Friday, November 23, 2012

Search Engine Results, Advertising, and SEO

How important is it to be at the top of GOOGLE, Bing or other Search Engines?

We have always considered that being at the top of Search Engine Results (SER's) was crucial in capturing the highest number of new prospective visitors to your website. Through research, we've found that the numbers certainly support that idea according to an article at They quote saying that the number of listings that show up on a search results page are about 85% organic (non-sponsored) and about 15% paid. As far as organic listings go, 53% of 'searchers' will choose the very first listing. Of course this is no surprise, we use search engines frequently enough at E. Coastal Group and notice our own behaviors support these numbers as well.
That in mind, when it comes to paid listings on a SER, you want your listing to be in the ad space that generally displays above the organic listings (which the numbers also support). A recent article at The WordStream Blog explains that Cost-Per-Click (CPC) and Click-Through rates have significantly decreased with the number of impressions growing exponentially. This actually makes it more affordable to pay for listings, but also means a larger number competitors. In case you don't know how the rates are derived:
"I recognize that CPC’s aren’t fully controlled by Google per se – that an advertiser’s actual cost per click is a reflection of advertiser competition for a keyword, as well as an advertiser’s historical performance track record."
From what we can tell, it's still beneficial to have a paid listing display in a column along the side of the page, but that region of the page simply does not seem to draw the same attention as the content of the page where the bulk of the listings are shown.
So how important is it to have your listing at the top of Search Engine Listings? It is absolutely, undeniably, understatably vital to be at the top of SER's. Through effective Search Engine Optimization, your website can be featured in prime real-estate. Unfortunately for many who manage their own website, there are simply too many facets to really tackle SEO without help from an experienced marketing agency. Well executed SEO is a result of constructing appropriate meta tag information, strategic page naming, a well-developed sitemap, including readable key-word rich content, and much more. Luckily, there are plenty of organizations capable of helping. After conducting a search for an approximate number of firms in the United States,  I found the best answer in a thread on Yahoo! answers. It's difficult to determine how many organizations are capable of SEO (or the quality of their process/efforts) because:
"(1) SEOs are often designers, coders and other web denizens and (2) any idiot can call him/herself an SEO."
-Paul Lalley
When we meet with prospective clients, we often describe Search Engine Results as a game of black jack. You could play one hand and have 'x' percent chance of winning. Or you could play as many hands as possible and exponentially increase your opportunity of winning at least one of those hands.
All of the above considered, have your site shown in as many SER's as possible. More importantly, do what it takes to achieve higher listing ranks. This may seem like a daunting task, but we (and plenty of others out there) are capable of lending a hand; some with more experience and results than others. Feel free to contact us by phone or via email to speak with a representative about how we can help you achieve your Search Engine Optimization goals.

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