Zero Click Society: Google as your biggest competitor
Guest blog by Pim Broekstra van SAM Online Marketing
There has been a noticeable trend within Google in the last few years: the slow decrease in CTR. From research by perfect it has been found that only half of the searches actually result in a click to the website. Google tries to answer visitors immediately and save a click, but this cuts the fingers of every company that needs SEO. Fortunately, there is still light at the end of the tunnel, because there are solutions!
How is visitor behavior influenced by Google itself?
Before we look at a solution, it is first good to thoroughly examine how Google influences the behavior of its (visitor) searchers today.
When Google offers a new feature, a small part of the visitor's attention is lost. With all the snippets, videos, images and other overviews, the visitor's gaze sweeps across the screen, instead of the uncluttered, linear way visitors used to work. Below is an example of the SERPs of today, compared to the earlier variant.
As you can see, nowadays there are more and more parts that grab the visitor's attention. These ultimately benefit the visitor – they get an immediate answer to their question, instead of having to go 'all the way' to a website first. Because they receive this answer immediately, there is no need to visit a website.
There's nothing we can do about Google's portrayal of SERPs. What we can influence is the way we profile ourselves. This is by building a fire. Of course you should always build a name for yourself, but this is also crucial from an SEO point of view. This statement is once again underlined by research by the same party Perficient, where the results below speak volumes.
As you can see, the CTR on branded keywords is many times higher than the CTR on non-branded keywords. But what exactly are the steps you can take to respond to this phenomenon?
1. Create an Omnichannel Strategy
The first step you can take is to make SEO part of an all-encompassing, larger strategy. If you attract fewer visitors via Google, make sure that you approach these visitors in several places. Make sure to leave an email address for email marketing, use remarketing via display and social ads or offer a unique discount that gives them a reason to visit your website again.
Another way to generate more traffic via Google is to get acquainted with your brand in the first steps of the customer journey (more about this later). Give them reason to look up your company name in Google. In the long run, this is even a way to generate more authority in Google. The so-called 'brand + keyword' search terms are a very strong indication for Google that you are actually an expert in that field. This phenomenon is especially true in the retail sector. Suppose one searches for 'Zalando shorts', this gives Google the impression that Zalando is apparently an interesting party in the field of shorts.
2. Respond to the right step in the customer journey
I briefly touched on it just now, but it's important to put SEO in perspective. It is not only a platform to directly generate purchases and leads, but you can respond to many more stages within the customer journey. Create a FAQ on your website, to which you link separate pages per part. People new to the subject will encounter you as one of the first parties and automatically assume that you are one of the experts in your field. When they are in the process of making a purchase, you can respond to this in the right way and when you come back into the picture, they will quickly go for you.
3. Take advantage of Google's capabilities
The fact that Google is significantly expanding the content of the SERPs does not mean that you cannot capitalize on this. By seizing the possibilities of Google, you ensure that you are still in the picture at any possible moment. Below are the main features:
The first part to tackle is to implement featured snippets. By optimizing your website in the right way, you ensure that your website is prominent in Google, as shown in the image below. Do you want to implement featured snippets yourself? read here then how.
Google My Business
Properly setting up and implementing a Google My Business account is also a great way to extend Google's SERPs with yourself. This account often comes into the picture on business-related terms, but there is a chance that you will come into the picture on other terms. People get immediate information about your company and really get to know you.
Do you offer a service? Then the best way to get immediate results is the optimization for the local pack. Whole volumes can be written about how to optimize your website for this, but the most important here are a constant return of NAP and collecting as many qualitative citations as possible. This includes reviews.
Do you mainly sell products? Then the rich snippets are a nice addition. Here you immediately give away information to visitors who can give visitors just that little push to click on your website. With rich snippets you can think of ratings in the form of stars and a number, but also product prices.
4. Keyword Optimization
When someone searches on your company name, he does not just literally type in your full name as it is indicated at the Chamber of Commerce. Especially when there are more branded searches, there is more variation in the terms that people search for. Therefore, make sure that you set up your website for these terms and that you also advertise on these terms. After all, you don't want your competitors to pick up visitors who actually want you.
5. Affecting Branded SERPs
Finally, you want to influence the SERPs on your own company name as much as possible and leave as little space as possible for other parties. First of all, you do this by means of the rich and featured snippets indicated earlier. However, in an ideal scenario, it will take up your entire first page. This can be done through the socials, various company pages, news sites and other options. Make sure you come back to as many places as possible and make sure that the entire first page is yours!
The conclusion we can draw from this is that Google has acquired an unwise position of power over the years, in which we are dependent on the whims and whims of the search engine. However, by making the best possible use of both the algorithm and the possibilities and building a strong brand for yourself, where search engine optimization is an (important) part within the bigger picture, you ensure that you keep your head above water.
Guest blog by Pim Broekstra van SAM Online Marketing