Monthly Archives: August 2017

SEO Industry’s Insane Growth and Why It’s Only the Beginning

SEO Industry’s Insane Growth

SEO Industry’s Insane Growth

SEO has come a long way. It’s not too far in the past when everybody thought it was just a fancy trend that would fade away in a few years.

It didn’t. With time, as SEO started to show its potential and earn respect, the number of its critics started to decline and now most online marketers just love it.

In fact, some of them still hate it, but they still have to show it, love, because that’s how good it is.

SEO Industry

The SEO industry started out as risky business and it has now grown into a mammoth and every smart marketer wants a piece of it.

The industry is growing fast. If you look at SEO’s history, however, nobody could’ve guessed it would come this far.

A Little Bit of History

While the first website was created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991[1], the first search engine ever to develop was Archie in 1990[2]. It was a simple enough FTP website that allowed searches for directory listings that could be downloaded. You could download the listings, but not individual site on them (because servers couldn’t handle large amounts of data).

Next came a few more search engines that were designed for specific kind of content searches, including Gopher in 1991, Berners-Lee’s VLib in 1992 and a few more before Yahoo was launched by Jerry Yang and David Filo in April 1994. Back then it was only a directory of web pages it liked. It did come with an individual URL and some description of each listed page.

As 1996 began, Larry Page and Sergey Brin started working on BackRub, which was a directory of websites that ranked them based on how many citations they had from other websites. BackRub later became the mighty Google.

Google

Google

You’ll note even in its primary phase, Google focused on citations (read backlinks). It was always the clever kid in the block.

[1] The website is still online after 26 years: http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

[2] Archie is still alive and kicking (so to say): http://archie.icm.edu.pl/archie-adv_eng.html

As a new century began, search started to grow into an industry. More search tools were developed and the old ones became stronger. With these upgrades came upgraded offerings and users started to see businesses and resources closer to them (which is the start of what we now call local SEO).

This is also the time when finding inbound links started to become a marketing strategy, since businesses started to realize the potential of the search economy. Search engines, especially Google, focused primarily on making sure websites earned their ranks through ethical means.

  • Google launched Google Suggest in 2008 for more relevant search results by giving users suggestions for their keywords.
  • In 2010, Google announced it would start penalizing websites for not using quality content, which followed with regular updates in Google’s ranking algorithm.
  • In 2012, the formidable Knowledge Graph was announced[3].
  • Currently, websites without mobile-friendly design lose visibility in Google’s SERPs[4].

With the advent of ecommerce, and its continued growth, SEO has become an increasingly important resource for businesses of all kinds.

Why SEO’s Not Going Anywhere

Internet’s a growing marketplace. It’s like a huge, beautiful shopping mall people enter to buy things they like, but these users want more and more contextually relevant merchandise in the mall. They want guiding panels that can show them what kind of goods are in which section and how to get to them.

While search engines play the role of these guiding panels, SEO is the life force behind them. In the future where personalized user experience is the key, SEO will evolve accordingly and provide more and more personalized value propositions for the user. Marketers will need to steadily grow their brands by making sure they’re visible across the digital realm and continue to show social influence.

For that, they’ll need SEO.

SEO is Going Places

Among other arenas where SEO will either continue to retain its share or begin to grow as an important marketing pathway, the following three should be enough to convince you of the upcoming SEO revolution.

[3] A great introduction to the KG: http://searchengineland.com/library/google/google-knowledge-graph

[4] Here’s how it began: http://searchengineland.com/googles-mobile-friendly-update-opportunity-219372

1. Internet of Things

Machines will start to interact with each other based on data soon. In fact, that has already begun. The Internet of Things is a phenomenon where everyday objects are enabled to connect with each other and the Internet to better assist their human masters. From keeping track of your health with smart watches to making your grocery lists with a smart fridge, The Iot will soon take over our homes.

Cisco

Cisco

Cisco recently conducted a detailed industry analysis[5] to make projections for the IoT market and came up with these huge numbers. With this potential of the IoT market in mind, you’ll realize SEO professionals will have so many more products and brands to optimize for SERPs.

Their efforts will make the following things happen:

[5] Cisco’s amazing study: http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en_us/about/ac79/docs/innov/IoE_Economy.pdf

  1. Local SEO will become supremely important.
  2. Local SEO will divide into mobile and residential segments.
  3. Highly personalized consumers demands will shape product design and psychographic data will be at the centre of all optimization efforts.
  4. Great quality content will become even more important than it is now.
  5. Ecommerce SEO won’t lose its place and will continue to represent desktop and mobile search.

2. Virtual Reality

Another vast arena in emerging technologies is the rise of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR). This medium brings along a completely new way for users to connect to the Internet. While, for now, all those amazing devices out to experience VR, including Google’s Glass, Microsoft’s HoloLens, Oculus Rift, and whatnot are experimenting with gaming and new environments with immersive UX, they will soon become a medium for users to connect with the Internet.

Here’s how VR has already caused SEO to become relevant in the new medium. When Pokémon Go was launched in 2016, it became an instant hit, and, while gamers were moving in real-life environments, local businesses used content marketing to engage these gamers through tournaments and competitions.

3. Conversational Search

If current challenges in optimizing one’s content weren’t enough, conversational search is going to make it a lot more difficult (and important) to rank higher in SERPs.

Smart assistants on our smartphones and such devices now allow us to use speech to instruct our device to perform commands. Google’s search app in all of its current versions in Android devices already runs voice search.

With conversational search comes the advent of these smart search assistants’ dilemma to get you what you want, because when you run a voice search, you tend to use a conversational tone, long phrases not arranged how you would write them. So, instead of finding you a list of results, these assistants focus on getting you only ONE RESULT that matches your search exactly.

SEO STATISTICS

SEO STATISTICS

If you look at the image above, you’ll see incredible data about the search industry that shows top ranking results on Google SERPs get the most advantage and traffic.

Combine this data with conversational search and you realize how important SEO is going to be for the future.

SEO is Here to Stay

SEO isn’t dead, like people keep asking. It’s alive and kicking, and it will continue to grow because of one simple reason: Users will continue to search the web, regardless of the medium they’re using to connect with the Internet. SEO is simply a collection of techniques used by marketers to improve their visibility in search engines, and, as long as people are searching for things, marketers will continue to use SEO. If they’re smart.

 

Ultimate SEO vs PPC Comparison for Marketers

Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing

For years now, the debate over whether to use PPC or SEO has taken a lot of room on the Internet.Marketers and content creators are churning out articles, videos, podcasts, infographics, and just   about every other kind of content to help (read confuse) business leaders in their attempt to stay top for any  searchable variation of SEO vs. PPC.

We feel there’s no need for the debate, and so we’re writing this one article as the ultimate  comparison of SEO and PPC.

Read this one and you’ll see no need to find any other on the subject.

In fact, we won’t even try to keep you tagged to the end of the article before you get to know what  we know is the right option for you. There’s just no need for that suspense. Let’s get you that  answer right now:

If you want quick, but temporary, results, choose PPC. If you want slow, but lasting, results, with  much higher traffic (CTR) go for SEO. If you’re really smart, mix them together and get the best of  both worlds.

The rest of this article talks in considerable detail about why we know what we just told you. It’s  mostly just statistics and data from some of the most reliable institutes in data analysis industry and online marketing. Something like this: Forrester Research, a leading market research firm, and  Forbes predict US market’s total spending on digital marketing will reach $118 and $120 billion  respectively.

Those are big number, we’ll say. Here are some more big numbers for you.

US Retail Industry Digital AD Spending

US Retail Industry Digital AD Spending

The picture above allows us to have a look at how much the US retail sector will be spending in the coming years. Retail is the biggest spending business sector when it comes to digital marketing.

eMarketer produced these predictions. While the image is quite self-explanatory, you can see the budget for digital ad spending increases from around $11 billion to over twice the number between 2014 and 2020, with the sector maintaining a consistent 22% approx. of total money predicted to be spent on digital advertising.

WHAT ARE SEO AND PPC?

In case some of you are new to the concepts of SEO and PPC, let’s begin with showing you what  these terms mean.

PPC, or pay-per-click, is one technique for advertising your business online. You pay a search engine, such as Google, for every click you get on your ads based on the keywords you picked to pay for. You pick the keywords you want to attract customers with, make your ads around them, and pay the search engine every time those ads are clicked on when they’re showed in the said search engine’s search results.

In contrast, SEO, or search engine optimization, is the collection of all techniques you use – starting with proper web design, integrated customer support, high quality content, going all the way down to guest writing and building formidable backlinks — to reach the top of search engine results without spending on online advertising.

When you search for a keyword in a search engine’s text box, you get suggestions in return, which are a mix of paid ads and organic results that are laid out in a particular manner.

With Google, the usual layout of the first SERP (search engine results page) has a few ads on top, followed by what Google calls a featured snippet, which is followed by a list of organic results. Many SERPs contain more ads at the bottom.

This is what the picture looks like:

These paragraphs should give you a perspective on how there may be a debate over SEO and  PPC like they’re mutually exclusive choices, and the reason there’s actually a debate is the fact that incredible amounts of money and commercial activity are involved in these two phenomena.

In any case, let’s get on with the statistics we were talking about. Remember: whatever the numbers   say they don’t lie.

STATISTICS ABOUT SEO AND PPC

Starting with a bit of stats from previous years, Rand Fishkin of Moz, after attending Enquisite’s  summit for digital marketers in late 2008, shared some numbers about the amount of money spent on  both PPC and organic search between 2004 and 2007.

Statistics About SEO And PPC

Statistics About SEO And PPC

The chart shows US businesses spent over 85% of their online marketing budgets on PPC between 2004 and 2007 year-on-year while investing only 11 or 12 per cent of it on SEO, which means US firms spent 8 times more on PPC during these years.

The disparity may still be quite shocking and may even stay that way for many years to come,  thanks to the quick results of PPC, but the Forrester and Forbes predictions we shared earlier in  this  article say the trend is changing and that marketers will shift toward organic methods in the  years  to come. Their leading analyst, Shar VanBoskirt, said:

“Within the next five years, we anticipate investment in ad impressions going down. Instead, marketing budgets will go towards brand experiences, CX and in-store experiences and knowledge of sales agents – the things that will help demonstrate  brand promise.”

With knowledge and experience, marketers will deliberately spend on methods and media that are  closer to their goals in comparison and not just on quick sales.

The thing to understand here is that online marketing includes all sizes of firms and businesses, but the bigger the firm the more the spending power on marketing and advertising. With greater capital, bigger firms go after PPC more avidly because it brings quicker sales, and, since they have really deep pockets, they can spend the same kind of money on PPC year after year.

Now, the reason PPC is quicker at landing sales is because the advertiser is allowed to customize  the ad for their target audience. For example, with a Google PPC ad campaign, you decide which  region’s consumers can view your ad, what their age should be, what time of the day the ad should be visible, etc. With all that customization, your ad appears only to your ideal prospects, many of  whom end up clicking on your ad (and may even go on to purchase your product or service).

Another incredibly important thing to remember is the search engine’s incentive in paid search, such as PPC. Paid search is the biggest source of income for search engines. This is why they invest heavily in making sure they engage more and more search engine users so they can attract more advertisers and get higher prices. For instance, in March 2012, Google resealed results of a study they conducted on ad clicks related to organic results on first page of the searches. Here’s the nifty graphic they used to report their results (click on the image to read more of the results):

Impact of Organic Rank

Impact of Organic Rank

In short, the study shows how having a paid ad on Google gives you a huge (apparent) advantage over organic results on the page. So, it pays to get PPC when you aren’t doing well in organic searches, but we’ll get to these pros and cons in a bit.

This intent to provide advertisers better opportunities led Google to change the layout of its desktop SERPs (search engine results pages) so that now four paid ads show on top of the search page.

According to Net Market Share, Google currently (July 2017) owns a little shy of 80% of the online search market, which is to say 80% of global online searches are currently being done using Google.

So, the practices Google adopts have a big impact on the economy of online search market, as a whole. So, businesses (and the agencies they hire for optimization services) invest more and more in Google PPC, as shown in this graph from IgnitionOne research below that shows Google’s search market share (75.5%) in terms of the amount US advertisers spent on it between 2007 and 2015 in comparison with Yahoo and Bing combined

In short, Google holds about 80% of the world’s search market share and gets over 75% of the money advertisers in the US spend online

US Paid Search Advertising Spend

US Paid Search Advertising Spend

Organic Search Still Wins on Click-Throughs

It might sound improbable after all the data you’ve just seen but organic searches are still more profitable to businesses, and there are a number of reasons for that.

The most important of those reasons is the click-through rates (CTRs), which is simply the rate at which visitors on SERPs click on either paid ads or organic results.

Let’s have some numbers on this factor, too.

Paid Search and Organic Search

Paid Search and Organic Search

In 2016, SimilarWeb conducted a detailed study on global online shoppers and came up with some very interesting results.

One of the first simple facts that the report shares with the reader is that only 5% of the click-throughs on a SERP are on paid searches, or PPC ads in Google, while a staggering 95% approx.

Furthermore, when the research studied traffic sources for the studied shopping websites, the results showed organic results to be the biggest source for any website’s traffic while PPC remained the smallest source of traffic. While almost 39% traffic to shopping websites came from organic searches on search engines, only 1.3% of the total traffic came in from paid ads.

So, among all the measures, CTR, which is the most prominent measure in gauging search engine users’ interests and preferences, speaks in favor of organic search and SEO.

You might be thinking how that could be possible when we just showed you all those graphs with incredible amounts of money being spent on PPC year after year. Are those businesses crazy? Or just plain ignorant?

But the answer isn’t so difficult to understand. Answer this: How many times have you ever looked beyond the first page of any search you ever did on Google? Hardly ever.

Take another one: How many times have you ever clicked beyond the first few results on the search results page? Probably never.

This behavior is yours as a consumer and it is independent of what the search engine might be trying to achieve through a search. This consumer behavior is the main reason SEO is still winning and might always win when it comes to quality and lasting relationships.

Then, why do businesses spend such huge piles of money on paid search? You’ll find your answer to that question in the discussion below.

 

Understanding the Use of PPC and SEO

This is where you need to sit down and understand what each of the two optimizing techniques stand. This can be done easily by simply putting in the uses of each of them in a table. That way you can read through the advantages each of the technique brings and decide which one suits your goals better.

Understanding the Use of PPC and SEO

Understanding the Use of PPC and SEO

VISIBILITY VS. AUTHORITY

 

What becomes evident from this table is choosing between SEO and PPC is actually choosing between visibility and authority. When you pursue PPC, you’re putting up ads over organic search results that will be visible over everything else. They might make a visitor click through to your website, but there’s no guarantee they’ll purchase your service of product but you will pay for that click regardless.

Also, you need to remember what we showed you earlier: Only 5% searchers ever click on paid suggestions in SERPs.

Assuming these figures are true for searchers in all industries, while spending a ton of money on paid search, you’ll be neglecting over 95% of the people looking for services for your target keywords (how could that be prudent?).

Another problem with paid suggestions on SERPs is there’s no guarantee of expertise. Anybody with a website can pay a certain amount for their ad and have it placed over organic results for a given period of time.

Visitors know that. To them every paid suggestion in the SERPs can as much get them in trouble as it can do the work right. They know it’s risky business (why do you think such a huge majority of people simply ignore these ads?) and everybody likes to reduce risk when they’re paying money.

On the other hand, if you’re on the top of organic results, visitors on the page already take you as an expert in the field and half expect to end up purchasing your offerings because their mind is already expecting to be impressed when they click through to your website.

In short, while you’re spending more money to get instant visibility, you’re actually making searchers wary of your service. That doesn’t sound cost-efficient to us from any angle.

COSTS VS. VALUE

When going for PPC, you’re looking at high advertising costs. Let’s break it down for your ease:

When you choose your search engine, you’ll place bids for your selected keywords according to what the price it suggests. Depending on your CTR history, the bids you get might be higher or lower than the search engine’s average suggestion for the keyword.

Either way, you set a price for every click your ad will get. What happens after the click’s done is none of the search engine’s concern. You pay for the click, not for your visitor buying your offerings.

Here’s another tormenting fact: A lot of those clicks can actually simply be mistaken clicks. A visitor clicking on a paid ad just because it was more prominent or because they weren’t paying enough attention to tell paid ads and organic suggestions apart; that happens more than you’ll think. We know that for sure for over 50% clicks on banner ads on mobile devices. Even if Google fixes this problem completely and you don’t have to pay for such clicks, you’ll still be getting false clicks.[1]

Discussing the matter of paid ad costs in detail, Wordstream recently discovered Google AdWords has recorded the average CTR of less than 2% across 16 industries (which is to say about 2 out of every 100 searchers who see your ad will click on it).

More importantly, the study showed an ad in any of these industries costs $2.32 per click on average. Have a look at the data in this image:

[1] Although Google is taking care of this problem (http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2015/07/06/mobile-clicks), it isn’t completely fixed yet.

:

Google Adwords Industry Benchmarks

Google Adwords Industry Benchmarks

Source: Wordstream

So, while paying more than a dollar for every click you get on your ad, where there’s no guarantee the visitor will actually buy your product or service, you’re also losing value for your offerings, since most searchers either won’t click on your ad or will click thinking you’re probably not an authority in your field.

That sounds really bad.

On the other hand, with organic search, the matter of cost is much more complicated than evaluating value fluctuations. Since there are a number of modes for setting an SEO project fee, such as monthly, hourly, and per-project scales, which are widely practiced in the industry, it’s hard to establish statistical data on the matter.

Another reason for lack of data is the wide price range of SEO professionals and agencies (Rand Fishkin of Moz conducted a detailed study of the industry).

However, the matter of understanding how SEO is more cost-effective than PPC is quite simple when it comes to the basics of it. You see, once you’ve done your part of creating great quality content, promoted it and earned quality backlinks from authority sites, and found your way to the first SERP on Google, you’re most likely to stay there for a long time and reap rewards even after you stop paying for any SEO services. You’ll keep getting non-stop traffic for all the SEO you did and as long as searchers click on your links and pay for your offerings, Google will keep you close to the top..

NOTE: We don’t recommend letting go of your SEO service even after you’ve reached the top place in SERPs, since it’s a constant race between you and your competitors. You may stop paying for SEO, but your competitors on the same page won’t get so complacent. In fact it has been our experience that the more successful an organic SEO campaign is,  the more aggressive business owners become to get found for even higher conversion keywords!

Since SEO is much more than just reaching the top of the organic search results, it encompasses many more advantages that last, while PPC offers that one moment of attention where the visitor may or may not choose to click on through to your website..

MIX ‘EM UP?

This is a complex thought, but a valid one. People have tried this technique and it works, if done right, which is again something a professional or an agency could guide you with more effectively.

These are differences that we at SEO Resellers Canada always discuss with clients asking us to help them with optimization. As honest, customer-oriented business people, we believe it’s the client’s right to know their options before they decide what they want us to do for them.

Then we deliver precisely that.

THE VERDICT

Didn’t we already give it to you in the very beginning of this article? The smartest thing to do with SEO and PPC is to use a smart mix of the two. With most of your focus on establishing your business as an authority in your industry, there’s nothing wrong with getting more visibility as long as you’re smart enough to make the ads clever and based on thorough research.

At the same time, your long-term plan should be to focus on creating great content, promoting it, and earning higher rankings in Google’s organic results. This can actually work as a safeguard against the disadvantages of PPC. As you earn higher rankings in Google’s SERPs, you can attract more organic traffic and, once you’ve reached the first page of Google’s long list of suggestions, the money you spend on PPC can do something unique and extraordinary.

When this happens, you’ll have your website listed both in the ads as well as in the organic suggestions. This only adds to your visibility and increases the chances of you getting a click.

In short, focus most of your efforts on organic SEO and maybe spend a little money on PPC for the sake of visibility.

 

HERE’S WHAT YOU SHOULD DO NOW

Now that you know so much about SEO and PPC, share this knowledge with other people you know who could use it.

Also, don’t hesitate to call or email if you have any further questions in regards to PPC and or Organic SEO.