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Is SEO overrated in 2020?

Is SEO overrated in 2020?

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Being on the first page of Google’s Search Results is a goal for most businesses and it’s clearly beneficial to be there to drive traffic to a website
However, Google is pushing the Organic Results further away. And when you factor in how competitive it can be to rank on the first page let alone rank 1, is it really worth it?
Back in the early 2000s achieving rank 1 in the organic results was a massive advantage for businesses. There was also very little competition in screen space. Google search results have changed dramatically since then, and for the better. But many people are stuck in the 00s when it comes to the value they put on SEO. I recently had a client that wanted to do everything in their power to get rank 1 organically for a keyword.
When I analysed the keyword and the period of time that they did rank 1, I discovered that it actually never drove any leads in over 3 years. Yet the client wanted to focus on a keyword that was going to bring no value to their business because they over estimated the impact being rank 1 organically brought to their business.
Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) can show up to 4 Search Ads (or a shopping carousel) and then a map pack before showing any Organic results, pushing the Organic Rank 1 result to the real position of 8th! For example if I search for Solicitors in Hull the first thing that appears are 4 Paid Ads and then 3 Businesses in the Google Map Pack:

SEO is over rated

Compare that to how the search results looked in 2007, you’ll notice that Ads were clearly labelled and separated by colour. They also had much less screen space due to less Headlines, Descriptions & Ad Extensions:


Clearly the value of being rank 1 organically has dropped. I believe a combining SEO & PPC is the best route for most businesses, you get short-term results with Google Ads and then long-term stability & efficiency with the Organic rankings.

If you’re a new small business in a competitive industry then it’s very likely that being rank 1 for your highest traffic driving keyword is not going to be financially viable or profitable. If you are in that situation then I’d recommend focusing your efforts on ranking as high as possible in the Google Map Pack and having better Ad Copy (and Landing Pages) than your competition.

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