How Everything You Know About SEO and Marketing is Changing
by Nick Maus
Organic Search produces 20x the number clicks that paid search gets yet only 60% of desktop searches result in a click and only 40% of mobile searches result in a click.
If we average that out, only 50% of traffic is resulting in a click. So what’s happening to the other 50% of the traffic?
In previous years, Google’s objective was to connect a user and a website together based on the search query and the relevance of the website content. This isn’t the case anymore.
Google doesn’t want to connect users with your websites, Google wants to be the final destination for the user and not pass through traffic.
Some examples of this are asking Google for a definition. It doesn’t take you to Webster’s Dictionary site, it gives you the definition right on the screen.
If you need a flight, Google will be your travel agent and show you the best rates from all airline carriers and let you book directly on Google. You don’t need to go to American Airlines, Delta or Southwest anymore.
Want to know the weather today, hours of operation for a business, step-by-step instructions on how to bake a cake, or how to change a tire–Google will give you the answer. It is the single final destination for 50% of the traffic on the web.
SEO is Not Transactional
Many actions in marketing are transactional. You complete a task, deliver the content, and the transaction is complete. Blogs, tv spots, homepage banners–all transactional. The process for homepage banners is the same today as it was last year, and the year before that. The creative and the offers change but the process is still the same.
The challenging thing about SEO is that it is not transactional and frequently changes. The algorithms for how search engines rank an entity (we will talk more about entities later) are evolving day to day, week to week and month to month. Here’s an example:
- 2014 – Mobile SEO is a thing
- 2015 – Mobile Friendly is a thing
- 2016 – PWA (Progressive Web Aps) and Firebase
- 2017 – Mobile First Indexing, things ranking that don’t have urls
- 2018 – Mobile First indexing, entity first indexing
In fact, SEO is evolving so rapidly that it is quickly becoming the most desired skill set in Marketing according to LinkedIn.
So let’s go back to those stats from earlier for a minute.
More than 1/2 of the searches Google sees come from mobile, and more than 1/2 of those searches don’t get a click. What the industry is seeing right now is that website traffic is down despite search volumes being up.
That’s a big statement so i’ll say it again. Search volumes are up and industries are seeing less and less traffic to their websites. Google is becoming the final destination for users.
The old way of search results was that paid ads got the top spots and organic got everything else. Now we are seeing knowledge graphs appearing at the top of mobile search and voice search queries.
Mobile First Indexing
If you aren’t familiar with the premise of mobile first indexing, i’ll break it down.
Indexing is an organization of content. Indexing can be done by color, title, topic, etc. “Mobile first” being exactly what it sounds like, mobile content has priority in ranking. The key thing to know here is that content has not changed, how content is organized has changed. Mobile first is about much more than just websites, it is about entities. Entities are ideas or concepts that are primary to keywords. An entity can be a podcast, video, product, blog, image or anything else really.
This should be common sense for most people but websites don’t work without a screen. Many entities that have very valuable information and answers to our questions don’t rely on a screen and can still be indexed. These entities are able to be indexed with search engines. So when it comes to indexing, focus on knowledge graphs and stop only looking at on screen entities.
How do we do this? Through multimedia multimodal platforms. Enable voice search on a website, enable Google Cloud Natural Language API, create how-to-guides and lists for your website and then use schema to mark them up. Give answers to common questions at the top of web pages.
I’m going to leave you with a thought.
Google is trying to push us further and further down the inbound marketing funnel to get people to click on serps when they are ready to buy. So, in the Awareness Stage, when they are typically looking for information on their problem–Google is providing them the answer before they even are at your website. In the Consideration Stage they are investigating different options, which Google also is handling by providing “shopping” and recommended options at the top. So, the buyer’s journey has changed. Consumers will be coming to your website at the Decision Stage, and are ready for the specific brand or product.
For more information on this topic, be sure to tune in to our Live Facebook Event on August 8th at noon! I will be covering all of this in much more detail, and answering questions along the way!