One of the most important functions of search engine optimization (SEO) is to increase visibility in search results. This makes it easier for customers to find your business when searching for your products of services. Prospects are more likely to visit your website the higher you rank on a search engine results page (SERP).
Organic search is a huge part of most business’ website traffic, as well as a critical component of the buyer funnel, ultimately getting users to complete a conversion or engagement. The overall goal of SEO is to improve a website’s overall searchability and visibility
Different studies have put the traffic share of the first position at around 33%, with the second position getting around 15% of share, and 9% going to position number three. At a minimum, 75% of clicks go to the first page of search results, while up to 30% of all results on page one below position five and those that appear on page two don’t get clicked at all.
The Search Engines
The top three search engines are:
Google alone processes over 40,000 search queries every second. That adds up to 3.5 billion searches every day and 1.2 trillion searches each year.
According to the latest net market share report (January 2018) 74.52% of searches were powered by Google and only 7.98% by Bing.
The vast majority of clicks go to natural organic listings by as much as 94%. Furthermore, for every 100 clicks, 38.5 clicks are organic on mobile, and 65.6 on desktop.
The Challenge of Ranking on Google
Google is constantly updating its algorithm and no one knows for sure which factors impact rankings. Indeed, Google uses more than 255 factors in their ranking algorithm.
What we do know is that Google is obsessed with providing their users with the best experience possible. Many businesses want better organic rankings and maximum visibility. Few realize that optimal user experience is a big part of getting there. This means that you need to establish a strong website foundation with a clean, effective user experience, making it easily discoverable in search.
What Does Google Look For?
Many experts claim the five most important areas are:
- Mobile first user experience
- SSL Secure website
Concentrate on creating useful and engaging content that delivers a great user experience. The more valuable your content, the more your chances of success increase.
Establishing a brand as an authority takes patience, effort, and commitment, but also relies on offering a valuable, quality product or service that allows customers to trust a brand.
In general, a link from a site is regarded as a vote for the quality of your site. More importantly, Google wants to ensure that actions on third-party sites do not negatively affect a website. In some circumstances, incoming links can affect Google’s opinion of a page or site. You want to remove as many ‘spammy’ links as possible.
Starting last year, Google moved to make the mobile version of your website the starting point for what Google includes in their index and the baseline for how they determine rankings. In the past, the desktop version was used as the baseline. Therefore, lack of a mobile-friendly experience could impact negatively on the ranking of your site. At a minimum, make sure your website is responsive to mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, and that your website loads in three seconds or less.
Beginning in 2014, Google has used HTTPS as a ranking signal. Now, Google has officially warned website owners that non HTTPS sites would incur consumer messaging that identified the site as non-secure. You don’t want this message appearing on your website, so make sure it is secure with an SSL Certificate.
The Long-Term Benefits of SEO
It takes time to rank organically. In fact it may take more than a year. But once you see the amount of traffic natural search can generate, you will understand that the effort and time is more than worth it. You will find that the cost is relatively low when compared to paid search marketing. What’s more, your rankings can live in search long after a paid campaign ends. People tend to trust organic results more than paid. Potential customers will reward your brand with high credibility. Most importantly your business will experience more leads and sales with a search engine optimized website.