Online Marketing Solutions

How much does Google search result positioning really matter to our business?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It matters a lot!

In today’s competitive business landscape, being “on top” when people search for businesses like yours using search engines like Google is critical. 86% of online searches in Canada are performed using Google, and research consistently proves that “the top listing gets the most attention” (capturecommerce.com). 

In fact, one study showed that “the top spot drove 34.35% of all traffic in the sample, almost as much as the numbers 2 through 5 slots combined, and more than the numbers 5 through 20 (the end of page 2) put together...The biggest jump, percentage-wise, is from the top of page 2 to the bottom of page 1.  Going from the 11th spot to 10th sees a 143% jump in traffic...As you go up the top page, the raw jumps get bigger and bigger, culminating in that desired top position” (insights.chitika.com). 

The Value of Google Result Positioning 

Excerpt: “How much is the top spot on Google actually worth? According to data from the Chitika network, it’s worth a ton – double the traffic of the #2 spot, to be precise. In order to find out the [real]...we looked at a sample of traffic coming into our advertising network from Google and broke it down by Google results placement. The top spot drove 34.35% of all traffic in the sample, almost as much as the numbers 2 through 5 slots combined, and more than the numbers 5 through 20 (the end of page 2) put together...”

Fig. 1 “Percent of Traffic by Google Result”

Getting that top spot in search engine results pages involves Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of creating or modifying a website and its content for the purpose of improving its visibility to search engines (and therefore its ranking on search results pages). SEO includes a combination of internal and external (on-page and off-page (ie: behind-the-scenes)) strategies like:  

URL structures; keyword/keyphrase research and implementation; site design; HTML; site navigation; link quality; menu items; title tags, metatags, and meta descriptions; navigation; directory and search engine submissions, and content writing. And, recently, social media marketing went from being an important aspect of SEO to a crucial one.  

Achieving that “top spot status in Google requires working with the confines of Google’s algorithm. (Definition, Algorithm: “A step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end especially by a computer” (www.merriam-webster.com). In the case of Google search results, it means “how Google uses the search criteria you enter to find the best, most appropriate results”.   

In the early days of Google, understanding and working with algorithms was something only the most experienced web programmers and internet (SEO) experts could do. Today, Google’s algorithm is much more refined, and there are now some clear industry standards to help those of us who aren’t experienced programmers, SEOs, and Google engineers to compete. 

Some of the (many and varied) things Google and the SEO experts at Stir suggest doing to make your site more search engine friendly are as follows:

  • Give website visitors what they're looking for; provide interesting, valuable, timely, and accessible information on your site 
  • Make your site easy to navigate (including considering mobile users’ experience) with a logical link structure; include a sitemap  
  • Use proper headings (title tags, meta tags, and meta descriptions), and include images, tables, and lists 
  • Properly tag yours pages and online content Optimize your site’s text (keywords/keyphrases) and use good anchor text
  • Make sure that other sites link to yours Support your website optimization efforts with Social Media Marketing and submit your site to Google

Remember, though, that at the end of the day, your website (or business’ online content) should serve human visitors before search engines. Again, make your site’s design and content interesting, valuable, timely, and accessible. Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings (Google is smart enough today to tell when you’re stuffing content with keywords willy-nilly or participating in link schemes designed to increase ranking.) And ask Stir for a free copy of our “SEO 101: A Beginner’s Guide...” to help you get started. 


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