Have you ever wondered why, despite the fact that your search strategies are more sophisticated and your budget healthier every year, search marketing results get harder to achieve as time goes on?
It's not your fault; it's the changing environment. What you're facing is the increasing competition of the search engine results page (SERP). As more and more companies are realizing the baseline importance of having a Web site, and the number of sites increase, so will the search engine results naturally increase in volume. But also, I believe this can be attributed in part to the rising importance and budget allocated to search marketing strategies. The more companies and site owners invest in paid and organic search strategies, the hotter the competition gets.
Let's consider a concrete example.
Back in 2008, I wrote the column, "The Seasonality of Search and Taxes." In this column, I showed a Google.com SERP (define) for the term "tax return," taken in mid-April 2008. I just ran that same query "tax return" in Google today (mid-April 2010). Below, are the two SERPs. Before reading on, look at each carefully and note any differences between the two.
|April 2008||April 2010|
Some key differences in the 2010 SERP you may have noted:
But did you notice the most important difference?
By far the biggest difference is the sheer volume of results. When you look at the first SERP on any given query, you will see a blue bar below the search box, on which the right-hand side will read, "Results 1-10 of about X." This is telling you that the SERP is displaying the top 10 organic results of the total number of results (X).
The 2008 SERP for the query "tax return" showed 13.6 million results. That same query in 2009 now shows 67.7 million. That's a five-time increase in two years! Although this is just one example, I have seen similar increases in search results in many other categories as well.
That's a little crazy, but so what? Why should you care about this rise in competition?
You should care because it could (and should) impact your search strategies and approaches.
In the face of increasing competition, you may want to:
These are just a few ideas for remaining competitive in today's cluttered search space, but I'd love to hear your ideas as well. Feel free to comment on this column with additional ideas that you've applied or are planning to test out.
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Julie is a member of the senior strategy team at Klick Health, focused on online media and digital. Julie initially established and led the media practice at Klick for several years, relinquishing leadership to expand beyond media into additional digital tactics. She brings a wealth of experience in search marketing, digital media, and all facets of digital strategy to bear, helping Klick's clients develop innovative digital solutions. As her role has evolved, so have her contributions to ClickZ, which she has been writing for since 2007.
March 19, 2014