- Google has made it clear that it is keeping more traffic on Google owned properties through an increase in SERP features.
- The result has been a decline in the available traffic to the organic results.
- This has forced businesses and site owners to refocus marketing efforts on alternate sources of traffic, increase conversion from current traffic and branding as a way to improve search visibility.
The competition for keyword rankings are increasing daily and it is becoming more important to protect the traffic you currently generate in order to sustain growth.
For the first time ever the total amount of zero-click searches have become the majority result in the total queries made on Google’s search engine.
This landmark event should be cause for concern as the trend may continue past the 51% of searches that are now click-less. This has resulted from the emergence of Google SERP features that are more frequently being displayed in a search result.
Local packs, featured snippets and “people also ask” boxes are only a few of 20 different features Google is using to satisfy queries and keep users on their own Google-owned properties. This has led to a decline in the available traffic to the organic results.
The solution for site owners is to use what’s available and make the most out of a situation that is currently unavoidable. Businesses need to capitalize on the traffic opportunities that these changes offer to increase click-through rates and maintain steady growth.
Incorporate branding in your SEO efforts
As organic traffic becomes more difficult to capture, a greater emphasis will need to be placed on branding. This effort will need to take place on a larger scale to promote brand recognition in all SEO efforts.
Familiarity is a powerful marketing tool that breeds loyalty, trust and confidence. A website in the 4th position of search results may see more clicks than a site ranking ahead if users recognize their brand. Brand recognition encourages leap frogging the competitors ranked ahead of you to click on your website. This tendency also pushes your ranking higher.
It’s a natural tendency for people to gravitate to a company they understand. If a user searches “long-distance running shoes” and the results list Brooks, Bargain Benny, Joes sneakers and Adidas-which result would get the click? Adidas is branded for athletic equipment, which is hard wired into most of our minds. People know exactly what they’re getting and it plays a part in what sells more products.
Create a deeper understanding of who your company is through success stories of your company’s development or your client’s success with your product. Storytelling is a recognized method of branding that help people relate to your brand and will encourage a higher click-through rate in the search results.
Strategize your headlines
When a user searches a keyword, they are presented with a list of headlines to choose from, so make yours stand out and catch their attention. Your headline is the most eye-catching aspect of marketing your page so makes sure it draws attention through creativity and relevance.
One of the first things that will improve your click-through rate is getting people excited about your content. Use power words in combination with your keyword to create originality and the sizzle effect.
Coschedule.com offers a headline analyser to rate your headline in terms of originality and bases the score on the use of unique words in your headline.
Use your keyword at the front end of your title to ensure it isn’t cut off on smaller screen sizes. Using your keyword in the title will attract attention considering it is what the user typed in their search, so it’s what they’re looking for to find the information they need.
Manage your reader’s expectations by incorporating numbers in your title. The use of a number increases your click-through by at 20%, according to a study performed by HubSpot.
Optimize for featured snippets
You can increase the traffic your site receives by optimizing your content to be featured in a snippet. Your site needs to be ranked on the first page of results to be eligible.
To win the position, you will need to mirror the optimization used by the site who currently holds the snippet. If there is a list format, see how the competing site provided the information that is displayed in the list.
If there is an actual list on the page that holds the snippet, make a list of on your page using the HTML for ordered list.
There’s a possibility that Google is creating their own list by drawing from the contents on the page that holds the snippet. In most cases when this happens the information is usually taken from headings wrapped in title tags (h2 or h3).
Whatever the format is for the snippet, use the same method of optimizing your content since that has proven to be favoured by Google. In order to win the feature, create a more complete answer that will be featured as well as improve on the content that currently exists on the page.
Compare page authority between your site and the existing snippet holder. If you can beat your competitor in authority, pointing links to your page may give your site the competitive advantage.
Optimize for the PAA box (People Also Ask)
The box of related questions that “people also ask” can contribute to an increase in traffic if you can get your site featured to answer some questions. The optimization is similar to that of a featured snippet where you will need to duplicate the optimization used by the sites that currently hold positions in the box.
Use the Inverted Pyramid model for best results. Make sure your best content that answers the question is in the top portion of your page. Write succinct answers in the paragraph directly after the question. Use a title tag for all of your questions you want to appear in the box.
Entice more readers in your meta description
Use your keyword towards the beginning of your meta description to instantly attract the interest of the user. Make your article sounds as appealing as possible by describing how a problem is solved or explaining the benefit the user will receive should they decide to click on your page.
Use structured data markup
You can add more appeal to your page by using structured data mark-up for additional attention from the search engines. Use this whenever it is applicable. Most notably for with aggregate rating.
Implement structured data mark-up to show a five-star review within your meta description. A well-reviewed business or product is a good way to encourage more clicks to your website since they provide an objective point of view on the quality of your service or product.
Google-proof your website
Use alternative sources of traffic as a supplement to what your site receives from the organic results. Build up a social network and leverage platforms like YouTube to create a subscribership that is available to view your content at the click of a button.
Employ an email marketing campaign to build a list of potential clients. The traffic from an email list will never be affected by a Google update. As your list grows it will have a larger impact on the number of visitors, click-through rate and the total revenue your site produces.
Adjust and adapt
Driving traffic to a website is the most challenging it has ever been since the birth of search engines. However, with the right awareness and the ability to adjust and adapt, your business has the opportunity to thrive in today’s conditions.
Focus on branding and capitalizing on traffic opportunities that are available to your website. Moving forward this will be especially important to adapt to more diverse strategies of how to sustain continued growth from an increase in visitors and new clients.
About the Author
Christian Carere has contributed to a number of reputable sites and is the owner of Digital Ducats Inc.
Christian specializes in traffic generation and works with businesses to improve the quality of leads produced on a regular basis.