on this is to pick a random search term you strangely already rank for, like “purple monkey holding potato peeler”, and place that term on a billboard. Probably not the best SEO tactic you’ve ever heard, but if you want to have some fun with billboards and flex your SEO muscles, you could run a quick and affordable Blip campaign.
An even better solution is to take some of the keywords you are already working on ranking for (high value, high traffic keywords that are currently ranking in the 8-12 range) and work those into your billboard ads. To succeed here, you will need extremely clear branding. Without it, viewers won’t find you unless you include your URL on the billboard (which Blip always recommends). Another caveat is that you need to be selective with which keywords you focus on. If a competitor has a similar offering and outranks you for a search term, users may stop searching before arriving at your website.
Although Blip won’t be featured on one of Moz’s Whiteboard Fridays anytime soon, knowing the indirect effect of billboard advertising on your SEO efforts can bring some nice surprises. Keep running those billboard campaigns and working at those rankings! To get started with Blip, create an account on our site today!