Despite the mindshare now devoted to social media, there’s no doubt that organic traffic is still the number one source of new visits and new customers to most brand websites. So the importance of staying on page one for the search engine results relevant to your customer segment couldn’t be more critical. In 2013, page one results powered 92% of all traffic generated through organic traffic. And, today, staying on page one is even more essential than it was in the past.

Why is that? Five reasons.

#1 – Competitors to Organic Keyword Search Are Thriving

As described in an earlier post, the advent of social search, e-commerce aggregators like Amazon, customer review behemoths like YELP and Trip Advisor and other platforms transforming into publishing platforms (Facebook), the overall share of searches which occur via keyword search has declined. That means that if brands want to continue to fuel their site traffic via keyword search, especially via mobile, they need to dominate page one positions as well as trying to position themselves in non-keyword venues such as Amazon, YELP, Trip Advisor etc. SEO requirements have now moved to new platforms and networks and brand which wish to “get found” have a new hurdle rate.

#2 – Google’s Page One Format Changes Are Driving Increased CTR’s on Organic Listings

A year after Google shifted the display of organic and paid listings to eliminate right sidebar ads, the data is in. According to Search Engine Land’s latest evaluation, click through rates on organic listings have actually increased as a result of this change. This is welcome news to strong SEO players. This means more clicks, more conversions and more revenue for brands who stay at the top of the search engine ranking positions in positions 1-6 (especially for those at the top).

#3 – Consumers Have Learned To Ignore Page Two+

Two decades ago, consumers were just beginning their online journey and learning curve re online behavior. Now we are seasoned experts. Our phones are getting smarter, and so are we. So we just don’t even get to page 2, not really. As click through rates increase on page one…they decline on pages 2 and 3. By position #6, the average click through rate has declined to 2.7% and by position #9, it is below 1%. If you’re on page 2 (even at the top), there is a one in a thousand or less chance that a consumer is finding you. Advanced Web Ranking allows you to examine this across categories.

#4 – User Engagement With Content is Being Factored Into Everything

A fourth reason that Page One position matters now more than ever is because engagement is the new currency by which Google, Facebook and other platforms now measure everything. User reactions to content, from sharing to commenting, clicking to converting, are being tracked and analyzed across domains, platforms, sessions and ads.  And algorithms now care. Better engagement means your ad is shown more frequently and your listing stays at the top of the pile. This means that staying in the zone (on page one and preferably in one of the top 3 positions) couldn’t be more important to maximize your probability of being found so that users can engage and your position relative to competitors is protected. This also places even strong importance on ensuring as well that your deliver the most clickable search result to users and that you provide them with highly sharable content at the end of that click. Finally, high correlations between clicked on content and social media shares, make getting into top positions on page one, where your opportunity for click throughs is maximized, even more essential:

#5 – Data Mining & Machine Learning Are Taking Over Everything

Closely related to the point above is reason number five: machine learning is taking over how we use data to drive consumer decision making. We are improving algorithms over time to better give consumers what we believe they really want. These are dynamic models which evolve based on the information supplied to them so the more information they have about how consumers are reacting to your brand via search results, for example, theoretically, the more accurate your brand’s “model” becomes in predicting consumer reactions (browsing, clickthroughs, buying behaviors). So, more data = better.

Getting on page one and staying there is harder now. There’s more content, ads and content formats competing with your site. Search algorithms are much more complex. Keywords don’t matter but content and engagement do. Being “social” and being more technical are now critical skill sets for marketers and SEO experts. But by staying on top of these evolving trends in online marketing and by staying on page one, your brand can benefit exponentially.

Any questions? Need a Page One booster shot? Just call us.