Search engine optimization (SEO) has been considered one of the most important digital marketing aspects to invest in, regardless of business or industry. When it comes to online traffic, being able to find yourself listed high in a search is what the main source of views, and those views often translate to dollars.
For the magazine industry, SEO is even more pivotal than most cases though. With the argument over print’s ability to compete with digital, a lot of publishers put their marketing eggs in the online basket they rely on SEO to generate readership and give value to online advertisement spaces.
Without decent listing and clicks, the digital traffic for magazines would be greatly hampered, and that’s not good when many feel print is questionable (though there is plenty of evidence to speak otherwise, available in our other blog posts).
Google’s newest functionality and optimization have started to lean in a different direction. Paid searches, quick snippets, and other instantaneous results have caused the majority of searches to result in zero clicks, equaling 55% of all Google clicks as of last month. This is the first time in 20 years that Google searches favor no-click searches.
In the words of a Sparktoro employee, who recently wrote a report on the situation, this is done to promote those who implement paid Google services and to help keep searchers within Google’s platforms, and not directing searchers to your content. He stated that “We’ve passed a milestone in Google’s evolution from search engine to walled-garden.” an example of a walled-garden is Facebook, they display snippets or brief content on your feeds/story that give clear information without the reader needing to fully access your content, thus keeping the reader within its walls. Sparktoro is a software company focused on audience intelligence resources, and with great expertise in search engine culture.
Online-only content producers, like Buzzfeed, who cover content in almost every facet on a localized and more general scale, are pulling traffic and searches away from content where newspapers and magazines were the primary source. They are also the likely entities that use Google’s paid features or would produce the content snippets that produce zero click searches. Publishers not helming massively powerful and notable publications cannot compete with that kind of digital power and influence.
The solution to the problem is easier than you would think. Big, super-digital companies are going to own the paid spots, but the fact stands that zero-click searches are still searches for information, and it is simply a matter of keeping pace with search engine optimization and Google’s system to stay in the game. It used to be just about meta-data and search rankings, but the game has evolved. Now snippets, audio clips, video views, and other content plays a role too.
Publishers simply need to diversify content and publish it to meet the most current SEO standards possible. Afterall, no one is better at producing content built for multiple media than publishers that are leveraging print, online, and digital to reach their audiences. Do what you do best, just do it with the intention of informing your audiences and appeasing Google.
To learn more about Google’s “zero click” searches, click here. For more information on the details of low clicks on searches and why in general, click here. To see the Sparktoro report on the situation, click here.
If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.