The intensity of this competition is most evident in the diminishing traffic from to the top to the bottom of the search engine results page (SERP). According to a 2013 study from Chitika, the first result on on the first SERP receives 33% of all traffic; the second result receives about 18%; and the third result receives 11%. Websites not on the first page miss 92% of all traffic.
Citing this study before, we added a simple calculation:
"If you know how much traffic the Internet drives to your business, and you can quantify that number in dollars, you can easily see the difference between, say, the third result and the first. By optimizing your site to be the first result, you could potentially triple your profits (from 11% to 33%)."
|The value of a top ranking is evident: increased profits [Photo Source]|
New websites owners, especially those transitioning from brick and mortar business, have a hard time visualizing a first page ranking. A brick-and-mortar's competitors are located nearby. When you enter the online marketplace, the competition increases exponentially. After all, for each specific industry thousands of websites vie for the same first page search ranking.
The numbers are daunting, but the dynamic nature of search engine algorithms guarantee that each and every website has a fighting chance. Algorithms crave change. Over time, browser's interests change. By paying attention to this evolution, you can learn how to keep pace with the top results.
To study the evolution, pay attention to your competition--the top results for your specific industry. To discover these results, search for the precise keywords that most adequately describe your website--the keywords you would want your customers to use to find you.
Scrutinize the top three results. Then try to answer these questions:
1. Why is this website ranked first (or second or third)?
SEOs constantly analyze top-performing websites for website optimization clues. If you have no website optimization knowledge, you can still learn the same clues by paying attention to your competitor's design and content.
In many cases, the quality of a top result is apparent. Look at that design. Read the content. Is the website attractive and easy to use? Is the content helpful and relevant to the keyword?
Define the elements of your competitor's success.
Incidentally, if the quality of the top result is not apparent, the website might very well be the best of a bad lot. When this is the case, pounce accordingly. In this scenario, an SEO campaign can work quickly.
2. How is this website better (different) than my website?
If you an define what the elements of your competitor's success, you can easily create a plan to beat your competitor at his own game. Of course, you do not want to steal design ideas or content; instead, translate your competitors successful elements to your own style.
To do so, simply compare the design and content of the top results to your own design and content. How can you change (evolve) to meet the standards of the top results? This is a very straight-forward question.
Remember, though, your goal is to attract real people. We say "search engine" optimization, yet we do not optimize for search engines. In fact, SEO shares the same goal as the top search engines: to deliver relevant and appealing websites that answer the needs of humanity.
3. How can the this website improve?
Better than defining the elements of your competitor's success is defining his inadequacies. Do you notice certain design flaws? Is his product up to par? Is the content truly relevant (and error-free)? Has he provided copious relevant content? One of the easiest ways to compete with a top result is by matching not merely the quality but the quantity of content. Offer more and you will begin to attract more.
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