Search visibility is a growth driver
93% of Internet users’ activity starts in search engines. Shopping is no exception. For example, in Russia, more than half of the visitors to online stores come from Yandex and Google.
Getting a website to a high position in search results is as much a growth driver for an Internet business as launching a new outlet for a traditional retailer. The Krasnoe & Beloe chain opened six stores a day to grow to three hundred billion in revenue. And Wildberries and CIAN methodically “hammered” the top lines of search results for the most popular queries with their offers.
Our search engine visibility rankings show that leading internet projects usually have the highest visibility in a segment. And fast-growing projects have the highest dynamics of increase in visibility. In real life it looks like this: the new segment of online pharmacies is growing by 60-70% per year, mainly due to organic search – 57% of visitors come from there.
The catch is that search positions, unlike commercial real estate, cannot be rented for money. To occupy high positions, you need to quickly adjust to the changing requirements of search engines and the structure of search results.
This structure includes not only the top sites in the search results. These are contextual advertising, and quick responses from Yandex and Google, their aggregators, map services, Yandex Zen and Kew, and much more. All this forms the search space.
Search space structure
High positioning of a site is possible only if it meets many criteria: technical optimization requirements, high traffic, thoughtful marketing and much more. It is even important what customers say about the company on the Internet. But that is not all.
On the first page of SERPs, you need to compete with those who take up most of the space: aggregators, marketplaces, verticals, wizards, and sometimes information portals.
Each industry has its own. So, in real estate, up to 80% of the issue is occupied by cian.ru, avito and domofond, as well as Yandex service – realty.yandex.ru. In medicine – Docdoc, Prodoctorov, Profi.ru, Zoon, Meds, Wikipedia, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Arguments and Facts.
In addition, in the search results you need to fight against Yandex.Services, Maps, Zen, Q, Vkontakte and even review sites. All this forms the search space – a new reality of search that will have to be reckoned with.
How search and search space are changing
The search engine business is built around shareholders, users, advertisers and website owners. The first are interested in capitalization growth, the second – as a search, the third – in a low price for access to the audience, the fourth – in traffic from organic search results. Search engines primarily serve the interests of shareholders, users and advertisers. Yandex and Google are increasing the number of ad slots, improving the quality of site ranking, and promoting their own services and startups. Let’s see how the changes affect the interests of the site owners.
Search algorithms get complicated
Until recently, the success of website promotion was determined, roughly speaking, by three pillars – the volume of external links, texts and the technical component. Today, ranking takes into account more than 1,800 factors, some of which indirectly assess the reliability, size and quality of the business behind the site. Search engines rely more on the websites of companies that demonstrate an increase in assortment, a good ratio of traffic to sales, activity on social networks, user friendliness, and so on. Therefore, promotion in the search space is no longer limited only to website optimization, but concerns various aspects of marketing and product development in terms of technology, user demand, reliability and convenience.
Priority is given to sites with a gigantic assortment and traffic
According to the research “Ranking Factors – 2019”, almost 40% of sites with a huge assortment are in the top 3 of Yandex, and almost 20% in the top 30, in e-commerce – more than half and more than a third, respectively; in highly monopolized real estate – 86% and 54%. That is, some segments of the search space are occupied by aggregators and hypermarkets; there is very little space left for sites with an average and even more limited assortment. Fighting aggregators head-on is Sisyphean labor. There are two strategies: create your own aggregator or promote offers in search through third-party aggregators that have the highest visibility in search.
The number of online advertisers is growing. Search engines are increasing the number of ad units and launching new ad formats in order to maintain competitive auction prices and earn more. In Yandex, for some commercial queries the share of advertisements in search results is over 50%. The search engine places ad units in the most clickable areas of the page so that ad impressions generate more revenue. In Google, the situation is still a little better – for similar queries the share of advertising in search results is about 25%. The abundance of advertising leads to the fact that traffic from regular search decreases.
Search Engines Enter Consumer Markets
Search engines invest in startups and enter consumer markets. Whereas previously companies competed with each other in search, now they have to compete with Yandex.Food, Google.Air tickets, Yandex.Realty, Auto.ru. etc. Yandex says it ranks its own projects on a par with other companies. However, in the ranking we see that the visibility of Yandex projects is lower in Google search and higher in Yandex search. One way or another, the competition in organic search results is intensifying: there are fewer positions, and more strong players. For example, for the same CIAN, the appearance of Yandex.Realty is a serious challenge in the struggle for positions in search and visitors.
How to build an effective growth strategy in a new environment
So, promotion in search engines is still the leader in terms of investment ratio and is effective among other digital marketing channels.
Website optimization is the minimum condition for ranking, but not sufficient to take high positions in the search. Search engine marketing helps to fight for positions – complex work on commercial, behavioral, social, technical and other factors of the site and product of the company.
The role of positions in attracting visitors is decreasing due to high competition, an abundance of advertising, commercial and official services of search engines.
To get the maximum amount of organic traffic from search engines, we must not only comprehensively develop the site, but also ensure the presence of the brand on third-party sites that occupy high positions in the search results.
We call this building brand search space. Its goal is to ensure the maximum number of hits from search engine users.
To summarize the material, here are three components of business success in search:
To take the highest possible positions of the site in the search for commercial and information requests;
Ensure the presence of the company on sites that are highly ranked in search, as well as in the service services of search engines.
Build and test promotion hypotheses faster, using the company’s internal experience and resources and outside knowledge.