In the digital age customers use all sorts of devices to research and find the goods and services they need. Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are growing in popularity and the search engines can now use a phone's GPS to find out where the customers are and then locate businesses near them.
Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is simply the techniques and practices used to help your business list as high as possible on page one of the search results for Google and other search engines like Yahoo and Bing. New research from online ad network Chitika suggests that the top listing in Google's organic search results receives 32.5 percent of the traffic, compared to 17.6 percent for the second position and 11.4 percent for third position. What this means is that 61 percent of visitors don’t go past the third position on page one of search results. The research also showed a significant drop in traffic from Page 1 to Page 2 results. On average, page 1 gets 91.5% of all traffic while page 2 manages less than 5% and page 3 just over 1%. The important message is this, very few of your prospective customers make it past the top three listings on the first page.
When a search engine like Google lists its search results it provides you with two types of search results, organic and paid. Organic or ‘natural’ search results are free and are the web page listings that most closely match the search phrase. When people talk about SEO they are talking about improving your ranking in the organic results. The second type of search results are ‘paid’ results which are basically advertisements targeting certain keywords. On a search results page you can identify the paid results because they appear above or to the right of the organic results. They usually have a shaded background and a border around them or the word ‘Ad’ appears next to the listing.
There is a place for both SEO (free traffic) and paid ads (like PPC or ‘pay per click’) in the bid to optimise your website. We will examine the benefits of SEO vs PPC in another edition of this newsletter.
To win the coveted top spot on page one, Google offers some very simple advice. Forget about trying to beat the system and focus on building a great website full of relevant and original content. A good search ranking will follow naturally.
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