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Organic search visits from Google are reportedly down compared to last year, while organic visits from DuckDuckGo are up significantly.
Merkle’s digital marketing report for Q2 2023 shows that Google’s organic search visits are down 8% from the same time period in 2023.
Organic visits from Bing and Yahoo are down as well, with declines of 26% and 11% respectively.
The only major search engine to deliver organic search visit growth last quarter is DuckDuckGo, with 49% more visits overall.
Looking at mobile visits specifically, DuckDuckGo is up 64% year-over-year. DuckDuckGo’s growth in mobile search was so strong that its organic search share on mobile has doubled from 0.3% to 0.6%.
Despite Google’s lack of growth in organic search visits, it still managed to gain 1% organic search visit share last quarter.
However, that appears to be at the expense of Bing losing 1% of its organic search visit share.
Now that we’ve looked at specific search engines, here’s a look at the overall organic search market in Q2 2023.Organic Search in Q2 2023
Organic search produced 23% of all site visits in Q2 2023.
Total visits produced by organic search fell 6% year-over-year in Q2 2023, which is down even further from a 2% decline in Q1 2023.
Organic search visits were down across all devices but especially so on mobile phones, where visit growth dropped from 13% in Q1 2023 to 5% in Q2 2023.
Data shows that paid search visits on phones could be cutting into organic visits. Phones and tablets produced 59% of organic search visits in Q2 2023, compared to 65% of paid search visits.
According to Merkle, this was the weakest rate of growth for phone organic search since mid-2024.
The two biggest share gainers in Q2 2023 were paid search and direct site visits.
For more data, download the full report here.
You're reading Google Is Reportedly Delivering Less Organic Search Traffic Than Last Year
SEO and content work, when at its best, provides a provably positive return-on-investment (ROI).
Predicting the ROI, however, can be difficult.
Some sites will try to project potential ROI for ranking in Google Search by looking at what ranking improvements mean in dollars and cents.
Looking for a method of determining the ROI of your content and SEO initiatives? Read on to learn more.Two Assumptions First
One way to estimate the potential value of a ranking improvement in real dollars is to project how much it might cost to acquire the same traffic with paid search.
Using this type of metric brings a few assumptions into the picture when making predictions.Assumption 1: Paid Search Provides a Neutral or Positive ROI
If you help a client get 500 new users per month for a particular keyword, and that keyword has a CPC of $3, you could estimate these ranking changes create $1,500 per month in value.
Over the year, $18,000 of value would be created by this ranking change.
Here, you’d be using the CPC for the keyword as a proxy for its value to your client.
In truth, the client:
Might never see a positive ROI bidding such a rate for that keyword.
Or might gain a positive ROI bidding on that keyword with an even higher value.
This uncertainty limits how accurate you might be in predicting the value of influencing rankings for a particular keyword, but it provides a place to start and with estimations that can be helpful.
In order to predict how ranking increases might impact search traffic, there are a few approaches you can take.
There’s even data for CTRs across different industries.
If you want to know what traffic increases might be if you move a client from Position 8 to Position 3 on Google Search, you can calculate this as a function like so:
This calculation also assumes that search volume estimations are accurate, as reported by tools. If the client has reliable and detailed analytics, it may be possible to make much more informed calculations here.
Search results are increasingly complicated, which presents a range of problems. Result pages are no longer a list of 10 links.
Fortunately, you can isolate data to find the percentage of search results for any given domain that has results with alternative SERPs – which might include featured snippets, knowledge panels, video, local results, etc.
This data can help you more accurately project final growth possibilities, even if it does mean leaving out some keywords or manually reviewing certain SERPs to adjust best-guess CTRs if ranking improvements are achieved.
Despite these potential inaccuracies, collecting and analyzing this data allows you to move forward with rough calculations.
If a client can provide data about revenue and traffic volume via analytics – even at a high level – it’s possible to derive ratios that help you predict by what margin your calculations might be off.Calculating the Current Value of Traffic
Another way to gather similar data and develop calculations is to use a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs.
This software provides an aggregate estimation of the value of search traffic for any domain, as well as per-ranking calculations when query results are exported.
This calculation is likely derived as described in the above section:
Estimating CPC multiplied by the overall search volume.
Then making estimations about a site’s predicted total organic traffic and summing the values for each ranking keyword.
Let’s look at chúng tôi as an example. (I am not affiliated with Bankrate in any way.)
If you estimate the CPC value for each keyword chúng tôi ranks for, then multiply that by the estimated volume of organic traffic it receives for each keyword, the total value would equal around $35 million per month.
In other words, if chúng tôi were to pay for all its organic traffic (the same volume) in paid search, they’d need to spend $35 million per month!Setting Appropriate Goals Look at Recent Ranking Losses
When engaging with a new client, your goal is to provide as much immediate value as possible. This often means looking for “low hanging fruit” or opportunities to make provably positive ROI quickly.
One way to identify low hanging opportunities is to identify those keywords where ranking losses have occurred recently and to find ways to restore or break beyond previously held higher ranks.
Data from SEMrush or Ahrefs can be segmented to show keywords that have lost rankings over the past month.
You can extrapolate the value of these traffic losses in totality, grouped by URL, and also by individual keyword.Look for Keywords and Pages with the Largest Recent Drops
If you look at the keyword rankings chúng tôi lost in the past month, organized by those that had the largest potential revenue hit, you get this.
Looking at this data, you see that a ranking loss from Position 1 to 2 for these keywords resulted in over $100,000 per month in losses.
This could mean a million or more dollars in revenue over the course of a year.
One thing to consider in the above scenario is that you’re looking quickly at rankings for individual keywords attached to individual URLs.
You can take this a step further by analyzing what the net ranking losses are for pages across the domain.
This can allow you to find those URLs whose ranking dips brought the largest overall potential revenue loss. It also gives you a better picture of:
What those losses (and gains) look like across all the keywords each individual page ranks for.
How those fluctuations impact the business in aggregate.
It’s possible that some of the largest keyword ranking losses are also happening on pages that had the highest-ranking gains (for other keywords).
Your task is to find pages that used to do well across a keyword set, helping you narrow down pages/topics/content that can be made more robust to improve rankings.
By then looking at what these losses mean in real dollars, you can set goals that you tie back to expected ROI.
When communicating with a client, you can frame recommended tactics around these pages as work to stem losses that might continue without intervention.
Especially in highly competitive verticals, there can be an arms race for the top-ranking spots, which necessitates constant investment on key pages and topical sectors to maintain rank.Go After Keywords Within Striking Distance
In setting goals with ROI in mind, one tactic can be to examine those keywords and their associated pages that are within striking distance to the top ranking – pages that rank lower on the first page and are capable of reaching Position 1.
You can segment your data to show you what the potential revenue gains might be if these select keywords were to gain top rankings.
This investment will typically be a function of content improvements, UI/UX improvements, and link building. Budget can be set by understanding what your return will be if you achieve your goal.
You can also do this same calculation but grouped by page, which will allow you to have a rough estimation of which pages might benefit most from continued improvement and authority building.
The end goal of this type of top-level, page-specific calculation is to identify pages whose upward mobility can have the greatest impact value-wise. It can also hint at where improving authority and earning links could have the biggest impact.Investigating Links
Links are highly important to establishing or maintaining the authority of a page. This is especially true for competitive topics and keywords sets.
Knowing that part of your prescription to stimulate growth will include earning links and building authority, it can be very helpful to know which pages are experiencing a loss of linking root domains when setting goals with ROI in mind.
There is a direct correlation to loss of unique linking domains and the loss of traffic or hard-earned rankings. This is especially true for those with ULDs with high authority.
When you find the pages that have seen a loss of links and are also important to a client’s site monetarily, you can set goals for improving that page.
Developing more robust content to enable new links for these pages is the straightforward way to improve your rank.
You can also then make estimations about the value that will be created as a result of ranking improvements. This is helpful in setting budgets for link acquisition and content development targeted at specific pages or topical categories.
There are two ways you can go about finding pages that are having issues with link attrition.Method 1: Referring Domain Totals
Tools like Ahrefs can provide you with URL-specific data about referring domain totals.
This data is updated frequently and you are able to collect daily link counts for at least a year.
In most applications, you examine unique linking domain counts for each URL in a site over two, six, and eight months, respectively.
By plotting each unique linking domain count over a time period, you can perform a linear regression on the data.
You can then obtain a trend of the data points, which allows you to sort and compare the upward or downward link-count trajectories of each page on a domain.
Because you also have data about which pages produce the most potential revenue in dollars for a client, you can organize your data to filter the most impactful pages.
This allows you to isolate from your data a select group of pages that have lost significant link volume and whose positioning and ranking are also highly important to the financial productivity of the website.
Here is an example of the plotted unique linking domains (ULD) counts and the corresponding linear regression:Method 2: High-Value Pages
Another method you can use to identify pages that have had significant attrition of authority is to look at the aggregate value that a link has, or as it’s commonly called, link equity.
In the same way as before, you can look through the data to identify key pages that have high value (bring in top dollars) but that have had (or will have) a likely degradation of their overall domain authority (DA).
You can get this data with tools provided by Ahrefs.
In this instance, instead of looking at the slope of the overall total ULD trajectory (positive or negative and to what degree) like you did in method 1, you can sum the DA of new and lost links to a page to predict if a page has or will soon be impacted by large aggregate changes to their perceived authority because of the changes to the link portfolio.
For example, a given high-value page might have 50 ULDs. Perhaps the distribution of DA for links pointing to that page is 5% with a DA of over 60, with even distribution of other DA links.
It’s important for you to know if high DA links are gained or lost, as they could have an inordinately strong impact on the overall authority of the page.
Your approach then is to average the DA gained and lost over various time periods. When you see high average losses, you can identify those pages that could benefit from regaining some of the strong links they may have lost.
You can also identify pages that may soon take ranking hits as a result of lost, high-authority links.
Note: Averaging the DA of inbound links is slightly more complicated than a normal averaging scenario because DA is a logarithmic scale. In other words, a DA 90 link is not the same value as nine DA 10 links.
In order to get a rough average of the trajectory of gained or lost DA for a page, you collect the incremental new and lost links, their respective DA, and then find the average of these logarithmic values.
You do this while consuming API data from Ahrefs using Python’s NumPy library, which makes averaging these log values fairly straight forward.
In the end, you can identify pages that have lost a significant volume of links or have a link attrition trajectory that corresponds to ranking losses.
You can also understand which pages have lost highly-valuable links, or in aggregate terms, have lost more total DA as the result of changes in their link profile.
It’s surprising that some pages that have a positive growth trajectory when looking at total unique linking domains. But, when you see the quality of those unique linking domains, you find that higher volumes of new links aren’t making up for losses of higher-value links for the same page.The ROI of Ranking in Google Search
We’ll never be able to measure ROI of ranking in Google search down to the dollar.
However, using these strategies, you can clearly illustrate the value of prioritizing organic search, especially in a relative way.
Use these methods to justify your spend, adapt your budgets for the future, and highlight your past successes.
All screenshots taken by author, September 2023
LinkedIn is seeing a surge in content creation and consumption, and engagement between users is up as well.
Srividya Gopani, Director of Brand and Consumer Marketing at LinkedIn, tells Social Samosa that members have been using their time during lockdown to push their professional lives forward.
Gopani goes on to state that content creation is up 60% year-over-year on LinkedIn.
Users are spending their time on the network offering guidance, looking jobs and internships, and staying connected with other professionals to help each other out.
Time spent with LinkedIn’s online learning courses is also up, Gopani says, with 4 million hours of watch time in March alone.
”As the world’s largest professional network, we are recognising that we are uniquely positioned to encourage members to build the right expertise, gain relevant skills and knowledge, and make the right connections at this time.”
Source: Social Samosa
Related: LinkedIn Engagement Up 76% for ‘Work From Home’ ContentKey Trends on LinkedIn Right Now
For more insights on what types of content LinkedIn members are creating and consuming right now, let’s look to a report published by the company this week.
The report states:
“Now is the time for technology companies to share how they’re leading through change and guiding businesses through to recovery. On LinkedIn, we’re seeing a surge of content across various technology subjects that reflect today’s evolving world of work.”
LinkedIn specifically highlights spikes in engagement on articles mentioning the following topics:
Business continuity (up 144%)
Cloud services (up 78%)
Video streaming (up 71%)
Cybersecurity (up 66%)
Remote working (up 52%)
Virtual reality (up 50%)
The hashtags #Marketing and #Leadership rank in the top five hashtags on LinkedIn as of April 2023.
As it relates to small-to-medium sized businesses, the following topics are generating the most engagement:
Related: How to Completely Set up & Optimize Your LinkedIn Company PageLinkedIn Flooded With Remote Work Content
Unsurprisingly, the topic of remote working is seeing the greatest surge in content creation. Articles mentioning remote working are up 391%.
There’s a clear demand for this content as well. That’s demonstrated not only by the engagement rate, but the increase in people searching for remote working.
LinkedIn is seeing over 3 times as many searches for “remote working.”
As the number of articles on remote working continues to rise, it perhaps won’t be long before engagement starts to taper off.
Unless you have something unique to say about remote working, it may be worth considering other options.
Related: 5 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Power Your BusinessOther Content Opportunities
According to LinkedIn’s report, it looks like the strongest content opportunity right now is in a
rticles mentioning video streaming.
The growth in creation of these articles is being outpaced by the growth in engagement.
That suggests there’s more of an opportunity for your content to stand out compared to writing about a more oversaturated topic.
For more insights such as these, see LinkedIn’s full report here.
There might be an assumption that a beautiful link profile means instant rankings and huge organic traffic, but there is a truth that plagues many large organizations that prevents them from leveraging the asset of a high domain authority website.
That is, leadership that doesn’t see the value in spending tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars to transform their website in order to effectively leverage their domain authority.
This case study aims to give digital marketers and SEOs ammunition to take to their clients or senior leaders and show how this investment can fundamentally change an organization’s success. This is not rocket science. It is simply doing the right thing with the right people and the right research. I am not promising identical results, but I can promise that the return will be worth it.The Results
Watching website traffic explode as a digital marketer is kind of like a pitcher getting home run during a baseball game. You hope for that result, but if you have reasonable expectations, you don’t expect that level of success and when it happens, shock ensues. I have been part of many website overhauls and have seen wonderful results, but it never gets old and it never ceases to amaze me. These are the metrics (year over year for the month of January 2023 as compared to 2024):
Organic traffic increase: 99% (126% in Google)
Organic traffic and impressions continue to increase month over month.How Did We Do It?
I will begin this section by saying that there is no way to fully explain the amount of work and attention to detail that this project entailed. Every one of these tactics required hundreds of hours to accomplish and a core group of men and women who devoted a substantial amount of time to the effort.
In a sense, a “whatever it takes” mentality is the first tactic that is necessary for this kind of project. If the entire organization is not on board and if you don’t have internal buy-in from start to finish, the project will either fail or the results will not be nearly as impressive as they could have been.Kill the One Agency Model
It is easier and cheaper to go to a single agency for a website project, but the problem with this model is that no one agency is capable of doing everything well, no matter what a business development professional might tell you. We broke down the project into five buckets:
Branding: The voice and the look/feel of the site.
Web Strategy: On-page (keyword research, etc.) and technical SEO (redirect strategy, etc.), user journey research, page type requirements, and development oversight.
Design: Applied the web strategy research and developed page templates. Development oversight.
Content: We handled this in-house. Our content team practically killed themselves to get this launched on time.Natural Language and Keyword Research
It is interesting how ingrained internal jargon is in most organizations. I have noticed many times that the more user-friendly a website is to internal clients, the more annoying it is to external visitors. At the beginning of a website project, the whole organization must commit to creating a website that makes sense to people who have no idea about the inner workings of your company. This is where keyword research is key.
One must write content and build your menu and site architecture in a way that makes sense to someone who has never heard of your company. Otherwise, you will see massive bounce rates in your organic traffic.
This also translated into massive rank increases for our top-level keywords. The keyword “church planting,” for example, was consistently on page 4 of the SERPs. Today it is now consistently in the top five positions. This is almost universal across the entire organization and explains the triple digit increases in organic traffic.Content Marketing and Merging Microsites
The biggest push-back that I had going into this project was a hesitancy among our internal units to kill their micro-sites. We had seven websites across various platforms that had varying degrees of traffic, but a universal lack of decent organic traffic.
The problem that I faced was that they were also developing the best content across the company. Education on domain authority and their desire to play ball made the task manageable, but I will have to admit that I never expected the results I saw. One external blog, in particular, saw a 142% increase in organic traffic and the other sites have seen comparable results.
The best part about this exercise is that it kicked off our content marketing strategy and unified our content production. This has allowed us to be more efficient and to maintain brand voice and message across our entire organization. Saying that this has been a game changer would be an understatement.Redirect Strategy
Everyone has at least one horror story of coming into an organization that didn’t think that it was important to do one-to-one 301 redirects. These redirects are not only essential for maintaining your link profile, it is also an amazing opportunity to kill irrelevant content. We killed content that met all of the following criteria:
Older than three years
No external links
Less than 100 page views in the last three months.
Obviously, your organization’s strategy will be different based on a variety of factors.
Considering that our current site has nearly 12,000 pages, we were able to find a company who was able to automate the process, saving us thousands of dollars and a ton of headaches. The redirect strategy was the one thing that kept me up at night but ended up being one of the most pleasant experiences of the project (pleasant is relative).User-Centric Design
Finding a great design partner that can drive visitors to action is essential. Good design is supposed to virtually hold the hand of your visitor through the buyer journey in a way that is pleasant and intuitive. There are few designers who do this well. Looking good does not always translate into a well-designed website. Design is not a place to skimp. It takes professionals (not your friend’s nephew) who know what they are doing.In Conclusion
Though many of these tactics might seem intuitive to those of us who work day in and day out in SEO and content marketing, in many large organizations, senior leadership see their website as little more than a digital brochure. Even when those leaders understand the value of a good website, many of those same leaders have no problem skimping on design and web strategy.
I hope this case study helps you demonstrate how a well-thought out website is an important investment. Tens of thousands of dollars might seem excessive, even to an enterprise organization, but it is an investment that returns in spades.
Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons
In-post Images: Author-supplied
Google has updated its document on local ranking signals to include more traditional ranking signals we’ve grown accustomed to in organic search. These include signals such as links, articles, and overall position in web rankings.
”Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking…
Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.”
The greatest takeaway is this: Your website’s ranking across organic search is going to directly affect how well your Google My Business page shows up in local search results.
Another way to look at it is; if you’re not focusing on traditional SEO tactics for your business’s website, the visibility of your Google My Business listing is going to suffer.
There is yet one more way to look at it. If your businesses has been focusing more on traditional SEO than local SEO this whole time; its local rankings may go up as a result of traditional signals now influencing the rankings of Google My Business pages.
Google says its adding these new ranking factors because some local businesses are more prominent online than they are offline, and local search results should be taking this into account. Relevance and proximity are still considered determinants in local rankings; referring to relevance to the query, and distance to the searcher.
Of course, Google adds the following caveat at the end of the document:
There’s no way to request or pay for a better local ranking on Google. We do our best to keep the details of the search algorithm confidential to make the ranking system as fair as possible for everyone.
If you commute to work or travel regularly, you probably rely on Google Maps to get to your desired destination. The app offers a robust lineup of tools to make your commute smoother. But what happens when you hit traffic halfway to your destination or are concerned about the amount of traffic on the road before you leave the house? You can simply check the traffic with Google Maps.
Tip: make route planning more efficient with a few Google Maps extensions.Checking Traffic in Google Maps
The traffic feature in Google Maps can come in handy when deciding which route to take to work or the grocery store. This feature color codes your map based on traffic volume, with green indicating no traffic delays, yellow or orange indicating medium traffic, and red indicating severe traffic delays.
Before you even begin your journey, you can quickly check the traffic conditions by following the steps below.How to Check Traffic in Google Maps on Mobile
Open Google Maps from your mobile device.
Tap on the “Layers” icon in the upper-right portion of the screen.
In the “Map details” section, tap “Traffic.”
Exit the Layers section by tapping the “X” in its top-right corner.How to Check Traffic on Google Maps on Desktop
Open a web browser and go to Google Maps.
Move your cursor to hover over the “Layers” thumbnail at the bottom left.Finding an Alternate Route in Google Maps
Sometimes the “quickest” route by mileage isn’t as quick. Luckily, Google Maps makes it easy to select alternate routes after you enter your desired destination in the smartphone app or in your web browser.How to Find an Alternate Route in Google Maps on Mobile
Open the Google Maps mobile app.
Tap on the “Directions” icon at the bottom right.
Enter your starting point and desired destination.
Once both locations are entered, touch the three dots next to the starting address.
Select “Route Options” from the menu options.
Tap the checkboxes next to each option you would like Google Maps to consider when planning your route. Press “Done” when you finish.
Still not happy with the route Google Maps has selected? See all of the alternate routes that display as gray lines on the screen. Tap on any of the options to select an alternate route.How to Find an Alternate Route in Google Maps on Desktop
Enter your starting point and desired destination.
Once you’ve entered both destinations, multiple route options are displayed as a list. Compare options based on time, mileage, or traffic.
Google Maps will provide options based on devices linked to your Google account. Select one.
Note: if none of the devices or addresses are correct, you can add a new device to your Google account.Frequently Asked Questions Does Google Maps show real-time traffic?
Yes, Google Maps displays real-time traffic status in most regions worldwide, which makes it easy for users to check whether there are traffic delays.Why is Google Maps not showing traffic?
If you cannot pull up traffic data on Google Maps, you may need to update your application, check your data connection, or recalibrate your location services.
Image credit: PhotoMIX Company via Pexels. All Screenshots by Megan Glosson.
Megan Glosson is a freelance technology writer based in Nashville, TN. She has extensive experience working with everything from printers to smart home systems, and serves as the go-to “tech guru” for a small business that sells digital products. Megan has created thousands of articles for online publications and company blogs, including How-To Geek, Clean Email, and Review Geek.
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