15 Feb Why Your Website Needs to Rank on Every Search Engine – The Awful Truth
For most people in the Western hemisphere, Google may as well be the only search engine in existence. According to extensive research by digital intelligence company Jumpshot as reported by Rand Fishkin for SparkToro, Google accounts for more than 90 percent of web search volume. So pervasive is this search behemoth that it’s become a verb, as in, “Let me Google that.” While one may wonder why other search engines – such as Bing and Yahoo! – even bother to get out of bed in the morning, ranking on every search engine is now more important than ever. Here are the unsettling reasons why.
The rise of no-click searches
The primary goal of businesses is to get their website ranked high in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Achieved by either organic means – such as search engine optimization (SEO) or paid – such as pay-per-click (PPC), the idea is to make your site among the first users see when they conduct a search. The desired action is that visitors click the result and are taken to your website, where the conversion process begins. Simple. Google delivers results. Visitors click result that seems to be what they’re looking for, and leaves Google for your site.
But it’s not so simple anymore. Google has steadily been changing its ecosystem to keep visitors on Google, rather than sending them on their way to your site to potentially become customers. Instead, Google is presenting answers on the SERP itself – which can take several forms, such as featured snippets. As discussed in an article by Paradigm New Media Group, “The Rise of No-Click Searches,” “… what happens when those leads find what they’re looking for without visiting your site? This is called no-click searches and they account for 61% of all mobile searches.”
According to Jumpshot and SparkToro, that 61 percent of no-click searches represented third quarter 2018 – up considerably from 55.2 percent in first quarter 2016. For searches conducted on desktops and laptops, the Q3 2018 figure for no-click searches was a lower 33.5 percent, compared with 32.7 percent in Q1 2016.
What is a no-click search?
If you’ve ever searched for a flight or event, and didn’t have to click on anything to get more information because Google already displayed what you needed, you’ve experienced a no-click search. Fishkin casts a jaundiced eye at this development, noting that businesses and web content creators are being short-changed as Google scraps content for these results, with no benefit to either group.
“Some clicks might still flow through to the folks who created the content Google’s scraping and re-publishing (ironically enough, something that Google’s own webmaster guidelines discourage),” writes Fishkin, “but in millions of cases, Google is using information they scrape from your sites to answer the query before any click can happen (and before any value can accrue to the work’s creator).”
As observed by Adrianne Jeffries writing for The Outline, Google once served more as a librarian, guiding visitors to the section of the web where they might find the answer to their query. “But over the past five years,” she writes, “Google has been experimenting with being an oracle. Type in a question, and you might see a box at the top of the search results page with the answer in large bold type. When is Easter? Who won The Voice? Can you give a dog sushi?”
Jeffries reports the cautionary tale of Celebrity Net Worth – a once-thriving website that suffered a substantial loss of revenue (which resulted in staff layoffs) as the result of this practice. The title, “How Google Eats a Business Whole: Google’s Featured Snippets are not only often wrong, they’re also damaging to small businesses that depend on search traffic,” says it all.
How to get a crawl bot’s attention
For those who do want to attract Google’s crawl bots with the intent of your website’s contents being used for a featured snippet, Paradigm New Media Group offers some tips on how to best position your site. The advantage is that your business or organization will gain high-profile recognition as a category expert, which has its own rewards.
Structured data – This is coded information you place in your site that better identifies the attributes of your business – such as your name, type of business, address, online reviews, etc. Adding this data will help Google read your site more easily and find the information it needs for snippets.
Tailored content – Tailoring content to the most common questions in your industry will help your chances of having that content featured in a feature snippet. Keep in mind that Google prefers video content to standard written blog content.
Digestible answers – Provide answers in a concise manner. Featured snippets are pretty limited, and will only show about 40-50 words from your article. Keep your articles skimmable and approachable.
SERP-friendly answers – Be sure your search listing itself is concise. Keep the title tag under 60 characters and the meta description under 255 characters.
Google eats alone – but you don’t have to starve
Given Google’s dominance of the search engine market and its apparent determination to eat alone (not share the wealth – reference to The Sopranos), it’s a good idea to seek additional search engines for organic rankings. As covered in our May 2018 blog post, “Search Beyond Google: 7 Alternative Search Engines,” alternative search engines are now getting more traffic from savvy web searchers for numerous reasons – such as the need for specialized information, privacy or frustration over Google’s frequent, seemingly arbitrary, algorithm changes.
Being present on other search engines allows your website some breathing room. Consider that most of the first page of Google search results are dominated by Google properties – such as YouTube videos – and alternative search engines look like open land by comparison.
So how do you go about getting your website known to these search engines? Entireweb offers a convenient one-stop solution. Just visit the site and submit your sitemap so your website will be included on every search engine – including Google, of course. This free service can be used as often as you want, and provides monthly notifications and automatic resubmissions. A little-known fact: submitting your sitemap to Bing feeds several other search engines.
For now, Fishkin reports that the no-click search situation is getting worse, “… but it’s not yet cannibalized so much as to make anyone in SEO or paid search worry about their jobs.” Still, to reference another HBO series, winter is coming. The time to prepare is now.
Virtual Stacks Systems’ SEO Services department has experience in optimizing websites to rank high on any search engine’s SERPs.
Contact us to be sure your website can be found by as many search engines as possible – and your business found by as many potential customers as possible.