There's really not much you can do as long as Google insists on putting millions of irrelevant videos and other "universal results" on the first page. You will probably have to depend more on long tail traffic, and you can increase this by adding more unique content to your site.
One thing I don't see mentioned very much is that many pages with video and other Universal Search results now have more than ten results. I've seen as high as 13!
If they can show 13, why not 20?
Right now they already allow you to set your search preferences to show up to 100 results per page, but the default is 10. Why not change the default to 20? In fact such a change would be consistent with their claim that they implemented Universal Search because they want to give us more choices. (And obviously 20 choices is more than 10.)
|(And obviously 20 choices is more than 10.) |
Don't go confusing people with the facts!
(Especially the 'Googlers')
And in response to the OP's question... Not very.
It's all about niche phrases, more relevance and marketing nowadays. not that SEO isn't, and won't continue to be a great way to direct traffic, but more and more, having that elusive position 1 for a two phrase keyword is becoming less useful. More and more, as people become accustomed to, and knowledge about how to maximize search engines, the level of detail in queries increases - meaning, more long tail keywords.
My suggestions - if videos are now taking up positions you used to have, find creative ways to publish a video and get people to link to it.
If feeds, other media, information pages are taking up spots, then think outside the box to build those by way of viral tools and social media.
You would be surprised at how much can be accomplished by rethinking your keyword approach, spending time to go back and research keywords, trends, competition and then develop pages that now address specific long tail queries where you can track and tweak conversion rates (which is another topic and thread)
Has Google given any public information about how often first page video results get clicked relative to regular web pages? The reason I ask is because lately on some of my searches the cluster of video results has been moved to the bottom of the page. This has caused me to wonder if they were moved down because they weren't getting clicked as often as regular web pages, at least on some types of searches.
My rankings certainly don't "bounce around". They do move from time to time, but they do so steadily and slowly.
If you experience that your rankings "bounce around" it could well be because your site itself is "bouncing around" - meaning lots of content changes, link structure changes, infrastructure changes.
You may want to read that again. That said, no rankings are ever secure.
I do not feel our rankings are secure. And I do not like that feeling.
I'm just throwing this out there, but more weight in domain names creates a more stable search results environment. My opinion only of course.
Essentially right now, I just expect my sites to drop, then recover, rinse repeat. This really means, that as someone trying to enter ecommerce, I'm really looking at how I will approach this long term. I don't want to be unrealistic. The instability of course, is very detrimental to those of use trying to earn income. If we are a minority, then our voice is quite weak. And yes, I do understand that this is a free traffic issue. Whether we are (always have been until now) entitled to free traffic remains to be seen. I think the internet has always been about getting free traffic, unless you are a suit and know nothing about internet. Then, paying for ads is just like business in the real world. I don't want the internet to become the real world honestly.
Free traffic, or rather semi secure rankings giving me free traffic is not something I'm banking on at this moment in time. It's new strategy time.
I think there's a huge market opportunity for a plan B development tool kit.
One ingredient in my toolkit: In offline commerce, good businesses know that it costs them a LOT more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer and attract them into another purchase.
Because organic traffic seems "free", a LOT of "pure play" ecommerce businesses pay little attention to customer retention. And yet, those repeat purchases can help keep revenues up when rankings go down. There's a whole art to tap into here, with double opt-in email lists playing a major role.
I did that one time couple years back and after I got about 500 in there I sent out a special. Well most folks forget about that opt in and I got many angry emails asking me to quit spamming them. That was my firt and only opt in email I sent as it wasn't worth the trouble,and I didn't want to end up in a bunch of registers with my ip banned. That is just me and my nitch though. others may do very well.
|There's a whole art to tap into here, with double opt-in email lists playing a major role. |
I do however agree 10000% on keeping customers is an absolute must in the ecommerce business and as Ted said it will get ya through some rough times. I know was filtered for a year and because of our customer support we were able to get through it from mostly repeat customers some of the them have been buying from our store for 7+ years.
And to add an answer to the thread question. I feel somewhat secure in my rankings as they have been pretty stable for a couple years. I know if I had more time to work on my own site I could improve my positions.
Is your traffic mainly from short keyword searches or long-tail? I would think long-tail is less affected by this over-crowding issue.
|I would think long-tail is less affected by this over-crowding issue |
You would think so but the local long tails are big business, lots of cash to be made, lots of people fighting over them.
Bouncing, absolutely. In fact they switch position on a daily basis with no major site changes.
|brotherhood of LAN|
I find 1, sometimes 2 sites tacked to the top of SERP's, stubbornly moved, with the volatility amongst the lower ranks.
The solution is to build for the Long tail.
Any keyword with heavy competition....I'm bouncing around from the front page to the 2nd to the 8th in some cases.
When you have a strong hold on the long tail in your industry no keyword is particularly important. And when your business is not dependent on the number 1 spot for keyword x, you can sleep a lot easier at night :)
"The solution is to build for the Long tail."
so you add lots of new content pages with long tail titles and wait for google to pick them up, but google adds them very slowly, only a few each week when there are many more accesible via sitemaps and by crawling the sites menus.
Is this behaviour based on lack of overall link juice into the site? Any ideas on how to get lots of long tail pages picked up in a hurry?
There are many "trophy" keywords that generate a lot of traffic and low conversions. OK if you've got revenue from ad impressions, I guess but in many cases they're not worth chasing.
There are long tail keywords that bring in light but very well targeted traffic. It's jusst that you've got to get enough of them to make a business out of it.
And there are other terms that I call "fat belly" - in between those trophy terms at the "head" of the fish and its long tail. That's where the action is, more and more. Google tends not to force so many informational results into those SERPs.
Story time: I've worked with one site for over ten years who started out wanting a top ranking for a single trophy keyword. We got it for them, back then. And the traffic did almost nothing for their bottom line!
So, back to the drawing board. We targeted about 10 "fat belly" keywords (including two big ones that we might call trpohy words today. And we also built out the website so that even very long tail searches would have a good chance of ranking. The first effect nof this change was losing the trophy ranking -- that was inevitable, anyway. But we gradually saw increasing revenues that became quite big over time.
They created a "long arc conversion" marketing plan (it includes email newsletters) and began turning their repeat visitors into regular customers. No more looking for that impulse buy - which in their case was unlikely because of the premier prices that their products ask for.
In fact, they've now converted and retained a significant number of customers and they don't even watch their rankings at all today!
My point is that an ecommerce marketing plan should not be "get somewhat relevant keyword traffic and sell them something." It takes some deep digging and planning, but you can built a solid online business that does not depend on Google - or any one traffic source.
Since I work in an emerging niche, I'm alost constantly watching my back. It certainly feels like having a big bulls-eye painted on my back ;)
Over the last 2 or 3 years I've noticed a change in the quantity and type of competitors. Up to that point they were mostly real world competitors who got themselves a web site. Fortunately they didn't have a clue what to do with it. Now the ones I worry about are the folks who know what they are doing and then get a web site.
I let them have the long tail, it keeps them happy when they can search for some obscure term even if it will turn up zilch traffic. 80% plus of my markets traffic comes from 3 or 4 two and three word terms and being #1 is about 10 times as good as being #4. Fortunately very few of my competitors know this because they have never enjoyed the fruits of top slot.
Before they introduced so called quality scores on Adwords I was totally in control and after the Florida update I was able to easily bid enough to hold #1 or #2 on Adwords and if a new competitor came in I could scare them off by bidding up a couple of other competitors so that the new guy didn't have a chance. Now the system rotates everyone so they all get a chance of the top 3 slots and Google takes all of the money that may be on offer from all of the site owners. Before 3 or 4 sites made money now 20 each make very little from their Adwords spend. Most of those don't have the benefit of organic traffic to augment the spend.
My strategy is pay off the mortgage while I'm making money and keep milking the cash cow.
even I have been experiencing the same with my websites. sometimes 30th then moved to 8th. this was repeated 4 - 5 times and now I can see it's quite stable at 3rd page for the last 2 months already.
wonder if it will go back to 1st page again...
My view is that anyone with an income derived wholly from natural rankings is never going to feel 100% secure.
There are several possible approaches:-
1) Live in constant fear
2) Diversify into other markets online
3) Diversify into other businesses, online or otherwise
4) Go work for someone else
The one thing that's for certain is that doing nothing rarely achieves results :)
Rather than feeling that the rug's going to pulled from under you, you need to learn how to dance on a flying carpet.
Being in business for yourself means living with risk - how much risk you can live with is usually directly proportional to how much success you will have.
If you cant beat them, then join them. ie. To get good free traffic, you need to fill in the spots with your own videos, reviews, forum, twitter etc..
(sorry if I have repeated someone elses answer, as I've only read the question.)
I would feel secure about my rankings/positioning if competitors did not go out and spam by buying anchor text links..