How visible is the geothermal industry in Google Search? Interview with Chris Ayliffe from Arctic Meta
How Visible is the Geothermal Energy Industry in Google Search? In this Interview with Chris Ayliffe from Arctic Meta we learn more on some of the things to consider in pushing the geothermal story.
As an industry, we often wonder why we are not more visible, last but not least on the internet, and an important element thereby is our reach on Google Search. With ThinkGeoEnergy, we have been working on giving geothermal energy a platform and visibility, but surely this is not enough.
So we reached out to Chris Ayliffe, Founder of Arctic Meta and self-confessed Google geek to explore how visible the geothermal energy industry actually is on Google Search. He gives us his analysis of the presence and impact of the geothermal energy industry in Google search results. He also analyses and outlines why Google is important for the industry and the key opportunities we face in the future.
Tell us about Arctic Meta and yourself…
My name is Chris Ayliffe and I’m the founder of Arctic Meta. I offer a series of marketing services with a particular specialism in SEO as well as regularly creating fully tailor-made marketing strategies and plans for businesses across industries.
I started Arctic Meta having worked in a number of senior marketing positions across a variety of industries which included financial services, legal, energy and tourism. Throughout my roles across both B2B and e-commerce I found myself thriving off of achieving a mixture of different types of business aims and objectives.
I find it fascinating to learn more about different businesses and industries and identifying how to make their marketing add value for what they are trying to achieve. If there’s one thing I can take from experience, it’s that one size simply doesn’t fit all, and only by embedding yourself in each organisation can you identify how to support their individual objectives.
What were your first impressions of the geothermal energy industry’s visibility in Google Search?
In a word, ‘unique’.
In the B2B world, more often than not the volume of content produced is much smaller than B2C (particularly e-commerce businesses). This is completely normal as there are usually no obvious commercial conversions that can take place in the B2B environment from ranking high on Google search results for a wide variety of search terms, so the content production incentive is much smaller.
However, with geothermal energy being much more niche than the likes of the wider renewable energy topics, the content production volume, and thus search results, is a lot smaller than many other B2B industries I’ve worked with such as asset management and the legal industry.
It’s even more interesting when you dig a little deeper to the country level where there are an interesting mixture of nuances in local Google search results. For example, when you look at the main geothermal-focused searches in the major producer countries such as the US, Iceland, Indonesia, Philippines, Turkey and Mexico, there are often travel and tourism companies stealing a lot of the search traffic centred on people simply trying to better understand more about the industry.
Oppositely, in countries and locations where the search competition from non-industry businesses and professionals is lessened, regularly more dated forms of content are displayed high in search results such as PDFs.
This is not to say that there’s anything wrong with high ranking PDFs and a little healthy competition from other industries, but it certainly leaves some major areas of improvement to be harnessed by those working within the geothermal energy industry.
What kinds of geothermal focused topics and terms do people search for on Google?
There were basically two main types of searches people look for.
First, there are the informational searches which are, more often than not, a mixture of broad and more specific questions about everything from how geothermal energy works to searching for key industry data. I categorise these as informational searches, as the intent from the people completing these searches are simply to enhance their current understanding and knowledge rather than in search of commercial-driven or business specific opportunities. These kinds of searches are often dominated by a mixture of educational institutions and industry professionals and enthusiasts.
The second type of searches are often brand-centred. Like a lot of B2B industries, a lot of the value in dominating Google search traffic comes from those companies who have an established pedigree and presence in the industry and continuously invest cleverly in brand awareness (e.g. online advertising). This awareness then leads to much more direct company and institution searches than wider user considerations – this is definitely a metric to keep on top of to help justify advertising spend in particular.
Why is Google important for the geothermal industry?
There are currently around 3.3 billion Google searches made across the globe every single day. And, by the time you just read that last sentence the average number of searches has grown.
It goes without saying that Google is the dominant player in knowledge and information sharing by a country mile. This means that if you want to disseminate information, build your brand, earn wider credibility and influence key decision making, you simply have to be part of the Google party.
For instance, as outlined above there is a growing demand from people inside and outside of the industry to learn new things from the basics of geothermal energy to more intricate plans, projects and projections for the future. The best and fastest way the geothermal industry can widen appeal and educate a much broader group of people is through producing useful and relevant content online – blogs, articles, thought leadership, as well as other media formats such as video are paramount to this.
In simplicity, the more information available the greater the awareness of the industry and demand for its services. Google is the major gateway to rapidly expand the education and appeal of geothermal energy.
What is the main opportunity for the geothermal industry in Google Search?
At the moment there are a lot of what I like to call ‘sleeping dragons’ in the geothermal energy industry when it comes to ranking on Google.
By this I mean there are a series of well established entities and businesses ranking for a fair number of key industry search terms, but they’re not capitalising on their position just yet. This leaves a huge gap for several entities to lead the charge on building their search traffic and wider online influence.
To explain a little further, Google uses a base algorithm called EAT. This rewards businesses and individuals who demonstrate online expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness in a given niche with high search rankings.
In simplicity, Google wants to rank the best information to match searches and offer the most useful and relevant insight. After all, you don’t want to get medical advice from an accountant!
Establishing a position of this magnitude on Google takes a great deal of time and clever strategy from SEO experts to achieve. However, in the geothermal energy industry there are plenty of entities out there who have already well established themselves to meet the criteria of the EAT algorithm and are in pole position to lead the charge on Google.
Becoming the most searched for and reputable source in the industry is there to be taken.
How can we rank higher on Google and identify what the main things are to write about?
There are a number of things you can do to rank well on Google. Without going into War and Peace on this answer every good SEO expert out there will tell you to focus on three main SEO areas: technical, content and authority building.
Firstly, technical SEO is nowadays all about making your website quick and responsive across devices, and making it incredibly logical and easy for Google to understand. This can be quick or it can be quite fiddly – it varies based on your website’s existing setup.
Secondly, producing content is incredibly important. Why? Google loves content! It loves new content, updated content, and tweaked content – it simply can’t get enough information. The trick is to focus your content marketing on targeted topics that people are looking for. You achieve this through keyword research, writing for people and understanding the intent behind a given search people make.
Finally, you’ll want to ensure you build your own credibility by utilising your strong network with industry partners to give and receive links to relevant pages on yours and their website. After all, Google rewards those who support credible sources not solely those blowing their own trumpets.
What SEO trends should the geothermal energy industry take advantage of going forward?
SEO trends shift very regularly which can make taking advantage of the latest tips and tricks quite difficult to keep on top of. As much as this might sound like a headache, it’s these fluctuations and constant change which creates a lot of opportunities for businesses and individuals to take advantage of and rank quickly.
For instance, at present the two major SEO trends to take advantage of are enhancing the user experience (UX) and producing more video content.
Firstly, nowadays it’s not simply sufficient to produce fantastic content. Your content has to attract, engage and retain the user – enhancing your website’s UX. This is achieved with more interactive designs, targeted words and phrases, and a mixture of media used to supplement your message amongst a series of other techniques. Always put yourself in the searcher’s shoes and ask yourself, ‘would this page keep my interest?’ If the answer is no (be honest!), then it’s time to go back to the drawing board and think outside of the box or consult with a professional.
Secondly, it’s anticipated that video search results will account for nearly 80% of online traffic by 2021. So, if you’ve not considered investing in video content, you may miss out on a huge growth area in Google search rankings and beyond.
Google is now rewarding video content much higher than it used to as its ability to scan video transcripts has improved. You can now be taken straight to the specific part of a video that’s relevant to your search to save time and provide a more efficient service. In these contexts, plenty of people would rather watch a specific part of a video than to read through a dense article or PDF to find what they’re after.
At present, the geothermal energy industry is missing out on these two massive trends in SEO to rank higher and meet the needs of a much wider target audience.
Would you like to work with other clients in the geothermal energy industry?
I’d love to!
The passion for the industry I immediately felt through working closely with Alexander Richter and the wider team at Think GeoEnergy was incredibly infectious. After coming in as a total novice to geothermal energy, I was fascinated to learn as much as I could from terminology to key challenges, objectives, targets and companies the industry has.
Now, I find myself as one of those people completing wider informational searches on Google about geothermal energy, becoming part of the data I analysed very recently!
I’d be very keen to work with more partners in the geothermal energy industry in the future and learn even more about this incredibly exciting industry. Through Arctic Meta, I offer a broad array of services from SEO to social media and brand marketing, and I personally love nothing more than a new challenge from an ambitious business.
If anyone would like to schedule a no obligation chat or discussion please feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I greatly look forward to hearing from you.