The last three months have been a wild ride for businesses whose primary source of sales leads is the Google natural search results.
The Panda series of Google rankings updates has meant gut-wrenching cuts in visitor numbers for some big players who have enjoyed good rankings for many years.
Nobody yet understands why the Google search results have changed so much. It’s not as if Google is ranking the highest quality sites first.
Conspiracy theorists speculate that Google is making the search results far less predictable in high-competition markets in an effort to push more advertisers into their Adwords program. From what I’ve heard that strategy is working very well for Google with record sign-ups and advertising revenues the last 2-3 months.
So what should you do if your business relies too heavily on the Google natural search results?
Here’s a few suggestions:
1. Consider trying Google Adwords. Yes, this is what Google wants you to do, but it’s all about the numbers. If the lifetime value of a new customer or client is more than 50 times the cost of a click, you would be crazy not to at least try Google Adwords. But be careful. Adwords can be complicated to set up and if you don’t do it properly you can burn through thousands of dollars in just a few days.
2. Investigate other forms of online advertising. For business to business advertising Linkedin is an excellent vehicle. The minimum spend is just $10 per day and the average cost per click or 1000 impressions is about $3.50. The best feature of Linkedin advertising is the degree of targeting. You can select by city, age, gender, job title, business size and even company name when you set up your campaign. Want to make a special offer only to people who work at Suncorp? You can with Linkedin. Over 2 million Australians are now on Linkedin. And unlike Facebook, most of these people on Linkedin can read and write.
3. Get more long-tail traffic. Rather than focusing all you SEO efforts on a few high-volume and high competition search terms, add some lower volume, low competition, but high-conversion terms. Here’s a blog post that explains: http://searchtempo.com.au/google-panda-insurance-the-long-tail-approach/
Until next week, remember that Google is not the internet 🙂