SearchCap: Google AMP errors, Google My Business messaging and Search Engine Land Awards


Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:

Search News From Around The Web:


About The Author

Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.

Daily News: Google’s Ad Campaign Support, LSA19 Privacy Sessions, Facebook’s Messaging Platforms


Here is today’s roundup of news related to local marketing and advertising, local media, technology, local commerce, consumer behavior and more.

On February 4, Google Will Start Intervening in SEM Campaigns (January 28, 2019)
LSA Insider: “Last week an email went out to an undetermined number of paid-search marketers. It says, “Google Ads experts are identifying key changes that can help you get more out of your ads, from restructuring your ad groups and modifying your keywords to adjusting your bids and updating your ad text”.”

LSA19 Privacy Sessions: What You Need to Know — and Do (Now) (January 28, 2019)
LSA Insider: “Today, January 28, is officially “Data Privacy Day,” which began in 2007 in Europe and in 2008 in the US. Privacy is a topic that many people find confusing or boring. But it’s probably the most important topic facing marketers and brands right now.”

2019 Predictions: Voice Technology Will Become #1 Tool for Consumer Search (January 28, 2019)
LSA Insider: “Voice assistants like Siri and Alexa are becoming the preferred search tool for consumers. In response to that, businesses will need to start adopting strategies to prepare for this shift in voice technology reliance. One strategy we predict will be implemented across brands is Voice Engine Optimization, which refers to a new content marketing strategy to provide these voice assistants with questions and answers that consumers are frequently asking.”

Facebook to Integrate Technical Infrastructure of WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger (January 28, 2019)
Street Fight: “A seemingly strange move at a time when regulators and public opinion are turning sour on the size of big tech, Facebook is at work on a plan to integrate the tech underlying its messaging platforms by the end of 2019 or early 2020, the New York Times reported.”

Playable Ads:  The Next Big Thing for Mobile Advertising? (January 25, 2019)
eMarketer: “”Time is money” has never had more meaning than it does today. The “attention economy” has become another challenge for advertisers—particularly on mobile devices where users have lower tolerances for attention-grabbing ads. But short attention spans may have met their match in playable ads, which embed games or puzzles into ad units.”

Daily News: Facebook’s Brand Safety Certification, Page Load Times, Google Organic Search CTRs


Here is today’s roundup of news related to local marketing and advertising, local media, technology, local commerce, consumer behavior and more.

A Simple Way to Find Co-op Funds You’re Probably Missing (January 25, 2019)
LSA Insider: “There’s an estimated $70 billion in available co-op funds; however, roughly half of that (~$35 billion) goes unused each year. An LSA survey of nearly 200 marketing and media professionals showed that the most common reason or obstacle is showing a client the specific co-op opportunity for them (42%).”

Google Is Increasingly Taking the Reins in Managing Campaigns for Advertisers (January 25, 2019)
Street Fight: “Boosting its appeal beyond the reams of consumer data and stranglehold on search that make its digital advertising business the most expansive in the world, Google is increasingly executing campaigns for advertisers, deploying both automation and its own ad experts to get the job done.”

Millennials Are Using Smartphones More Than PCs for Shopping (January 25, 2019)
Marketing Charts: “The younger generation in the US is well above the average when it comes to mobile shopping. While a little more than half (53%) of all shoppers ages 20-72 years have used a smartphone to shop in the past six months, nearly three-quarters (73%) of Generation Y (ages 29-38) report using their smartphone to shop, per new figures from GfK.”

Facebook’s new brand safety certification promises advertisers more control (January 25, 2019)
Marketing Dive: “Facebook is launching a new brand safety certification within its Facebook Marketing Partners program to help advertisers on the platform review content options and have control over where their ads will appear, the company announced in a blog post.”

Slow pages hurt conversions, but marketers aren’t in a hurry to fix them (January 25, 2019)
Marketing Land: “Load time matters. Beyond the fact that Google has made page speed a mobile ranking factor, consumer behaviors and perceptions are significantly impacted by page load times.”

Data: Google organic search CTRs decline on desktop, see big drop on phones (January 24, 2019)
Search Engine Land: “New data and analysis from SparkToro’s Rand Fishkin and Jumpshot shows the continuing decline of click-through rates (CTRs) on Google search results on desktop and smartphones in both the U.S. and Europe in favor of paid clicks and no-clicks.”

Daily News: Marketing to Millennials, Omnichannel Optimization, LinkedIn Adds Interest Targeting


Here is today’s roundup of news related to local marketing and advertising, local media, technology, local commerce, consumer behavior and more.

2019 Prediction: Google Breaks Down Barrier to Entry for Local Advertisers (January 24, 2019)
LSA Insider: “I think we’re going to see more of Google helping small and local businesses with their online advertising challenges. Small businesses often lack resources and have difficulty in measuring the success of their search campaigns, if direct online conversions aren’t there.”

Marketing to millennials: It’s about loyalty and personalization (January 24, 2019)
MarTech Today: “If you think millennials are the next big thing, you are late to the party. Millennials are the market and are driving disruption for retailers across the globe. Not ones to be shy about their opinions (just type any retailer’s name into Twitter for proof), millennials’ impact on the industry is clear: they are forcing brands to not only understand them but also adapt to their ever-evolving preferences at the snap of a finger.”

Omnichannel Optimization: What’s Changing (and What Isn’t) in Post-Screen Search (January 24, 2019)
Street Fight: “For at least 20 years, local marketing has been present at each stage of the evolution of internet-enabled consumer technologies, from the emergence of the Web in a desktop environment, through the portability revolution (desktops to laptops to smartphones), and onward into the future we are gradually and stutteringly entering with voice, AR, visual search, IoT, and the like.”

LinkedIn Adds Interest Targeting (January 23, 2019)
MediaPost: “Behavior plays a major role in new targeting options on LinkedIn. Microsoft’s social site on Wednesday began allowing marketers to target advertisements based on user interests.”

All advertisers can now buy Google’s 15-second non-skippable video ads (January 23, 2019)
Marketing Land: “Google announced Tuesday that it will make 15-second non-skippable video ads available to all advertisers, not just those buying through the YouTube reservation process and its premium Google Preferred network of top YouTube channels.”

Redirects: One Way to Make or Break Your Site Migration – Whiteboard Friday

Correctly redirecting your URLs is one of the most important things you can do to make a site migration go smoothly, but there are clear processes to follow if you want to get it right. In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Kameron Jenkins breaks down the rules of redirection for site migrations to make sure your URLs are set up for success.


Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, guys. Welcome to this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Kameron Jenkins, and I work here at Moz. What we’re going to be talking about today is redirects and how they’re one way that you can make or break your site migration. Site migration can mean a lot of different things depending on your context.


I wanted to go over quickly what I mean before we dive into some tips for avoiding redirection errors. When I talk about migration, I’m coming from the experience of these primary activities.

CMS moving/URL format

One example of a migration I might be referring to is maybe we’re taking on a client and they previously used a CMS that had a default kind of URL formatting, and it was dated something.


So it was like /2018/May/ and then the post. Then we’re changing the CMS. We have more flexibility with how our pages, our URLs are structured, so we’re going to move it to just /post or something like that. In that way a lot of URLs are going to be moving around because we’re changing the way that those URLs are structured.

“Keywordy” naming conventions

Another instance is that sometimes we’ll get clients that come to us with kind of dated or keywordy URLs, and we want to change this to be a lot cleaner, shorten them where possible, just make them more human-readable.


An example of that would be maybe the client used URLs like /best-plumber-dallas, and we want to change it to something a little bit cleaner, more natural, and not as keywordy, to just /plumbers or something like that. So that can be another example of lots of URLs moving around if we’re taking over a whole site and we’re kind of wanting to do away with those.

Content overhaul

Another example is if we’re doing a complete content overhaul. Maybe the client comes to us and they say, “Hey, we’ve been writing content and blogging for a really long time, and we’re just not seeing the traffic and the rankings that we want. Can you do a thorough audit of all of our content?” Usually what we notice is that you have maybe even thousands of pages, but four of them are ranking.

So there are a lot of just redundant pages, pages that are thin and would be stronger together, some pages that just don’t really serve a purpose and we want to just let die. So that’s another example where we would be merging URLs, moving pages around, just letting some drop completely. That’s another example of migrating things around that I’m referring to.

Don’t we know this stuff? Yes, but…

That’s what I’m referring to when it comes to migrations. But before we dive in, I kind of wanted to address the fact that like don’t we know this stuff already? I mean I’m talking to SEOs, and we all know or should know the importance of redirection. If there’s not a redirect, there’s no path to follow to tell Google where you’ve moved your page to.

It’s frustrating for users if they click on a link that no longer works, that doesn’t take them to the proper destination. We know it’s important, and we know what it does. It passes link equity. It makes sure people aren’t frustrated. It helps to get the correct page indexed, all of those things. So we know this stuff. But if you’re like me, you’ve also been in those situations where you have to spend entire days fixing 404s to correct traffic loss or whatever after a migration, or you’re fixing 301s that were maybe done but they were sent to all kinds of weird, funky places.

Mistakes still happen even though we know the importance of redirects. So I want to talk about why really quickly.

Unclear ownership

Unclear ownership is something that can happen, especially if you’re on a scrappier team, a smaller team and maybe you don’t handle these things very often enough to have a defined process for this. I’ve been in situations where I assumed the tech was going to do it, and the tech assumed that the project assistant was going to do it.

We’re all kind of pointing fingers at each other with no clear ownership, and then the ball gets dropped because no one really knows whose responsibility it is. So just make sure that you designate someone to do it and that they know and you know that that person is going to be handling it.


Another thing is deadlines. Internal and external deadlines can affect this. So one example that I encountered pretty often is the client would say, “Hey, we really need this project done by next Monday because we’re launching another initiative. We’re doing a TV commercial, and our domain is going to be listed on the TV commercial. So I’d really like this stuff wrapped up when those commercials go live.”

So those kind of external deadlines can affect how quickly we have to work. A lot of times it just gets left by the wayside because it is not a very visible thing. If you don’t know the importance of redirects, you might handle things like content and making sure the buttons all work and the template looks nice and things like that, the visible things. Where people assume that redirects, oh, that’s just a backend thing. We can take care of it later. Unfortunately, redirects usually fall into that category if the person doing it doesn’t really know the importance of it.

Another thing with deadlines is internal deadlines. Sometimes maybe you might have a deadline for a quarterly game or a monthly game. We have to have all of our projects done by this date. The same thing with the deadlines. The redirects are usually unfortunately something that tends to miss the cutoff for those types of things.

Non-SEOs handling the redirection

Then another situation that can cause site migration errors and 404s after moving around is non-SEOs handling this. Now you don’t have to be a really experienced SEO usually to handle these types of things. It depends on your CMS and how complicated is the way that you’re implementing your redirects. But sometimes if it’s easy, if your CMS makes redirection easy, it can be treated as like a data entry-type of job, and it can be delegated to someone who maybe doesn’t know the importance of doing all of them or formatting them properly or directing them to the places that they’re supposed to go.

The rules of redirection for site migrations

Those are all situations that I’ve encountered issues with. So now that we kind of know what I’m talking about with migrations and why they kind of sometimes still happen, I’m going to launch into some rules that will hopefully help prevent site migration errors because of failed redirects.

1. Create one-to-one redirects

Number one, always create one-to-one redirects. This is super important. What I’ve seen sometimes is oh, man, it could save me tons of time if I just use a wildcard and redirect all of these pages to the homepage or to the blog homepage or something like that. But what that tells Google is that Page A has moved to Page B, whereas that’s not the case. You’re not moving all of these pages to the homepage. They haven’t actually moved there. So it’s an irrelevant redirect, and Google has even said, I think, that they treat those essentially as a soft 404. They don’t even count. So make sure you don’t do that. Make sure you’re always linking URL to its new location, one-to-one every single time for every URL that’s moving.

2. Watch out for redirect chains

Two, watch out for chains. I think Google says something oddly specific, like watch out for redirect chains, three, no more than five. Just try to limit it as much as possible. By chains, I mean you have URL A, and then you redirect it to B, and then later you decide to move it to a third location. Instead of doing this and going through a middleman, A to B to C, shorten it if you can. Go straight from the source to the destination, A to C.

3. Watch out for loops

Three, watch out for loops. Similarly what can happen is you redirect position A to URL B to another version C and then back to A. What happens is it’s chasing its tail. It will never resolve, so you’re redirecting it in a loop. So watch out for things like that. One way to check those things I think is a nifty tool, Screaming Frog has a redirect chains report. So you can see if you’re kind of encountering any of those issues after you’ve implemented your redirects.

4. 404 strategically

Number four, 404 strategically. The presence of 404s on your site alone, that is not going to hurt your site’s rankings. It is letting pages die that were ranking and bringing your site traffic that is going to cause issues. Obviously, if a page is 404ing, eventually Google is going to take that out of the index if you don’t redirect it to its new location. If that page was ranking really well, if it was bringing your site traffic, you’re going to lose the benefits of it. If it had links to it, you’re going to lose the benefits of that backlink if it dies.

So if you’re going to 404, just do it strategically. You can let pages die. Like in these situations, maybe you’re just outright deleting a page and it has no new location, nothing relevant to redirect it to. That’s okay. Just know that you’re going to lose any of the benefits that URL was bringing your site.

5. Prioritize “SEO valuable” URLs

Number five, prioritize “SEO valuable” URLs, and I do that because I prefer to obviously redirect everything that you’re moving, everything that’s legitimately moving.

But because of situations like deadlines and things like that, when we’re down to the wire, I think it’s really important to at least have started out with your most important URLs. So those are URLs that are ranking really well, giving you a lot of good traffic, URLs that you’ve earned links to. So those really SEO valuable URLs, if you have a deadline and you don’t get to finish all of your redirects before this project goes live, at least you have those most critical, most important URLs handled first.

Again, obviously, it’s not ideal, I don’t think in my mind, to save any until after the launch. Obviously, I think it’s best to have them all set up by the time it goes live. But if that’s not the case and you’re getting rushed and you have to launch, at least you will have handled the most important URLs for SEO value.

6. Test!

Number six, just to end it off, test. I think it’s super important just to monitor these things, because you could think that you have set these all up right, but maybe there were some formatting errors, or maybe you mistakenly redirected something to the wrong place. It is super important just to test. So what you can do, you can do a and just start clicking on all the results that come up and see if any are redirecting to the wrong place, maybe they’re 404ing.

Just checking all of those indexed URLs to make sure that they’re going to a proper new destination. I think Moz’s Site Crawl is another huge benefit here for testing purposes. What it does, if you have a domain set up or a URL set up in a campaign in Moz Pro, it checks this every week, and you can force another run if you want it to.

But it will scan your site for errors like this, 404s namely. So if there are any issues like that, 500 or 400 type errors, Site Crawl will catch it and notify you. If you’re not managing the domain that you’re working on in a campaign in Moz Pro, there’s on-demand crawl too. So you can run that on any domain that you’re working on to test for things like that.

There are plenty of other ways you can test and find errors. But the most important thing to remember is just to do it, just to test and make sure that even once you’ve implemented these things, that you’re checking and making sure that there are no issues after a launch. I would check right after a launch and then a couple of days later, and then just kind of taper off until you’re absolutely positive that everything has gone smoothly.

So those are my tips, those are my rules for how to implement redirects properly, why you need to, when you need to, and the risks that can happen with that. If you have any tips of your own that you’d like to share, pop them in the comments and share it with all of us in the SEO community. That’s it for this week’s Whiteboard Friday.

Come back again next week for another one. Thanks, everybody.

Video transcription by

Why SEO Is Important: 8 Undeniable Facts and Case Studies

Did you know that there are 3.5 billion searches performed every day on Google? That means that no matter your line of work, people are searching for your business online.

The above is true even if you’re a teeny tiny business.

Every month, 600 potential customers search for “plumber san jose”:


Screenshot via Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

But even for this super specific query, there’s actually a lot of competition. Look how many search results Google returns for that term.


I’ll tell you now: only a handful of those ~4.1m businesses are even visible. The rest are tucked away in the safest spot for hiding a dead body—the second page of Google, and beyond.

What makes the difference between total obscurity and ranking for a keyword that sends you customers on autopilot?

SEO. Search engine optimization. The process of proving to Google that your page is the best, most relevant result for a particular query.

You see:

Choosing just one page of results from 4 million options is a tough job for any machine, even Google.

To decide, it looks at factors like the words you use in your content, your content’s structure, and where else it is referenced on the web.

Nail these factors, and you’ve won a constant organic source of leads courtesy of the world’s largest search engine.

5 reasons you need SEO to survive and thrive

What exactly can you expect if you start putting effort into SEO? How can you be sure it’ll be worth the investment?

I bet you’ve heard myths that need busting, and have a ton of questions about what’s in it for your business.

Ok. Hold my can of link juice. I’m going in.

1. 90.88% of pages are invisible in Google

Last year, we studied almost a billion web pages to see how many of them are totally invisible—i.e., receive no organic search traffic whatsoever.


Do you want to be in that invisible ~91%?

Without SEO—a big part of which is earning links from unique websites (referring domains) to your site’s content—it’s likely where you’ll end up.


If you’re sitting at the intersection of 0 and 0 in that chart, it’s not where you want to stay. Organic traffic comes from your site ranking for keywords in search, and you usually need at least some referring domains to do that.



Correlation ≠ causation. However, we know that Google’s ranking algorithm relies heavily on backlinks and always has done. Read our post on PageRank to learn more.

What this shows is that SEO best practices—e.g., link building—are crucial if you want more traffic from Google.

Check out some of the posts below to learn how to build more links.

Further reading

2. Organic search is the solution to the “flatline of nope”

PPC and other marketing tactics can send traffic, but as soon as you stop investing your time, effort or money in them, traffic fades to nothing.

Rand Fishkin calls this the spike of hope followed by the flatline of nope.


Now, take a look at traffic to our keyword research guide:


You can see that there is still a spike of hope (Two, actually. One when we originally published it, and one when we completely rewrote it in April 2017.) These are the result of us promoting the article to our audience.

But there’s no flatline of nope. That’s because the article ranks in Google for some super‐relevant and high‐volume terms.


Via the Organic keywords report in Ahrefs Site Explorer

In other words, organic traffic has staying power. It’s sustainable!

But you could also say that about PPC, right? I mean you could just pay for Google Adwords ads in the long‐term and continue to attract traffic from Google. True, but there’s a big caveat that we’ll talk about in point #5.

Back to SEO

Organic traffic is sustainable as long as you target a topic with organic search traffic potential. I.e., a topic that people are searching for, month after month, in Google.

Let’s assume that you worked hard to rank #1 for how content marketing drives sales. Well, I’m afraid you wouldn’t get any organic traffic because this keyword has almost no search volume.


Now, I know what you might be thinking: “But don’t pages rank for a lot of different keywords these days? What about the long‐tail?”

Yes, that’s true. In fact, we found that on average, the #1 ranking page for a keyword also ranks for ~1,000 other keywords.


But although this is true, in this instance the topic still has almost no traffic potential. We can confirm this by scrolling down to the SERP overview.


You can see that none of the top‐ranking pages get much traffic or rank for many other keywords.

Contrast that with best laptop bags for women.

Not only does it have a decent search volume:


But traffic potential is even bigger. Pages that rank for this keyword get up to ~14,000 monthly views:


Bottom line: In order to avoid the flatnote of nope, SEO is important, which also means making sure to target a keyword with search traffic potential.

Learn more in our full guide to keyword research.

3. SEO lets you nurture and convert leads at specific stages of the buying cycle

Many of your prospects almost certainly turn to Google when they have a problem.

But the way they express it might be different depending on how aware they are of their own problem and the available solutions.

Let’s say you have a product that helps businesses with outbound sales emailing. At the first stage of their journey, your now‐naive prospect might be using search to figure out the scope of their problem, with terms like:

  • why do emails from me end up in spam
  • sales email subject lines
  • check if email was opened

A couple of weeks later, this same searcher has heard about sales automation in an article they found, and realized a product exists that can send deliverable emails, check open rates, and more!

Now they’re narrowing their research. They’re at a different stage of the buyer’s journey, searching terms like ‘best sales outreach tools’, or even for brand names and specific technical features.

At each stage, there’s an opportunity to write and rank content that addresses a wide array of questions and concerns:


If you can rank strategically for content that answers very specific enquiries—the kind that you know your customers have, and search for—then it’s as if you magically show up every step of the way and cement your brand into your prospects’ minds.

Often, these specific lifecycle‐dependent queries that I’m talking about (like “compare microsoft office 365 features and g suite”) don’t have a whole ton of search traffic by themselves, but make up the vast majority of the kinds of searches performed online.

Check this, for instance:


What that chart tells us is that over 92% of searches are for keywords that have a monthly search volume of less than 10. This huge slice of pie is where you can get a lot of SEO value.

Check out these super‐specific queries relating to New York real estate below. Many of them represent small but high‐converting pockets of leads, and reveal the desires of the market. Each one could be the target keyword for a page or post on a site from the right industry.

When you create content that addresses the buyer’s need at their specific journey stage, that usually means it is more relevant to their interests. The result? You’re able to unlock the potential of these crucial moments in the buyer’s journey with SEO.

Now I know what you’re thinking-“I could do this with PPC. I don’t need SEO to nurture my prospects at the various stages of their buying cycle.”

True. But here’s the thing:

Most clicks overwhelmingly go to organic results, and in my experience, this is especially true for informational searches—which make up the majority of the keywords you’ll likely be targeting, at least with the Tofu and MoFu content in your marketing funnel.

So, even if you have an unlimited Google AdWords budget (I’m sure you don’t), you ain’t going to get anywhere near as much traffic from bidding on certain keywords as you would from ranking organically for those same keywords.

4. Your competitors are already stealing your business by doing it.

Whether you’re an internet business or local store, if you’re not on Google for your niche’s top keywords, then you can guarantee that someone else is.

If you’re just running social ads or trying to get distribution from Twitter, then you can also guarantee that your competitors are eclipsing you where it matters.

Look at this research from BrightEdge:

51 percent of all website traffic comes from organic search, 10 percent from paid search, 5 percent for social, and 34 percent from all other sources

Yep, that’s right.

SEO is 10x more effective than social media. It is responsible for 51% of website traffic, and generates 40% of revenue.

Even ranking partway down page one can mean that your competitors are still stealing the majority of your business because the #1 result almost always gets the vast majority of total clicks.

But if you do happen to rank #1, then that’s the majority of everyone looking for say ‘san jose plumber’ finding you. If we assume 30% of clicks go to the #1 result (which isn’t particularly abnormal), that equals around 200 visitors a month if we look back at the keyword’s volume earlier in the post (600 monthly searches).

If you’re at the bottom of the result, it might only mean a couple of new leads monthly. That’s why it’s essential to start now.

The uneven playing field you’re on right now is not necessarily a bad thing, because you can learn from competitors and replicate their strategies.

The first step is to find your competitors. Not sure who they are? Try this:

Site Explorer > enter your domain > Competing domains


In this report, you will see a list of websites that are competing with yours in the search results.

From here, you can check where each domain gets it backlinks. This will help you draw up a list of targets—if a domain links to a competitor, it’s likely they’re willing to link to you, too.


(Read our full guide on this technique here.)

Competitor analysis gives you insight into what keywords are working well for similar businesses and where they get their backlinks, but it’s also a way to steal back traffic and knock your competition down the ranks.

There’s only a limited amount of space on the first page of Google. Think of the first page of results like a pie of potential customers. How will you and your competition divide it up? It’s not like there are 10 equal slices. The #1 result gets the biggest slice of pie (about a third of it!), the #2 result gets the second biggest, and so on.

Want to steal customers from your competitors? You need a bigger slice of the pie.

5. Paid search gets as low as 6% of the clicks for a keyword.

Let’s have a look at some examples. Who’s actually clicking on paid searches, compared to organic?

Take the keyword “auto ac repair”:

In this example you can see the distribution of all clicks across paid and organic searches. These figures, based on real user behaviour, show a clear dominance of organic clicks.

How about another, like “insulation installation”:


Another strong win for organic at 85% of total clicks against paid search’s 15%.


These estimates are calculated on a keyword‐by‐keyword basis, and are derived from clickstream data.

So it would seem that simply paying your way to the top just doesn’t cut it when it comes to Google’s search results—and there are plenty of statistics to support that. That particular study states that most people will ignore paid searches completely, opting for organic results almost all (94%) of the time.

Here’s a different 2018 study that shows a similar—but not identical—stat. 71.33% of clicks go to the top 10 organic results on average:


Looking further into this, it can be seen that the second and third pages receive an additional combined 5.59% of total clicks.

What do we have left? A generous (compared to the above statistic of 6%) 15% of total traffic going to paid search.

These studies clearly indicate that holding a long‐term organic position on the first page of Google’s search engine results directly impacts your capacity to benefit from organic traffic.

Look at PPC and organic SEO as two sides of the same coin. They’re both a way to appear prominently for the terms your customers are searching. They’re both effective at nurturing leads and converting them to customers. However, SEO is a tactic that doesn’t need a long‐term budget in order to keep bringing in value.


You will still need to invest some time, effort and resources into SEO in the long‐term. But unlike PPC, traffic won’t drop the second you cut ad spend.

Ranking well for organic searches also suggests to your customers that you are a leader in your niche, and can do wonders for improving brand credibility and reputation.

3 Case Studies That Prove The Insane Value of SEO

So far, we’ve been talking in grand statistics and generalities. What about some concrete examples you can use for inspiration?

Your wish is my command.

1. 121,883 unique visitors—from scratch in less than 6 months

Before implementing an SEO strategy, Swedish Fintech company Northmill had just 127 total views on a piece of informational content about tax returns. The content they wanted their audience to see was practically invisible, and anyone who did see it wasn’t converting.

After research revealed untapped keywords, Northmill optimized their content to match the terms their prospects actually search for, and saw their rankings spike.

Here’s a historical chart from Ahrefs Site Explorer that shows the impact of their focus on SEO:


While the chart represents the whole domain’s traffic from organic keywords (the URL doesn’t exist anymore), you can see how much of a difference a SEO can make.

With the informational post suddenly getting thousands of views per day, Northmill added a better way to capture leads.


This simple call‐to‐action led to almost 300 new customers for Northmill. The company’s search optimization landed them in the top 3 search spots for keywords totalling over 50,000 monthly searches, and a lot of instantly measurable business value, too.

  • 1,415,825 total impressions in the SERP
  • 121,883 total unique visits
  • 700 clicks on overlay
  • 287 new customers

Read the in‐depth case study here.

2. Organic traffic increased by 11,065% in just 6 months

Robbie Richards published this case study detailing how he helped UAV Coach achieve a #1 spot in Google, outrank big name brands like Mashable, and increase organic traffic by 11,065% in just 6 months using a 6‐step SEO methodology.

He was able to do this in a niche industry without spending any money at all on paid advertising or link building.

Basically, he knew he needed to build an SEO centered strategy based on evergreen content that would help generate long‐term exposure, position the brand as an authority in the industry, capture leads, and ultimately convert them into paying customers.

The first post for this campaign, and the focus of this case study, is a 4,400 word guide to safely piloting a remote control quadcopter.

This article ranks #1 for its target keyword “how to fly a quadcopter” as well as over 2,700 secondary keywords:


In the first 6 months, the post brought in 21.4% of UAV Coach’s total traffic:


It also captured 2,335 emails, making it a prime lead generation asset for the business.

With strategic keyword research and competitor analysis, Robbie was able to stay ahead of the game and reap the rewards of SEO.

The same SEO strategy applied across several posts on the site led to:

  • 152,732 organic page views after the first 6 months
  • 2,335 leads generated
  • 21.4% of the website’s total traffic

Read the in‐depth case study here.

3. Increase blog traffic by 1,136% and get thousands of customers

The Ahrefs blog wasn’t always popular.

Back when CMO and Product Advisor, Tim Soulo joined in 2015, it had about 15K visits per month, and despite publishing 3 new articles every week, traffic was plateauing.

Long story short, Tim made the decision to focus on quality over quantity and realized the power in content marketing. As of today, we publish ~2 posts per week and blog traffic has grown tenfold.


A big part of this success story is the focus we put on organic search traffic.

What does that mean? It means we choose to prioritize content people are actually searching for on a consistent basis, as opposed to one‐shot hot topic articles.

This approach ensures a steady stream of traffic from organic search.

Take a look at this graph illustrating the potential of building content around high search traffic:


How do we do this? Well, there are four primary criteria we list in the case study as contributing to the success of the blog:

  • ONLY publish content with organic search traffic potential
  • ONLY publish content with high “business potential”
  • ONLY publish content that is high‐quality and unique
  • DO NOT stop promoting your content until you reach your goal

If these criteria are not met, then no amount of promotion will ever achieve desired results.

Read the in‐depth case study here.

Key takeaways

Organic search is where your audience is already looking. If you’re not there, your leads are finding your competitors instead.

A good place to start? Understanding where your competitors are getting their organic traffic.

Site Explorer makes finding this data a 10‐second job.

Site Explorer > enter a competing site > Organic keywords


The fact that 91% of pages on the internet get no organic traffic means that you get the leg up on your competitors the moment you start making an impact with your SEO efforts.

Convinced and looking to get started? Check out our guide on learning SEO. 🙂

Daily News: SMBs & DIY Digital Marketing, Why Shoppers Abandon Carts, Accelerated Mobile Pages


Here is today’s roundup of news related to local marketing and advertising, local media, technology, local commerce, consumer behavior and more.

Why Do Most SMBs DIY Their Own Digital Marketing? (January 23, 2019)
LSA Insider: “Of the roughly 28 million small businesses (SMBs) in the US, how many are trying to DIY their own digital marketing? The answer is: most of them.”

Study: Less than 10% of SMBs ‘Extremely Marketing Savvy’ but 95% DIY (January 23, 2019)
LSA Insider: “There have been many discussions on this blog related to do-it-yourself (DIY) digital marketing within the small and medium-sized business (SMB) population. From exploring the motivations behind the desire to DIY, to how these efforts translate (or don’t) to actual business results, these discussions have all led to a similar conclusion: DIY isn’t an effective marketing strategy for SMBs.”

Amazon adds customer acquisition metrics for display, video, Sponsored Brands campaigns (January 22, 2019)
Marketing Land: “The “new-to-brand” set of metrics are aimed at helping brands understand how well their campaigns convert first-time buyers.”

Choking At Checkout: Why Shoppers Abandon Carts (January 22, 2019)
MediaPost: “Here’s the answer to one of the biggest questions in digital marketing: why consumers abandon carts. It’s no small problem, given that the desktop abandonment rate ranges between 78% and 82%, according to a new study by Metrical and Skava.”

Accelerated mobile pages: Are they worth it? (January 22, 2019)
Search Engine Land: “An update on where Google’s AMP project stands today offers insight into whether it’s worth adopting for your own website right now.”

Why Do Most SMBs DIY Their Own Digital Marketing?


Of the roughly 28 million small businesses (SMBs) in the US, how many are trying to DIY their own digital marketing? The answer is: most of them.

A recent LSA report (commissioned by Mono), revealed the marketing and software products SMBs purchased directly from the service provider’s website or app. Overwhelmingly, the most common self-provisioned item was website domains (50%). Rounding out the top five were website builders (37%), social advertising (29%), email marketing (18%), SEO (16%) and booking (14%). However, more than 25% reported not purchasing any the items listed.

When asked the primary reason for purchasing these products directly, 50% of SMBs said because they were free/less expensive. Additionally, 37% said they would prefer to not deal with salespeople, 29% had no other option, 26% said it was faster/easier and 18% said the process was simple.

Given the limited budgets of many SMBs, it’s no surprise that cost was the most influential factor in the decision-making process. Most small businesses also lack other resources like available staff and free time, which explains and supports several of the other answers.

This data comes from the LSA report Meet the New Small Business SaaS Customer. To access the graphic above, click here.

Study: Less than 10% of SMBs ‘Extremely Marketing Savvy’ but 95% DIY


There have been many discussions on this blog related to do-it-yourself (DIY) digital marketing within the small and medium-sized business (SMB) population. From exploring the motivations behind the desire to DIY, to how these efforts translate (or don’t) to actual business results, these discussions have all led to a similar conclusion: DIY isn’t an effective marketing strategy for SMBs.

Yet DIY is arguably the biggest competitor any SMB digital marketing provider faces in the market. When we consider the fact that, according to latest Small Business Administration (SBA) figures, there are roughly 24 million non-employer firms and 5.2 million businesses with 1-20 employees, we see just how large the SMB space is and why overcoming the challenge of DIY is important.

A 2018 survey of over 1,000 SMBs by Constant Contact found that 95% do some form of marketing themselves yet only 46% consider themselves “marketing savvy.” Only 9% said they were “extremely marketing savvy.” This suggests that while SMBs recognize their digital marketing shortcomings, they DIY anyway.

In terms of the channels used, Constant Contact found the following were the top five overall:

  • 42% – Email Marketing
  • 39% – Online advertising
  • 39% – Promotions on their business’ homepage
  • 37% – Social media advertising and paid social content
  • 33% – Customer review collection

The 95% figure parallels another study which put the DIY segment at around 97%, though LSA surveys put the number closer to 70%. These various studies reveal what might be called “the DIY mentality.” There are six primary factors driving DIY:

  1. Save Money: The sole-proprietor or very small business often don’t have the budget to pay for a provider to manage digital marketing efforts or isn’t willing to spend on these efforts. Additionally, self-serve tools are making it easier to cost-effectively build websites, run ads and do other important marketing work.
  2. Failure of Previous Providers: Many small businesses have been burned by over-promising marketing providers that end up costing a lot of money without delivering the results the SMB was promised.
  3. Perception of Channel Inefficacy: In the self-serve ad buying context, some small businesses have executed campaigns with little-to-no impact on key business indicators. This, for some, was perceived as a failure of the channel vs. the more likely scenario of poor campaign optimization on behalf of the SMB.
  4. Complacency: One study that explored the DIY mindset found that many SMBs felt that their DIY digital marketing was simply “good enough” for what they needed/wanted.
  5. The Entrepreneurial Spirit: While not referenced in any specific study, my experience with various small business owners has been that they simply have a strong desire to “own” every aspect of their business. Additionally, some are creatively skilled and/or have a passion for the creativity associated with marketing, which motivates them to DIY.
  6. Digital Marketing Is ‘Non-Essential’: After investing in all the tools, employees, real estate, products, etc., that come with starting a business, marketing becomes an added expense. DIY is far more attractive after sinking thousands into a business.

Another factor behind DIY marketing is the shifting demographics of SMB owners. According to Pew, 10,000 Americans turn the traditional retirement age (65) every day until 2030, making way for a new, digital-native generation of business owners. This group will have grown up with digital and may be at once more DIY capable but perhaps also more open to professional support.

Part of the challenge for SMB marketing services providers is educating customers and building trust. These are long-existing problems that nobody has fully solved.