An ever-changing landscape in digital marketing is nothing new. But once in a while, a change represents a turning point. We witnessed one such shift in 2019, relating to the prominence of the so-called zero-click searches and the continued decline of organic traffic relative to other channels.
2019 Saw a Decline of Organic Traffic
For some time, we have been recording a decline in shares of organic traffic proportionate to other channels. This trend intensified and hardened in 2019 and is now well documented, since the Internet as a whole experienced an overall decline in organic traffic last year. This is primarily as a result of two other trends:
- The shift from desktop to mobile browsing, where organic results appear lower.
- Prominence of Google’s rich snippets delivering answers and more information directly on the actual search-result pages. Because of this, zero-click searches—where short answers are snipped straight from the content of a website and presented at the top of the results page (never requiring a click over to the actual website)—now make up more than 50% of all searches for the first time in history.
So What to Do?
Those who adapt will survive. Also, this change doesn’t represent the same threat to the business model of medical service providers as it would be (and indeed has been) for a lot of other industries, where website traffic directly results in revenue (such as e-commerce). That said, the rise of mobile browsing and rich snippets does necessitate a corresponding response in marketing tactics, as well as resisting chasing the plainly visible and easily understood but ever-shrinking pie of organic search rankings. The winning philosophy, as always, is to extrapolate on trends and assess their future impact on your business. Prepare now for a time when organic search is no longer the largest source of your traffic. In our opinion, this expectation necessitates a more balanced approach than ever before. Marketing plans should consist of the following strategies:
- Leverage the Rise of Google My Business Pages
We believe that your Google My Business (GMB) page should now be considered as important as your website. Through your GMB page Insights report, you can access important metrics, such as customers who found your map listing via discovery searches (non-branded service or product searches) and phone calls to the office that are made directly from your GMB page. Get to know your GMB page and make sure it’s complete, accurate, and regularly updated.
- Create Zero-Click-Resistant Content
As more and more searches are triggering rich features, more and more searchers are kept off of your website. Provide in-depth content that compels visits to your website beyond a short snippet they can read on a SERP.
- Focus on Brand Building
Brand searches get the attention of search engines, create trust, and generate traffic to the website to make up for any loss of generic organic traffic. Professional social media marketing efforts that are focused on not only disciplined and on-brand content creation, but also brand engagement, followership growth, and ROI, can put your brand in front of a hyper-targeted local audience.
- Mix in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
Studies show a correlation between the decline in organic traffic and a corresponding increase in PPC traffic. PPC ads will always receive preferential placement for obvious reasons. Use PPC strategically to augment targeted traffic and boost sales of your core services.
If you are interested in a customized digital medical marketing assessment and plan, please contact MetaMed Marketing at 1-866-240-8389.
Happy New Year!
Ali Kouros is co-founder of MetaMed Marketing. Ali heads up operations, engineering, productions, and practice marketing for MetaMed.