SEO: Is It Still Worth It?

Google is making significant changes again. Have you noticed the ads in the right hand column on most search results is blank. Google is taking the top 3 positions as well as the bottom 2 on most search terms, leaving the right column blank — for now. Let’s watch and see what they do with it. Whatever it is, we can bet it will be paid.

One of the issues with that column is how it shows up when using a mobile device to search. At best it can ‘stack’ under the bottom 2 paid listing at the bottom of the page. And mobile is where it’s at today. But that’s another topic for another day. What I want to focus on today is: Is SEO Worthwhile in Today’s Market? There is no question when Google’s paid ads were on the right (not the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prime positions as they are today) that fighting and clawing your way to the #1 organic spot was worth the effort and the investment of time and money. Some businesses made huge strides in those early years when most of us did not understand how SEARCH Marketing worked.

In a study from Chitika published on search engine watch, they reveal that 62% of all clicks are awarded to the top 3 spots — 
1.= 33%, 
2. =18% 
3. = 11%.

Google employees have admitted it’s even more than that, but let’s take Chitika’s numbers at face value.

EVERYTHING else on any search page will result in 8% or less clicks. So you can work your ass off to get to #1 organic (#4 on the page) and it’s only ever going to give you the potential of 8% or less of the clicks for that search term.

Back when you had the possibility of receiving 33% of the clicks for the #1 position, SEO was worth playing. The time, and investments you were making had potential to provide a good return. With 33% of all possible clicks for that specific search term, you had a decent number of clicks to try to cause some conversion (whatever you deemed that to be).

With Google’s changes over the last few years, you may want to take a harder look. Is the potential for 8% of the clicks worth the time and investment you are putting in your SEO programs? While I am not suggesting that you abandon all SEO efforts, I am suggesting you take a realistic look at their overall effect on your lead generation programs. I am also suggesting that SEARCH on it’s own is of little value. Combined with an effective paid strategy and some other effective lead generation tools it makes sense. On it’s own — not so much.

As for the rest of the recent changes and clearing the right hand column — simply clears the way for Google to emphasize Location or Retail services. That real estate is far more valuable than it is currently being used for. Pretty smart actually. Derek writes for Blazon.Online: All Things Direct & Digital Marketing @