A report came out recently that analyzed search results for 1.5 million keywords. The researchers wanted to see if blue (organic or non-paid) links were being usurped on search engine results pages by rich (paid) links.
What they found was that 88 percent of the results pages had nine or more organic links on their first page, and 73 percent had 10 (the default maximum number of results on a Google page).
The report also found that 56 percent of the pages had nine or more paid ads on them. This finding is causing some in the marketing community to question the effectiveness of content-based marketing.
Content-based marketing is a cornerstone of any successful web marketing campaign and it will continue to be your best way to attract the patients you want.
If you’ve used a search engine lately (probably Google), then there is no denying that paid ads take up a good part of the page. And that’s good if you have mixed in some Google AdWords into your marketing budget. But most of your competitors probably have paid online ads too, so that is not a way to differentiate yourself.
Dominating the organic search results
Previous research shows that 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine. Of those who use a search engine, 70 percent click on an organic link, and 70-80 percent ignore the paid ads, focusing on the organic results. And why is it important to DOMINATE the organic links on the page? Because 75 percent of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
So does that mean you should NOT buy Google AdWords? Of course not. 20-30% of people using a search engine do look at the paid links.
But what it does mean is that you must continue to produce the kind of information that keeps your practice’s name in front of the search engines. The organic search results are where most people (and people are your best source of potential patients) click to find what they want.
Eye-tracking tests confirm people want organic links
A different report (Search Engine Journal) tested 15 people on various devices to see where their eyes went on search results pages. Unpaid, natural search results consistently outperformed paid advertising results.
This is why you want to dominate a search-results page. This is why local search optimization matters. This is why you want to make sure you have fresh content on your website.
So while Google and other search engines may continue to promote paid results, your potential patients more often than not are seeing how you come up in the organic search results.
Making sure you have fresh content on your website is the best way to make that happen, and content will be the topic of my next blog post.
On an unrelated note… I want to give a shoutout to my son Benjamin, who just turned 1 year old. This has nothing to do with marketing or dentistry. I’m just a proud dad who loves his son.