When you are looking at optimizing your organic search you have to know when you absolutely have to pay for your clicks. I never thought that I would think about Search Optimization with a Sun Tzu (credited) quote, but in this case it does seem appropriate.
“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster. “
This absolutely seems to be an appropriate way to look at things. Last year when Google changed the way that they present search results by eliminating the right igno-rail they enhanced their own revenue optimization by placing revenue opportunities around and among the organic search results. Once this happened, a lot of the old rules of thumb went out the window. The chart below (and to the left) used to be taped to my
office white board but this SERP update threw all of this out, with an exception or two. While the results are still something that we (as search optimizing geeks) need to keep in mind, it does mean something else now.
As search marketers, our ultimate goal is to achieve the top position on the first page of Google. This used to translate to a chunk of traffic (large or small depending on overall demand). As online marketers our ultimate goal is to get more traffic. This updated changed the way that we use our ‘rule of thumb’. If we are not achieving a 30% click thru rate on a term when we are in position number 1, there are 3 reasons why this would be the case:
- Our url is not presented well on the Search Result Page. This would stem to some combination of a bad meta description being surfaced, a bad title, bad url, google altering the page information for whatever reason. This can be managed by making some updates to these components within your page.
- A featured snippet/knowledge box coming ahead of your top result as Result #0. As of the middle of 2016, Moz has indicated that just under 12% of searches have a result #0 and not all of them (only 35%) are regurgitations of position #1.
- There are a ton of ads that have moved your 1st organic position down below the fold and you are losing your clicks to advertisers.
The illustration above shows a number of terms that are averaging in the first position where the click thru rates are well below the norms. The site that is illustrated above is a content site and likely would not get revenue to offset the click cost so in this instance while some of the terms could have some paid opportunities, the best approach above is likely to be to go after options #1 and #2 and enhance your organic position.
An example of the third option, starting a PPC campaign is likely the best way to go with the illustration below. In this example, there are dozens of clicks where the organic position is ‘around #1’ and this illustration shows only 2 clicks for these terms. Since this illustration is for terms where paid services are rendered, this is a fantastic example of an instance where this client should absolutely do a PPC campaign to augment the traffic received from the organic search campaign. In this instance the first term (breast augmentation connecticut) contains a Local “Pack” result up at the top of the page as does the second term.
The first step in correcting things is to understand that you’re having an issue. [The above illustrates the issue pretty well.] The second step is to understand what would be causing this. [The options are listed above.] Finally, in order to generate the traffic that you have really earned from your organic campaign. [This can be accomplished in some cases via a PPC campaign, illustration #2 above.]