What is SEO today? What does it mean to be well positioned on Google search results pages or “have organic visibility”
Unlike a few years ago, where it could be relatively easier to conquer a corner of paradise in the first 10 results of Google, today the matter becomes more serious.
In response to user queries, they have popped the results – that is, the answers – directly in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), sometimes quickly resolved by Google, since you do not need to click on some links to know ” what time is it in London “- Google tells you on the fly; in other cases, Google itself anticipates the response contained in a link through ” featured snippet “, that is a preview of what the user is looking for, often making further investigation unnecessary.
It is not over, however: to the list of natural links that can respond to the user’s query, we add the Google Adwords sponsored ads … ehm pardon Google Ads, the map with the Google My Business cards, the Google Shopping cards , the previews of Google Images or YouTube , .
SEO increasingly difficult? -> Marketing Mix
This change of Google results pages has big impact consequences for those who want to get visits from Google’s natural results:
There is a general decrease in the CTR of the links in SERPs mainly from mobile (CTR – Click Through Rate, ie the click rate compared to the total number of views).
Desktop: in 2015 the average CTR was 71%; in February 2018 of 65%
Mobile: in 2015 the average CTR was 66%; in February 2018 of 36%! ( Source )
The impact of organic visits decreases ; in very competitive sectors, the use of paid campaigns with Google Ads is becoming stronger (not to say necessary).
Consequently, the Return on Investment of activities closely linked to the EES could also decrease.
Meta Tag Title and Meta Tag Description are increasingly important to try to steal users’ clicks from competitors. Increasing competition for visibility leads to greater attention to detail.
But it’s not just a matter of redesigning Google pages, there are other factors that make SEO an increasingly complex and long-term business, especially for small sites or new sites that do not have big budgets.
Battle over the positioning of web pages along keywords of interest increasingly resembles a market with high barriers to entry , where the big giants of the web or online companies present in the square for years have enormous competitive advantages: they have been present for some time, have consolidated authoritativeness and reputation of the brand and maintain their position of favor thanks to important budgets to invest.
What should an underdog site do , then? Give up getting natural visits from Google?
Not at all. Simply SEO alone is not enough, as it is not enough just to guard the Social, as it is not enough to invest only in online advertising. We need complex, refined, long-term strategies, in which the marketing mix is rich in (not hierarchical) copywriting / content marketing, collaborations with other sites / companies, link building, public relations with industry influencers, social media strategy, pay per click, email marketing, direct marketing, affiliations, etc . And this is only by staying online … although in many cases it makes little sense to distinguish online from offline.
Concretely, however, even limited to the SEO world, there are still measures to counter the decreased visibility and increased competition in SERP. Eg:
If it is true that “historical” sites grab the best keywords, there is always some space on the long tail keywords : they certainly bring fewer visits, but very specific and linked to very particular needs. To find these precious words, it is useful to question what questions / concerns / specific problems afflict users and customers …
“Fill the SERP” is a quantitative activity that can bring some advantages: open Social profiles or official stores on Amazon or – in general – develop an official presence in “parallel worlds” to Google with a strong natural positioning, allows to fill the search results pages with channels related to your brand. At least in terms of authority and brand awareness, it could be a good help.
Take advantage of online principals that always bring organic, but otherwise, traffic: Google My Business, Bing Places, YouTube.
There is a kind of “SEO” even in the aforementioned online principals , as well as on Amazon, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Ebay … In these super-portals, users search and find you.
As already anticipated, pay attention to details : a title, a description, an image. Everything “broth” to conquer a better CTR of the “neighbor of SERP” and overtake in the rankings …
Attention also to accompany each image of Tag Alt and reflect on a possible strategy to be found through the search for Google Images . A fortiori now that the user – to view the image in full size and not only as a preview – will necessarily have to visit the website that published it.
Last but not least: at the end, Google will always find a way to give visibility to really valuable contents … Such visibility, as surrounded by a thousand other stimuli, will always have a great value, directly or indirectly commercial.
They are practical and certainly well-known suggestions, I do not reveal much.
What matters, after all, is to think carefully about an original marketing mix, get out of the box and file more and more details, with patience and in a medium-long term.