The DataHero Blog

SEO: It’s Not Dead Yet

May 7th, 2015


SEO: Is it dead as a doornail or alive and still kicking? What, if any, is the value of SEO anymore? Those who aren’t experts in the field might have a hard time believing that any time spent researching keywords or building links can be of value, but the fact remains that its worth, though hard sometimes to pinpoint exactly, remains. The truth is that 75% of search users don’t bother looking past page one. This means that no matter how good your site is or how useful your product is, if your site doesn’t show up on the first page—a feat that is often accomplished through good SEO—most potential customers will never convert.

And not only that, but a staggering 88% of business purchase decisions are influenced by major search engines. Again, if your business isn’t showing up on the first page of the search engine results, people probably aren’t finding you and most likely aren’t buying your product or service.

The most convincing evidence has to do with click through rates. The following data shows observed CTR (click through rate) for organic U.S. results for positions #1-10 in the Google SERP and is based on 324 keywords.

What, though, does this actually mean? Let’s take the keyword “sunglasses” as an example. This keyword gets about 300,000 monthly searches on average, so we can see the value of ranking in the different positions from the following graph below. If we rank in the first spot, we can expect about 54,600 people to click on our number 1 results. If we rank in the 2nd spot, we can expect 30,150 visits and so on.

Graph showing click through rates as they relate to position in the SERP.

If I sell sunglasses, those are a lot of visitors to my site who are going to be more qualified and ready to buy my product because they are already searching for and are interested in what I am selling. At that point, I just need to have a good product because then there will be no need for the visitor to go anywhere else—they’ve already found it.

But what about SEO traffic vs. referral and direct traffic? How do they compare? Referral traffic, for example, from Reddit or social media is great, but it is not as qualified as the traffic that you get organically. If someone is typing in targeted, relevant keywords for your business that you are ranking for, those people are more prepared to make a purchase than the people browsing reddit who click on your link and view your content. Direct traffic will increase as your rankings increase because more people will see you in search results as your rankings increase, and when they recall you three or four days later (or whenever they do), they will most likely type in your domain instead of searching for you again on Google.

This good story ends with a cautionary tale, however. SEO that will be lasting and that will truly benefit your business is a slow process and takes time to grow. Chances are, one built link will not move your site from page seven in the search engine results to page one—or even two or three. So take your time and don’t kill your efforts too early on in the game because you don’t think you are seeing any results; they’re there.

Good SEO will also help you build a marketing strategy that has the stability as well as flexibility to keep up with industry and algorithm changes. Stay current and knowledgeable with what is going on in the industry and keep performing quality SEO.

By Paxton Gray

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