A Journey of 1000 Clicks Starts With a Google Search
Think about the last time you purchased something significant. How did you go about it? Chances are your “purchasing journey” started online, probably with a Google search from your phone.
The bottom line is that if your business is to be successful in 2019 then:
- Your website has to be on page 1 of Google
- Your website has to be mobile-friendly
Get those two things right, and the leads will flow like single malt whisky at a Saxonwold shebeen!
There are 5.5 billion searches made on Google every single day (source). That’s a lot of people asking a lot of questions!
That being said – Google is not the internet. We know that. There are other search engines like Bing and Yahoo.
But we aren’t going to focus on those other wannabe search engines, because in South Africa Google has a 95% market share!
So it is safe to say that 95% of consumers in South Africa will turn to Google as their primary search engine when they want to purchase something.
The question is, are you appearing in those searches?
Anatomy of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page)
Depending on what a person searched on Google, the SERP will look slightly different. Google displays the information in what are known as “cards” – and there are many different types of cards.
I am not going to go into the details of each card, so for the purposes of this article we are going to focus on the main 3 sections of a SERP:
- Paid Ads
- Local Pack (Map Listings)
- Organic Listings
💳 Paid Ads (Google Ads)
The fastest & easiest way to get on the first page of Google is to pay for it. The crowd gasps. Google Ads, when done right, will get your business to the no. 1 spot on Google instantly.
It’s pretty simple – you choose the keywords that you want your advert to show for and you only pay when someone actually clicks on your advert. You can set limits on what you spend per day to ensure that you don’t blow a hole in your credit card.
How much does it cost I hear you ask. It depends on your industry and what search terms you are targeting, but we have achieved costs as low as R2.87 per click. For very competitive markets we have paid as much as R28.76 per click.
🏢 Local Pack (Google My Business)
Creating a Google My Business page is the fastest free way to get onto the first page of Google. However, your business will only appear for people who are searching in your area.
If you are a local business like a plumber, electrician or pet store then you need a Google My Business page. If you do not have one, or it is not set up properly then you are losing business. Simple.
“Pet shops near me” gets a whopping 8100 searches on Google per month. Google auto-completes certain searches with “near me”.
Go to Google and type in “restaurants” followed by a space, you will see that the next suggested search is “restaurants near me”.
A Google My Business listing is not only necessary for local business – ANY business that wants to generate more leads and sales online needs a listing.
🔎 Organic Listings (Search Engine Optimisation)
Getting to the number 1 spot in Google’s organic listings is the holy grail of online marketing. Once your website is here, the leads will pour in!
The top spot in Google will get almost 35% of the clicks (source). That is a big chunk of people that will visit your website instead of going to your competitor.
But getting to your website to the first page of Google’s organic listings is not easy. I could write an entire tutorial just on SEO – so let me try to explain it simply:
Ranking your website on page 1 of Google requires two forms of SEO:
- On-page SEO
Firstly, your website has to be optimised with the right keywords so that Google knows what your site is about. This is known as On-page SEO – this is the technical process of optimising your website to make it easy for search engines to index it.
- Off-page SEO
Even if your website has the right keywords, Google still needs to determine whether it is relevant to a user. Amongst other things Google uses “backlinks” as a yardstick. Backlinks are links on other sites that point back to your website. Lots of backlinks tell Google that your website is trustworthy, authoritative and relevant.
Generally, it requires months of active On-page and Off-page SEO to rank your website on page 1 of Google.
Bonus tip: Write blog articles! Putting out weekly content onto your blog is a tried and tested strategy for more website traffic. But don’t just write spammy articles stuffed with keywords, no one will want to read that. Write articles that will truly help your customers – this means they spend more time reading your content on your website. And the more time people spend on your website, the better rankings you will get. Fact.
Which One Is The Best for You?
There is an ongoing debate amongst SEO and PPC specialists as to which one is the best.
For us, it comes down to quantity vs quality.
Google Ads allows you to generate a lot of leads for your business very quickly. The downside is that it costs money and the quality of these leads can be inconsistent.
Organic listings are considered “trustworthy” by consumers because they understand that companies aren’t paying to be there. Therefore the leads that come from SEO are generally speaking better quality. The downside is that it takes time to get your website onto page 1.
Oh, but you definitely need to have a Google My Business page. That is non-negotiable 😊