Google has me scared – and angry. As a digital marketer, I need to be up-to-date on the big issues in digital marketing and influence; to do this, I read what the best minds in digital marketing are thinking and writing. One of these is Rand Fishkin, who is one of the best SEO experts in the U.S. today.
Rand has written a blog with this scary title: Less than Half of Google Searches Now Result in a Click. Why is this scary? Because Google is now competing with your website; in fact, they’re competing with everyone’s website. How does it feel, knowing one of the biggest companies in the world is competing with you online?
Google is doing more than that, actually. It’s taking the best information on your website and offering it up as great information – so that people can read it without clicking through to your website! AND Google is steering clicks to its own websites, to answer questions and share information.
That means that all the time, resources, and effort that you’re spending to drive traffic to your website is becoming less and less effective.
Seems contradictory, doesn’t it? With all the hype around SEO and getting people to your website, it makes no sense that this should be getting harder because of Google itself, rather than because of competition.
But that’s the new reality. I’ll let Rand explain it first-hand, since he’s done such a great job analyzing the data and seeing the results himself. Here’s how he explains it.
First, let’s review the image for this blog, which is his pie-chart illustrating that less than half of all Google searches are leading to a click. Rand summarizes his findings which are true for searches on mobile devices:
Organic has fallen by almost 20%, while paid has nearly tripled and zero-click searches are up significantly. Even way back in January 2016, more than half of mobile searches ended without a click. Today’s, it’s almost 2/3rds.
Three trends are made clear by these numbers:
- The percent of searches available as organic traffic from Google is steadily declining, especially on mobile.
- Paid clicks tend to increase whenever Google makes changes to how those results are displayed, then slowly decline as searchers get more familiar with spotting and avoiding them.
- Google’s ongoing attempts to answer more searches without a click to any results OR a click to Google’s own properties are both proving successful. As a result, zero-click searches, and clicks that bring searchers to a Google-owned site keep rising.
So, as Rand asks, what are we to do? How do we, as businesses, survive? Here’s his advice – and mine:
- Use keywords that will result in higher click-through-rates
- Get your content optimized on Google’s own properties (YouTube, Maps – which is where Local Google is found, Images, etc.)
- Watch for and follow the government investigations into Google’s anti-competitive behavior. It’s important to see if there are any rulings as a result of these findings that can help smaller businesses to be found online.
Keep up the good work you’re doing – and buckle down to do more. And, while you’re at it, try a Bing or DuckDuckGo search. It may be time to start spreading the search wealth out to other, non-monopolistic powers!
Not sure where to begin? Contact me and let’s talk about it.