If you’re just starting up your business then you want to know exactly where you should be promoting it and creating a website should be an automatic tick in a box, a website can work magic for your business if done correctly.
In a recent survey, 64% of 1,411 local businesses agreed that Google is now becoming their new homepage for local businesses. But because of Google shifting from top benefactor to top competitor by replacing its former ‘free’ publicity instead to paid packs, local service ads, and zero-click SERPs, a lot of business owners are now questioning whether or not is it worth even having a website?
And we only have one answer to that, yes. What we did find surprising though that research undertaken in 2017 found that 45% of small businesses have decided that they don’t need a website, which is completely wrong. You need your website more than ever in 2019.
In this blog, we’ll be looking at why in 2019 businesses need their website more than ever before.
Previously, a Google query would bring up a big pack of ten nearby businesses, with each entry taking the user directly to these brands’ websites for the next steps. This was thanks to a modest amount of marketing effort which was rewarded with a number of Google gifts in the form of rankings, traffic and conversions.
Then these SERPs shrank to seven spots, and then to three. Now there’s a number of layers of Google-owned interfaces which are provided as the option rather than the website itself which makes Google come away from this looking cheap, small and less magnificent compared to what it has been like.
The following are some developments that you may want to consider as to why your website traffic isn’t as fluid as it used to be:
- Zero-click mobile SERPs
Google is providing users with the answers to their queries without having to click into websites to find the answer. It turns out that mobile users experience a 20% increase in delivery of search engine results, which ultimately means that they don’t have to delve any deeper than Google’s own interface, as shown in the image below.
- Paid ads in local packs
This is a relatively new feature but what you can see in some of the SERPs is a local pack ad. This ad sits at the very top of any local results, meaning that it could be taking away business that you may have otherwise have got.
- Voice search is becoming more popular
Consumers can now search without even having to touch a keyboard as almost 50 per cent of searches is done by voice. A lot of businesses are forgetting about this feature and are sticking to the typical way of searching for things, but this cannot be neglected, you’re automatically losing out on 50 per cent of people. With the introduction of Google Home, Amazon Alexa etc. people are using these to find the best option for them.
To meet the requirements of the voice search you have to focus on your keywords, which would hit the mark between 7 and 9 words.
- Google is being called the new homepage for local businesses
As mentioned earlier, 64% of marketers agree that Google is becoming the new homepage for local businesses. Users now use the Google Knowledge Panel to get basic business info, make a phone call, get directions, read microblog posts, read and leave reviews etc. without ever having to click through to your website until they’re fully satisfied.
It’s almost as if Google is making it harder for us to get potential customers to convert. There are a lot more examples we could grab but we can sum it up in one way: none of Google’s recent local initiatives is about driving traffic to the brand’s website.
So much so that local SERPs have shrunk significantly and have been re-engineered to keep users within Google’s platform to ensure they generate maximum revenue for Google and their partners.
So no, it’s not your website underperforming, it’s Google’s recent changes that have caused this irregularity to occur. But, if you still think websites are becoming obsolete, then keep reading.
Your website is your staple
It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Your website can make a huge difference when it comes to traffic and conversions as it can provide that edge you need to encourage others to spend. If your business ranks highly, then it’s going to have a higher associated local pack ranking.
In the image below what you’ll see is that our marketing agency, Wright Angle Marketing, ranks high in searches and also comes up first in Google’s local pack because it’s ahead of any other local marketing agency.
A lot of local businesses are no longer hitting the front page of Google anymore. Local businesses have been pushed down to the second page of organic results to make way for best of websites that people use. What this means, is if these websites were removed, the local-organic correlation would be much higher.
What you should take away from this as a local business is that the zero-click SERPs, paid SERPs and lead gen features are attributing to the fact that traffic to your website has declined, but the free local 3-pack still exists, so it’s best to try to get included in them and the best way to do this is to have the strongest and best-optimised site as possible. Not only that but organic SERPs still remain a substantial source of clicks for any local business.