An E-Commerce Times poll was conducted from March 25 to April 1 of this year and in that survey only 4.32 percent of respondents said there was always enough information on the first page of search results to meet their needs. By comparison, 14.05 percent said they found the first-page search results were rigged and limited by algorithmic highlights.
More than one quarter, 25.41 percent, said even if the first page provided enough information, there was still reason to see what else might be available. Twenty percent said they usually found enough on the first page but sometimes wanted to see more. A total of 36.22 percent of respondents said if they saw too many paid-for results, or if they didn’t find an answer on the first page, they’d go deeper.
Although ECT News Network reader surveys are not intended to be scientific, the results of the SEO poll are particularly interesting because they contrast so sharply with the standard search engine optimization (SEO) pitch — which is that hitting the first page is absolutely necessary.
“In the SEO industry we say, ‘If you want to bury a body, put it on page two,'” said Andrew Shotland, CEO of the Local SEO Guide.
“There are definitely clicks that happen beyond page one of Google results, but it’s a significantly lower percentage,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “In general, no one is ‘shooting for page two’ unless they are on page three.”
Getting the coveted first page isn’t impossible, but there is work to it — a lot of work. Understanding how search engines function is crucial, and this is why there are now many firms that specialize in SEO.
“What’s important to remember about the way Google’s algorithm works is, if your best result isn’t on the first page, it’s failed,” maintained Eric Yaverbaum, CEO of New York public relations firm Ericho Communications.
Google’s first metric is always relevance; it serves up optimally relevant content for the plain intention of your search, observed Yaverbaum.
“I hesitate to say that second- and third-page results have no value, but ask yourself how often you click past the first page,” he told the E-Commerce Times.
“Google is quite good at not only delivering search results, but answering questions without you even needing to click on a result,” Yaverbaum added. “That’s critical here — Google as question-answerer more than a search engine. That means anything that doesn’t accomplish that simple goal immediately gets shunted off the first page. Which means you rarely need to dive deeper.”
The right SEO campaign can help make a difference, of course, but much of the discussion today revolves around Google. The question is how to get equal or even better rankings on the other search engines — notably Microsoft’s Bing.
They don’t have the reach of Google, and in the past striving for a top rating on one could impact your ranking on another. That has changed in recent years, however.
“Regarding targeting other non-Google search engines, each engine has its own algorithms, but there aren’t many things I would say to do specifically for any search engine other than Google,” said Local SEO Guide’s Shotland.
“All of them are based on the following high-level principles: Get relevant links from other sites to your pages; provide content on your pages that answer searchers’ questions/needs, etc.; make sure your content is both accessible and easily understood by machines,” he said.
“For DuckDuckGo specifically, we see that getting referenced on other sites it uses as data sources makes it more likely your content will appear in that index and rank well,” Shotland pointed out.
“For Bing, we see making it easy for Bing to find only the content you want it to use and none of the no-SEO-value URLs seems to work well,” he added. “Search engines have to look at trillions of Web pages to find good content, so making it easy for them to find your content is critical.”
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