For years, some marketers proclaimed that Search Engine Optimization or SEO was dead. These marketers believed that organic search was no longer important because users were using other methods to find information such as paid ads and social media. The fact is, SEO is not dead. It is very much alive and in demand. SEO remains the number one online strategy to help businesses achieve the much-sought- after first page results. However, what is the true value of landing on the first page of the SERP?
Why First Page Results Matter
SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. This is the page that lists the top 15 websites that correspond to a specific set of keywords. Businesses invest in SEO strategy so that their websites can appear on the first page of the SERP.
Why is this so important?
According to a study by Moz, websites that are listed on the first- page capture 71% to 92% of website clicks. In comparison, websites that are listed on the second page get only 6% of URL clicks.
If your SEO strategy enabled you to land on the first page of the SERP, don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. On the contrary, the battle may just be starting. Securing first page results is definitely a feather on your SEO cap. For companies that are able to accomplish this, their attention will eventually turn to the top position on the SERP.
A groundbreaking study by online ad company Chitika in 2010, turned every marketer’s attention toward the top 3 results in the SERP.
According to Chitika’s study, the website that secures the number one spot in the SERP receives 32.5% of all online traffic searches. The drop-off in online traffic searches between the number one spot and the number two spot is staggering. The website that is listed as second on the SERP receives only 17.6% of all online traffic searches.
That is a decline of 46% in average online traffic share compared to the first position!
The succeeding drop-offs are also quite alarming. The number three spot garners 11.4% of online traffic searches while the tenth spot gets only 2.4%. How about the 15th ranked website? The number 15 website on the first page of the SERP receives only 0.4% of online traffic searches.
Chitika decided to update its study three years later in response to Google’s changing algorithm. The updated study yielded the same results with only a slight adjustment in the percentage of average online traffic searches.
Chitika’s 2013 study showed that the website that comes out on top of the first page of the SERP was rewarded with 33% of all online traffic searches. The number two website received 18%.
After three years and hundreds of changes in Google’s algorithm, the results were the same. In fact, there was a 0.05% increase in the average online traffic search for the website in the number one position.
Chitika was not the only company that conducted studies on the value of first page results. Other companies such as America Online (AOL), Enquiro, Optify, Slingshot, Catalyst, and Capyphon likewise ran their own studies. These studies covered the period from 2006 to 2014.
The cumulative results of those studies are as follows:
|Position:||Average Online Traffic Search %:|
|6 to 10||12.49%|
|The Top 10%||76.05%|
Thus, having your website appear on the first page of the SERP assures you of having greater traffic. There is a direct correlation between your ranking and the average online traffic your website gets. The higher your ranking, the greater the volume of website traffic.
How Do You Get To The First Page Of The SERP?
In addition to web design and management, we also offer digital marketing services.
Digital marketing designs Internet-based marketing campaigns that help your business gain greater visibility, inbound traffic, better sales conversion rates, and more effective lead generation through the use of processes such as content marketing and social media marketing.
SEO is a prime component of the digital marketing strategy. Optimizing content increases the chances of your blogs, articles, images, and videos to be found on the Internet. If you want to reach the first page of the SERP you must invest in SEO.
Keep in mind that search is the number one activity on the Internet. People trust that Google will always present the most relevant and usable websites on their SERP. Investing in organic search will be more profitable for you than paid ads.
According to studies, 90% of clicks made on the first page of the SERP are on organic links. Clicks from paid ads only accounted for 10% of the search results.
1. Optimize Content And Your Website
How do you optimize content? The short answer would be to “hire a professional SEO practitioner”. While that may be true, it pays to have an idea of how to create optimized content.
Keywords are the foundation of the SEO strategy. We discussed the value of keywords in our article, “5 Best Keyword Research Tools For 2018”. Please take the time to click the link and read up on how keywords help optimize content.
However, in order to have a good chance of getting the first position on the first page of the SERP, you must also make sure your website is fully optimized. It will be penalized by Google if the web pages do not provide good user experience.
A good example is having broken links on your website. You could have posted content that hyperlinks to another website. Consequently, if you click onto it, an error message appears.
Broken links will leave a bad impression on your site user. It can reduce the traffic to your website, have a negative impact on your reputation, and affect your search ranking.
2. Your Website Must Be 100% Mobile-Responsive
Have you tried to access your website from a mobile device? Did you have to use your smartphone’s zoom in feature to read its contents? If so, then your website is not mobile- responsive.
Google made mobile- responsiveness a key component of its search algorithm in 2014. If your website cannot be accommodated by the screens of different mobile devices, then you will be slapped down the search rankings.
You can learn more about the importance of having mobile- responsive design in our article, “Why Your Website Needs Responsive Design”.
3. Focus On Creating High-Quality Content
We’ve frequently mentioned the importance of using keywords in your content. It’s not just having them within your content. It should be used in the correct ratio.
The accepted ratio of keywords to total words is 2%. If your blog has 1,000 words, the main keyword should appear no more than 20 times within the content. If you exceed 2%, Google may flag you for keyword- stuffing and penalize your website in the search rankings.
Therefore, it is better to be judicious than strategic when using keywords. What we mean is, focus on creating high-quality content rather than just finding opportunities to use keywords.
High-quality content is one that has the following characteristics:
In short, the reader must find value in your content. This way, you build a reputation of being a valuable resource.
We advise our clients that before publishing content, they should make sure that it will give readers a great experience. They should remain focused on the content and not get distracted by inappropriate or misplaced keywords.
4. Adopt A Dynamic Digital Marketing Strategy
If you want your website to become visible, it is not enough to merely publish content. You must stay active and maintain an online presence. It would be best to adopt a dynamic digital marketing strategy.
There are a good number of channels that you can use to distribute content. Social media is one of them. Choose 2 to 3 social media networks that are ideal for your industry or type of content.
For example, if you are a retailer of highly- visual merchandise like athletic footwear or digital cameras, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube would be perfect networks for your social media marketing campaign.
Don’t just post once- a- week and hope to get good search traffic. Regardless of your social media network, you must be active and post multiple times during the week in order to generate visible results from your efforts.
Here is an example of a social media posting schedule per network:
- Facebook – Twice a day
- Twitter – Eight tweets per day
- Instagram – Twice a day
- Pinterest – Twice a day
- LinkedIn – Once a day
Another good strategy to consider is to guest blog on other websites. This is a great way to introduce your content to a whole new audience who may be interested in what your business has to offer. You have the opportunity to further enhance your reputation while building new relationships with bloggers within your industry.
5. Link Only To Quality Websites
If your content includes data, statistics, and other facts or figures, it is always a good idea to reference the original source via a hyperlink. However, it is not enough to just hyperlink a text to the source.
Google will check the anchor text to the hyperlink. If it appears spurious or if it does not relate to the website, Google will penalize you.
For example, go back to the beginning of this article. We hyperlinked the text “Study by Moz” to its original source. This set of text will give the reader a better description on what the reference link is all about. If we merely hyperlinked the text “Click Here”, we might get penalized by Google.
Second, make sure the referenced link is high-quality. It must be a reputable website. Most of all, it must be relevant to your content.
So does landing on the first page of the SERP matter? Yes, it will help your website secure much- needed search traffic especially if your business is involved in a tightly-competitive industry.
However, keep in mind that improving your organic search ranking takes time. It is a process in itself. It will take time to develop the types of content that regularly capture the interest of your readers.
Because information has become highly- accessible, tastes and preferences will always be changing. You must remain on top of your market to make sure you have a hand on its pulse and know their needs, concerns, and interests.
Thus, even the value of keywords will change. Their popularity or frequency of use will change depending on the needs of the user. Invest in an SEO strategy and integrate it with your digital marketing campaign. Be patient. All investments take time before they yield dividends.
If you are thinking of revamping your digital marketing strategy, give us a call or drop an email. We’ll give you a free consultation on how to improve your approach and land on the first page of the SERP.