A recently published article on some surprising SEO statistics for 2020 may have some organic search strategy implications. So what’s behind the numbers? Below, we dive into the e-commerce insights to be had.
Organic Search and Multichannel Marketing
Organic search doesn’t exist in a void, and there is a noteworthy connection between organic and paid search. But when almost 70% of online experiences start on a search engine and 53.3% of all website traffic can be traced back to organic search, it’s clear that you have to optimize your webpages for organic performance.
After all, a relevant search will influence 39% of buyers. And what does that mean? Simply put, the right search result will sway a browser’s decision to buy anywhere in the purchase funnel. The only aspect that changes is what they search for based on where they are in the funnel. Someone with the query “top 10 best bicycles” is researching products, and what they find will influence what they ultimately purchase. At the same time, someone searching “where to buy a bicycle” is ready to buy right now and they’ll make their decision based on their results.
You might find yourself thinking, why bother with anything that isn’t organic? Statistics showing that SEO as a whole leads to 1000%+ more traffic when compared to organic social media performance only cements that. What you should be thinking is ‘don’t keep all your eggs in one basket’. Every company has the perfect mix of channels that will get the results they want, whether it’s brand awareness, new customer leads or conversions, and no SEO strategy should rely completely on a single marketing channel. Google and social media platforms are constantly making changes to their features and algorithms, so they all have something to offer that shouldn’t be left on the table for your competitors.
To rank well in organic search, you need reliable keyword research. You can’t just toss in “bicycles” as often as possible on your category page and call it good. When it comes down to it, you need to find keywords with the search volume and search intent your webpages are for. So, what’s the difference between those?
If you put keywords on your page that have almost no search volume, you’ve got to have a strategy behind that decision. At the same time, targeting only the high-volume keywords isn’t your best bet either. When you’re looking at 60.67% of all searches coming from the 0.16% most popular keywords, you need to ask yourself if you stand a competitive chance when you’re targeting only those terms. Realistically, no website has that guarantee.
That’s where search intent comes in. If your webpage is tailored to answer a specific search query, you’ll see better SEO performance. Getting those results relies on opening your e-commerce strategy up to targeting relevant long-tail keywords. Like the title implies, these keyword phrases are usually longer because they’re more detailed. They have a smaller search volume, but they also lead to a higher conversion rate on account of matching a specific search intent very closely.
And of course, there are the numbers to prove it. Search queries that have four words or more make up 69.7% of searches, and 70.87% of keywords coming in at over 10,000 monthly searches are just one or two words. Clearly, there’s an interest in searching for longer phrases that don’t have the same heft in search volume as shorter ones do. These specific queries could be anything from “how to install an AC” to “makeup remover for sensitive skin”, but their narrower focus means less competition and a better chance of conversion for the right webpage. Using the makeup example, targeting that long-tail keyword on a page for all your makeup products would likely not even get a website visit. But if you used that keyword in a relevant blog post, product page or category page that will answer that specific query, you’d see the results you’re looking for.
First Place in the SERP
The search engine results page (SERP) is a competitive landscape, and ranking on the first page is a must. Even just the second page of results in Google only sees a paltry 0.78% of browsers clicking on a website listed there. But that doesn’t mean you’ll see immediate, sweeping results in your website ranking and expecting to will only set you up for disappointment at best or failure at worst.
Keep in mind that just 5.7% of webpages reach the top 10 results in the SERP after being live for a year, and the average webpage in those high-ranking results is at least two years old, if not more. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your website ranking won’t be either. Make sure you set attainable goals and don’t take breaks from SEO, and you’ll get there with consistent effort guided by informed strategies.
Website Content Tips and Other Takeaways
Now that you know some growth opportunities for your website, all that’s left is to put together an SEO plan. Choose your marketing channels based on your goals, and optimize your website for search engines in any way you can.
For example, Google only displays meta descriptions in search results 37.22% of the time, which means there’s no reason to prioritize these in your SEO content calendar. But if you have no meta descriptions, that’s a missed chance to give a searcher more reason to click on your website that shows up almost 40% of the time (and that’s only more true for duplicate meta descriptions). While 25.02% of the top pages in the SERP don’t even have a meta description, so you can still rank well without one, having it can set you apart. When you’re writing them, just remember that 40.61% of webpages have their meta descriptions cut short, so you want the most important information to come first.
To stay on the cutting edge of SEO and e-commerce strategy while you excel in your own field of business, you should consider partnering with a marketing agency leading in the industry. Find out the fastest way to grow your business with a free e-commerce analysis with EXCLUSIVE.
Holistic growth strategies require a deep understanding of your marketing mix (and its interconnectedness) on a channel-by-channel basis. Too often, though, merchants fail to keep a watchful eye on the overall growth of the business, too.
The channels you market on do not live in a vacuum, and changes tend to reverberate across the entire spectrum. What is that effect, exactly? The answer is something that has been difficult to gauge, as there are many different levers to pull and various factors come into play with these performance metrics (e.g., outside competition, current trends, seasonality, etc.).
It’s difficult to get a hard and fast number for how directly these channels are related due to the factors mentioned above, but it’s clear that they are, and as a result, performance follows.
For the sake of this discussion, we’ll be looking specifically at two channels: organic and PPC. Both channels are quite frequently aiming to target the same keywords.
Paid & Organic Reach Correlation
Here was the situation we recently encountered at EXCLUSIVE:
A client signed on for multiple services with EXCLUSIVE. For the first few months, their performance growth was steady across organic and PPC channels. However, after a few months, the year-over-year growth for organic took a dip and PPC continued to thrive.
What caused the dip in organic performance? Many factors are involved here, but a deeper dive into their keyword universe revealed some interesting facts — non-branded keywords impressions and clickthrough rate (CTR) was up, but branded keyword performance was down. This is interesting to note because the PPC branded campaign was the strongest running campaign. When the PPC branded campaign spend was pulled back, we then saw YoY growth for organic that month.
Why Optimize for Organic Ranking & Advertise on PPC Channels
A question we frequently receive from clients is this:
“If I can rank for this term for free on the organic side, why pay to rank for the term on paid?”
Does this mean you pause all bids on branded terms that are performing well organically? Does this mean you should not bid on branded terms you (should) perform well for?
The answer is “no” to both for a couple of reasons:
Conversely, what’s the point of ranking for organic if it won’t show up first and paid will always be above it? Again, there are a few reasons, but one stands out as a quote from Google itself: “Search listings are free, and no one can pay for a better ranking because Google is committed to keeping our search content useful and trustworthy.”
Designing Holistic Growth Strategies & Gauging Performance
It’s worth considering that both SEO and PPC ads can help in different ways.
SEO is an important part of your online marketing strategy because it gives your website the best chance of being found by users. While SEO typically takes a while to have an impact, PPC lets you reach customers quickly and campaigns can be optimized immediately. Both SEO and PPC can help grow your business in different ways and a strategy for both can help ensure short-term and long-term success in bringing more users to your website.
More to Gain from Holistic Mixed-Channel Strategies
Here are some of the other benefits of running both SEO and PPC campaigns:
Finding the right balance between your marketing channels is the key to harnessing their holistic potential. Reach out if you’d like to hear about what we’ve achieved for our clients and can do for you.