What good is an amazing new website that looks absolutely incredible if no sees it?
Unfortunately many small business owners have this experience. They know it’s important to portray a professional image and have an online presence so they create a website for their business or they may even pay a web design company to create one for them. After a couple of weeks or months they realise that they don’t get any customers from their website.
The reason this is the case is because their website is not getting enough traffic.
When I say traffic, I’m talking about prospective customers browsing online and coming across your website.
Unless you intend to drive traffic to your site via another online platform (e.g. social media), then the majority of your traffic will be acquired via search engines. Primarily this happens through one of two ways: SEM & SEO.
I will explain these soon but first let’s look at how people use search engines.
Since Google owns an approximate 90% of the search engine market share, from here on in I will be referring to all search engines collectively as Google.
Search Engine users’ behaviour
When looking for a local business users type a keyword or keywords into Google (e.g. dentist Sydney circled in green in the example below) to find a business in their area.
Then Google will then serve up any relevant ads (circled in red) at the top of the page followed by a map snippet with businesses and their associated star ratings (circled in blue).
After that comes some related search terms and then the organic listings (circled in orange) which are a selection of webpages Google deems to be the most relevant and helpful to the user.
See the screenshot below which depicts the typical layout for a local business search on Google. Other search engines have a similar layout with some differences.
The vast majority of people will scroll passed the ads and find the information they require within the first couple of unpaid or organic listings. Very few people will even look beyond the first page of Google.
In fact Academic research conducted by Van Deursen & Van Dijk (2009) found that 90% of search engine users did not go past the first page of the search results and 50% did not go passed the first three organic search results. A more recent study in 2021 has shown: The tenth placed search result (bottom of the first page) had an average click through rate of only 2.6% compared to the first result which had a click through rate of 34.2%.
Think about your own search behaviours. When was the last time you looked at the search results on page 6?
Ok so we can see that it’s important to get your business’ website on the first page of Google because that’s where the majority of prospective customers are looking.
The higher in the search results the better.
There are two ways to achieve this: SEM and SEO.
Click here to check out our article about SEO vs SEM.
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