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Why Search Still Matters

Online Marketing

Search still matters in business marketing, whether you market B2C or B2B. New data underscores the critical importance of search in being found on the Internet by adult clients and customers. Despite the efforts of the search engines to block efforts to “game the system with tricks”, producing good content that addresses the needs and problems of your market will help you rank higher in search results. Supporting keyword optimization in social media posts and conversations will also help you rank higher on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). If you don’t know why search still matters, keep reading.

Why Search Still Matters image Romeo searches for what he wants1

Romeo finds what he is looking for by searching

According to a new report from Forrester Research, organic search results are the primary way adults in the US identify helpful websites. Study participants were asked how they found websites they visited within the previous month. The study compares data for 2012 compared to 2011.

  • 54% said search (up 4% from last year).
  • 32% said social networking sites (up7% from the prior year)
  • 28% said links from other websites (down 3% from last year)
  • 25% said friends or family members (down 1% from last year)

Why Search Still Matters image US Online Adults Website Discovery Sources marketingcharts1

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About the Data: The 2012 data is based on a survey conducted in Q3 2012 of 30,978 US and 2,032 Canadian online adults aged 18-88. Forrester weighted the data by age, gender, income, broadband adoption, and region to demographically represent the adult US and Canadian online populations. The survey sample size, when weighted, was 30,549 in the US and 1,905 in Canada.

There is also new insight about the importance of top ranking on SERPs. Some SEO experts continue to insist that first-page ranking is sufficient visibility for most businesses. The data now emphasizes the critical importance of earning top ranking – positions one and two specifically.

Why Search Still Matters image Percentage of Traffic by Google Results Position and Page marketingcharts1

(About the Data: Chitika Insights examined tens of millions of online ad impressions in which the user was referred to the page via a Google search. From the referring Google URL, Chitika was able to extract the position that the webpage was on within the prior search results page. From this, Chitika could measure what percentage of Google traffic comes from each position of the search results page. The data set was drawn from a date range of May 21st to May 27th, 2013)

This chart is startling! The drop in traffic from listings on page one to listings on page two of search results (green line above) is massive. We can no longer afford to rank on the second page of search results when 91.5% of traffic comes from page one. The change from one results position to the next (within page one) is also dramatic: 32.5% of traffic goes to the first listing, with over 50% of traffic going to the top two results on the first page.

Clearly, search still matters. Achieving high rankings in SERPs is no longer about knowing and using tricks to win meaningless back links from spammy sites or stuffing content with keywords. Your content needs to be quality material using keywords naturally and appropriately, allowing some flexibility in anchor links, and incoming links to that content should be valuable and logical. This requires a steady supply of fresh, quality content published regularly on websites, blogs, etc. Social media’s role is in creating social signals by creating shareable content and building a loyal audience on social networking sites who share your content with their contacts. Social media content will be most valuable to search ranking when the same keywords appear naturally and appropriately in your social content.

Why does search still matter? Search matters because it is the way more than 50% of adults who visit your website find you. Further search ranking is critical because 91% of traffic goes to sites listed on page one of the search results, and of that traffic, more than half goes to the first two sites listed. No business can afford to ignore search in its marketing mix today. What is more, few businesses can afford to skip the benefits of supporting search optimization with social media search optimization.

If you need help with search marketing, SEO, optimized content or creating strategies to support your SEO efforts with social media posts and conversations, please call us at 540-772-1724. Let’s talk about how we can help you succeed.

Comments on this Article: 1

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  1. Nick says:

    Agreed, search engine optimization is still hugely important. Panda/Penguin might have killed some of the tactics marketers relied on in the past, but that doesn’t mean being on Page 1 isn’t still vital. It’s the tactics that have changed, but not the importance of search traffic.

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