When Google was founded in 1998, it served up 10,000 queries a day. Today, Google accounts for 70% of all internet searches, totaling about 2.1 trillion so far this year. It is this kind of traffic that has made SEO an expected $80 billion industry in 2020.
Position in Google search is clearly valuable.
- Results on the first page of Google receive 92% of all search traffic on Google. Traffic drops by 94% on the second page.
- 33% of clicks from organic search results go to the very first listing on Google.
- Google directs the highest amount of traffic, and they are the most trusted source for people researching a purchase.
- Moving up in the rankings is difficult and takes time, but once you’re there you get to reap the benefits for a long time.
“Reports of my death are Highly Exaggerated.”Mark Twain
Whenever Google makes an algorithm or other change, pundits decide that SEO is dead. Yet with each change, marketers have refined SEO practices to the new reality and the SEO industry continues to grow.
Today is no different. Google has redesigned its search pages to optimize paid advertising, pushing organic results farther down the page, and a new batch of doomsayers has appeared.
Google does not share its algorithms. It simply morphs into the next version and digital marketers shift to accommodate the changes. One thing that has never changed, though, is that Google is looking for quality content that serves the user.
In the Beginning…
When SEO first began, enterprising marketers found ways to trick the algorithms. Over time, Google refined its programming to discount any manipulation of search results. Here are a few techniques that once produced results but now have the opposite effect:
- Buying backlinks – links are valuable, but they need to be credible and link to authoritative sites.
- Duplicate or low-quality content – Google is looking for quality content rather than a large quantity of poor-quality content bloated with filler keywords.
- Keyword stuffing – this strategy once worked, but now it hurts rankings. Unnatural wording or just a few too many keywords are also red flags.
What Works Today
Google makes no secret of what does work.
“You should build your website to benefit your users, and any optimization should be geared toward making the user experience better.”
That said, here are some steps that can be taken to improve SEO.
- Create quality content – Google is looking for relevant, well-sourced, fresh content.
- Focus on mobile first – more people access the internet via a mobile device than a desktop computer. Content that isn’t easily accessed on mobile devices moves down in the rankings.
- Use the principles of user intent – user intent is the goal someone has in mind when typing a query into Google. Know the people you are helping and how your content can fulfill their goals.
- Optimize page loading time – a slow-loading website harms rankings. More importantly, it also degrades visitor experience.
- Fix broken links – broken links canharm rankings; search engines demote sites that offer a poor user experience.
- Set up Google My Business – an important step in local SEO strategy, Google My Business helps get a business in front of prospective customers on Google Search and Google Maps.
- Write catchy titles and meta descriptions – good titles and meta descriptions influence whether the searcher clicks the link and visits the web page.
The Long and Short of It
It takes three to six months to start seeing movement in organic search rankings. Yet it is the most cost-effective online promotion tool there is.
Many companies don’t want to wait that long. For the quickest results, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is an option, and done right, it can be an effective tool. But it is a direct-feedback mechanism. Put in enough money, and the traffic will come. As soon as you stop paying, the traffic stops.
SEO is Part of a Greater Strategy
SEO takes time and management. A good website optimized for SEO is the product of an overall marketing strategy that accurately addresses your target market(s) and offers the solutions your audience is looking for. The content on the pages needs to be rich with information organized so users can consume it and search engines can find it.
When addressing SEO, make sure you’re working with a knowledgeable, experienced partner. Forward Vision stays abreast of Google’s practices, helping you balance paid and unpaid digital promotion. We do the hard work to help your SEO rankings and avoid the practices that hurt.