Has your organic traffic reduced over the last couple of years, even though your ranking hasn’t?
Do you know why, or are you like many SME brands, in the dark as to why?
Well, the reality is your brand is intentionally being ignored, regardless of your content and ranking.
You’ve become another victim of Google’s recent change in the SERPs.
Now all the focus is going to the major brands in your market.
And it’s only going to get worse for small brands like yours unless you do something about it now.
Your only way of stopping this and taking back what’s rightfully yours (your organic traffic) is by making brand building the big focus of your SEO strategy.
Say Bye-Bye to Google Search and hello to Google Answer!
Google’s changing, OK, nothing new there as they update several times a year every year!
However, the changes that are happening now are not just a tweak and a tuck; no, these are big, Tsunami big, and the ripples are already having a devastating effect on SME and their brands. And if you don’t make it to higher ground (the knowledge panel), you’re going to get washed out of the SERP (search engine result pages), never to be seen again.
The main change and cause for concern are how Google’s now presenting itself; as the subheading suggests, they’ve moved towards an information answering service. It’s because of the changing environment and the public’s demand for instant information, or perhaps it’s just big business!
Either way, it’s terrible news for all of us trying to rank on page one using organic SEO; why?
Because it increasingly no longer matters!
Keywords, long-tailed keywords, optimized content, Irresistible headlines with click-through rate boosters, enticing openers that connect to specific emotions, magnetic subheadings, and compelling closes are losing their power.
Let’s look at why:
The Growing Importance of The Knowledge Panel
SERPs are changing dramatically; now, it can be argued that the layout adjustments Google has made are influencing user behavior or visa-versa; however, the result is undeniable. Knowledge panels are now the most priceless real estate on Google.
Featured Snippets have always been with us, and they serve an excellent purpose, providing users with a quick and informative glimpse of the information they’re searching for. However, their importance has been decreasing as Google leans towards full knowledge panels to provide instant research results, leading to a decrease in organic click-throughs.
What’s Google’s Reason For Doing This?
It’s no secret that Google has always given preferential treatment to the larger brands, and this trend is growing.
Google is now answering users’ queries with content from other sources without needing to click and view the source. They’re doing it by pulling data directly into the SERPs, by-passing blogs or websites pertaining to the research keyword, and sourcing the results directly from the most popular or largest brands.
How This Affects You
It means that the content being put forward has been narrowed down to include only the largest fish in the pond, and reducing the need for users to click on organic listings to find what they’re looking for.
What’s worse is, the Knowledge panel only contains one source, and you can bet your bottom dollar that it isn’t you.
The result is people are clicking less on search engine listings. So much for all our hard work! Statistics now show that only 50 percent of Google search results in a click; this is bad news for the small fry SMEs.
The effect on you is a reduction in organic traffic, fewer clicks, and organically-driven sales. Am I the only one to smell a rat here?
SERP Click-Through Rates Vs. Rankings
Traditionally links and content were the two top-ranking factors; however, now SERP CTR is becoming an equally decisive indirect factor. Meaning ranking number 1 on Google is now less important than brand recognition.
So, even when you get to the top, if users don’t recognize you, they’re unlikely to click! Recent states show that brand awareness results in a 6 x more probability of a purchase. So, if directly below your number one highly informative post sits a well-known brand, that’s where the viewers are going for their information.
What can you do to level the playing field?
A.B testing, increased infographics, automated scrolling? These are no longer enough to turn the tide and boost your SEO results; you now need a recognized brand to make a difference.
And this isn’t all bad, as branding is the one place where you can take on the big guys with the hope of claiming your slice of the pie.
Brand Recognition, the answer to your SEO Dilemma
Brand recognition is now critical to getting clicks.
To prove this, ask yourself the chances of choosing an unknown brand over an established name. Even when the option is of equal quality and at a lower price, the odds are minimal. It’s because when you have experience with a brand, you’ve built a bridge of trust, and it’s no different for the billions of online consumers (statistics show that over 60% of consumers purchase from a familiar brand regardless of an alternative offer). You can be sure that both the major brands and Goggle know this.
That trust applies to organic search results too!
People automatically click on what they know and trust; that’s the power of having a recognized brand, and the stronger the recognition, the higher the click rate.
To the point where successful brands no longer have to provide the best content to score the highest click rates, the rules of the game have changed.
Google has always given preferential treatment to brands, and as time passes, preferential treatment is increasing.
It’s never going to stop because it earns both them and the top brands vast sums of money.
As most clicks and sales are now driven by brand recognition, your only way of competing on an SEO level is with a savvy branding strategy of your own.
So, if you want to join the big guys on the crest of the wave, your only way of doing it is by investing a large percentage of your SEO budget into creating a memorable brand.