In this episode, we’re going to go through some of the changes that have happened with Google and SEO. How these changes could have an impact on your business and finally what you can do to keep (or even increase) your search traffic.
In this episode, you learn…
- The issues with Google that could lead to less organic traffic to your website
- How you can still maintain and even get more traffic from Google even with these changes
Is Google Dead: Transcript
Welcome to Episode 43 of the Make Your Mark Online Podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about whether Google is dead. So that’s nice. I’m going to go through some of the changes we’ve seen in Google, what impact they’ll have on you and essentially, what you should do about it.
But before we get into that, this show is sponsored by the Make Your Mark Online Community, this is our signature membership community where we help small business owners build and grow a successful website.
So let’s get on with the show.
Okay so firstly, what’s happening Google?
What have we done to deserve this?
Now you may have noticed that Google’s got a little frosty with those of us who use it (or for the many of us who rely on it) for organic traffic. And there have been a few changes that have sounded pretty scary for us business owners.
Rand Fishkin, the CEO of Moz – and if you know anything about SEO, Moz is pretty much the frontier in providing SEO knowledge. But Rand Fishkin wrote an article in 2019 that stated that less than 50% of Google searches result in a click to a website. For mobile, that’s even scarier, at less than 27%. I’ll link to this article in the show notes so you can go look at some scary graphs and cry into your bowl of cereal.
But maybe before you do that, you could just listen to the rest of this podcast and hopefully, it will put your mind at ease.
Why Are Is Our CTR (Click Through Rate) Decreasing?
Well, there are many different factors. Firstly, you may have noticed something called featured snippets in search results. So when I type into Google ‘How much does it cost for a website’ – Google provides me with an answer without me having to click on the website that provided me with the answer.
So, it takes the information off the website that answered that question and delivers that as an answer on its own platform. And in this case, it’s a gives a reasonable ish answer, it says it costs between $100-$500 to build your own website and up to $30,000 to get a custom-built site. And it’s quite difficult to see the name of the company that wrote the article and provided the answer.
Which is why some people argue that a featured snippet is resulting in a decrease in people clicking on your links in Google search. The data certainly seems to show that.
So, that’s pretty scary, isn’t it?
And the answer to that is yes and no.
The problem with this data is that it doesn’t factor in what people are searching for. So I don’t know if you do this, but when Martin and I watch a film, we’re like, is that Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon? I’m like, it’s Matt Damon, definitely. And Martin’s like, no it’s not, it’s Mark Wahlberg. No, you’re completely wrong. Okay, Google it. And then you Google the name of the film and you get your answer straight away without having to click on a website. So it’s not taking into account all the millions of people who are also performing these kinds of searches.
So, when we talk about there being fewer clicks from Google, it doesn’t necessarily categorise what people are and are not clicking on. Essentially, yes, overall click-through rates from Google are down, but that’s not necessarily true of educational content.
Take the search query I mentioned before – How Much Does It Cost For a Website. Google gave the answer between just between $100-$500 or up to $30,000 dollars for a custom site. Now the likelihood is, someone will need more information than that. Between $100 – $30,000 isn’t particularly helpful. So there’s that to consider.
And there was actually a study by Hubspot that stated that these featured snippets get more clicks than organic search results, so that’s good news here.
So it conclusion, yes it’s a worry and I’m going to talk about how to combat all this later. But it’s probably not all doom and gloom as you might think.
So let’s move on to some other obstacles Google is throwing at us.
The second is how Google is changing the way it displays ads.
In fact, this is changing regularly. I used to instinctively know which results in Google were ads, and I’d just click on the results that I knew weren’t ads.
Now it’s trickier. The way ads are displayed is changing so much that we don’t really have time to get used to how they look and well…avoid them.
And it’s often more difficult to get to the organic traffic too. We’re on the first page for ‘top web design agencies manchester’ and yet you have to scroll down to halfway down the page to find that search result. And that’s because there’s a lot of ads and a big map in the way. So, thanks for that Google.
So what do we do?
Do we just not bother anymore? Forget content marketing and forget having a website and just focus on social media?
Well, no. Good God no.
In fact, this is an opportunity to invest more in educational content. If someone types into Google, web designers in Manchester they’re just going to see ads and a map and maybe click on a company in the organic results, maybe not.
If someone is typing into Google a question like ‘how much does it cost for a website?’ then they need education. Educational content is the best kind of content to use in order to get traffic from Google. We’ve certainly found this too, the majority of our traffic has come from our educational content, even now. And in a lot of cases, our educational content gets more traffic than our homepage.
In summary, if someone needs educating, they’re generally going to need more information than what’s included in a 40-50 word featured snippet. Not always, but mostly.
But more importantly, this highlights something bigger.
You cannot rely on one single platform in your business.
Now it’s scary when we see people building businesses using just Facebook, and we’re like, ‘oh my God, get a website!’
But equally, perhaps we web designers haven’t been very clear about how we shouldn’t rely solely on Google either.
We cannot control Google. They are there to make money, not be our friends. And they don’t owe us anything.
This is why it’s frustrating when we see websites rank purely for search engines. If you look at some of the websites that are on the first page of Google for ‘How much does a website cost?’ yes the articles are helpful but some of them are…well just kinda boring. They aren’t memorable. The businesses have no personality. No brand. Nothing. I’d read their article and then I would forget their names.
What we need to do instead is elevate ourselves, build our brand, be clear on who we are and have that come across in our content. We need to provide helpful content but also have personality too. We need people to find us and remember us.
And we also want more and more people searching for our business name. If there’s one thing Google can’t do, it provides other answers to our business name. When I want to know something about SEO, I don’t type that question into Google, I search for Moz and then I use their internal search to find what I’m looking for. Essentially, you want your own website to become the Google of your industry. So we all end up with a bunch of tiny Googles!
To do that we need to, as I said merge both personality and content marketing. To make sure we’re found and also remembered.
We can still optimise our content for Google, of course. But we can’t put our eggs in one basket. We need to use social media too. We need to join communities and make connections. We cannot sit back anymore. To get traffic to your website you need a constant proactive approach.
In short, don’t rely on anyone but yourselves.
So I hope you found that episode useful and not too scary!
And if you’re wanting to learn more about how to grow your website so it acts as the best salesperson for your business, then check out our membership community, Make Your Mark Online. We do talk a lot about SEO in our membership especially how it relates to content marketing. If that sounds good head to makeyourmarkonline.net to find out more.
So that’s it for today’s episode, we’ll see you next time on the Make your make online podcast.
Owner at Jammy Digital, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer of Young-Adult Fiction.