If you don’t have a conversion optimization strategy for SEO, SEO has become even more ineffectual than ever before.
That’s the takeaway from a piece Rand Fishkin has published what I think you could call a ground-breaking big data analysis. It has allowed Rand to once again take Google to task for selling out the promise of SEO, whereby Google helped create a content meritocracy in which valuable content gets attention and can create business value.
The key takeaway: for the first time ever, according to data accumulated by Jumpshot, more than 50% of Google search result in either no click at all (searcher gets info needed on search results page) or in a click to a Google-owned property (Maps, Images, etc).
In other words, organic results get clicked less than half the time after a user executes a search.
I noticed Seth Godin referenced this article and applying it to his “freelancapreneur” audience: “If you’re an individual or business that’s hoping to be ‘found’ via a search, this is bad news.”
Just as I might try to apply it to my audience of B2B SaaS providers in “founders-wearing-many-hats” growth mode.
For those types of B2B companies selling complex solutions, no-click searches must be incredibly rare – how can Google capture the complexity of B2B solution idea on a SERP? And I’m merely echoing Sheena Schleicher here (thanks Sheena).
So for some audiences, I just can’t tell whether it’s bad news or not, based on this data. (Though on a larger sense, it’s bad news for all netizens benefitting from the open web).
Here’s another caveat: display advertising may still offer lower-cost-of-entry ROI than search advertising, for that same category of businesses – complex, tech/creative, B2B.
I’d still like to disintermediate Google and FB from that equation, of course, by finding out where to run ads using audience intelligence tools (SparkToro, BuzzSumo).
Speaking of which, this analysis is further evidence that integrating content marketing/SEO with other marketing approaches has gone from “good idea” to table stakes; baseline strategy.
One thing I took away from Richard Rumelt’s book Good Strategy / Bad Strategy is this idea that effective digital strategies almost always combine multiple ideas together.
Huge market share has been built not with proprietary IP but by seamlessly combining nonproprietary ideas in a way that makes first-mover advantage unassailable (example explored by Rumelt: IKEA).
So if you’re doing content strategy that is SEO optimized, what else are you doing to optimize that content for conversion into leads and customers?