With all the ways search engine results pages have evolved over the years, columnist Julian Connors explores the question of whether SEO is still a wise investment.
High keyword rankings are the most sought-after achievement in the world of search engine optimization (SEO). Small businesses and brands alike strive to obtain the first organic listing in search results because of the lucrative traffic and lead opportunities that are associated with this position.
But with the evolution of paid advertising and expansion of universal search, as well as Google’s continuous efforts to provide consumers with content that resolves their demands directly in search results, the opportunities attached to traditional keyword rankings are diminishing at an alarming rate.
In today’s search landscape, SEOs and digital marketing specialists have to consider whether it’s worth the amount of time and resources it takes to achieve premier organic rankings, considering the click-through rates (CTR) associated with organic rankings that are positioned under PLAs, local results and other forms of content.
How to Grow your own Business through Digital Marketing
Keyword rankings aren’t the only way to connect to online customers
There was a time not too long ago when achieving the first organic position on Google was one of the only ways to attract new online customers to a website without having to invest in paid advertising or e-mail marketing.
Ten years ago, the world was just warming up to the power of social media and its influence on the World Wide Web. Back then, most consumers were just starting to become aware of YouTube’s marketing power, Facebook was starting to open itself up to audiences outside of college students, and blogging was just starting to become mainstream, as everyone from CNN to Mashable began investing in new, niche content in the form of top lists and how-to articles.
Because of this boom in social connectivity, businesses and brands suddenly had access to free channels that were viable for attracting new business to their websites.
In 2017, there are thousands of social media platforms to join, millions of user-generated content forums, and approximately 320 million blogs around the world (up from 260 million in 2015).
Today, it’s rare to find a local business or brand that isn’t connected to an established directory host like Yelp or TripAdvisor, whose own online credibility is so impressive that it allows their less authoritative clients to rank well within organic results.
New niche environments allow businesses to focus on conversions, not site traffic
When companies and brands were only able to connect with new customers through organic rankings, it made sense to invest a significant amount of time and resources to build thousands of links and cram keywords into a particular website to increase visibility.