2021 Insights: The New State Of Search
The pandemic shifted how we do a lot of things. It changed how we socialize (or don’t), how we communicate (hello Zoom!), and especially how we shop (aka digital retail therapy).
Marketers shifted alongside the rest of the world, switching up their media mix and focusing on organic and paid search. And while in 2021 many things will go back to the way they were (sorry Zoom!), we predict the popularity of online searches will continue to grow. Here are our insights on the best ways to meet those searchers, utilizing organic search in 2021.
Key Insight #1: Google is (still) king
There’s no getting around it: Google is still top dog when it comes to driving organic search traffic. While boosting performance on the other search engines can help, most organic and mobile searches start with Google, so you should, too.1
What’s more, Google is adding new features to their paid search platform that will help advertisers target their customers better, and as a result, those customers will get a more satisfying search experience. Google is adding targetable data, increased campaign automation, and machine learning, but all that won’t replace the human touch required to manage campaigns that maximize performance.
Where to start? Focus on data and analytics. Data is the foundation of an impactful organic search program. Ensure your data in Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and other SEO tools (Moz, SEMRush, etc.) is accurate. That way, you can make data-backed business decisions, identify keyword opportunities, evaluate your site content, and even pinpoint backlinks from spam sites that could negatively impact your reputation with Google.
Key Insight #2: Consumers can’t buy products they don’t see — but ranking takes time
It doesn’t matter that you have a great product if your website is buried in the tenth page of search results where consumers are less likely to find you. In fact, the top Google search result gets about 32% of all clicks and is 10 times more likely to get clicked than a page in the number 10 spot.2 If you’re currently on the tenth page, work to get to the first. If you’re on the first page, work to get to the top.
Improving your ranking also embraces the value of a zero-click search. Almost half of all searches end with no click.3 For advertisers who spend lots of time researching ways to get clicks, this can be an alarming statistic. However, there’s an opportunity here: answering questions for zero-click searches can be valuable. See if it works for your business by going through Sparktoro’s Structured Data Decision Tree:
“Can I benefit from ranking for this query even without traffic?”
“Will I gain or lose value from adding structured data that Google may use in an answer box?”
“Would I rather have the answer box, or cede it to a competitor to focus on other keywords?”
While there are steps you can (and should) take to improve your ranking, getting a top ranking just takes time. Nearly 60% of pages ranking in the top 10 Google results are three or more years old.4 Remember that you’re playing the long game, and good content that provides value to the searcher will get your ranking up over time.
Key Insight #3: Consumers want to know your brand
Purchases are more personal — and more personalized — than ever. Consumers are doing their research, and they’re not just looking for the best deal. They expect their purchases to deliver on multiple levels, and most end up looking at three to five pieces of content from a brand before making the move to talk to a salesperson.5
So what does that mean for advertisers? People have questions. Websites have answers. This is the basic principle that supports organic search. Invest in content that answers the questions consumers will have about your product or service at every stage of the buying process.
If you can find ways to create and deliver content that answers a searcher’s question (and the intent behind it), you’re well on your way to creating a solid organic search program. What’s more, you can repurpose that content in other channels, including social media, paid search, print, and more.
Start growing your organic search presence
In 2021, relevance will continue to lead the conversation around search. Advertisers who can continually understand what a consumer wants, plus how and where to give it to them, will end up on top — in business and in rankings.
5 Demand Gen Report