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Why it’s vital for SEO to be top of your new year’s resolution list

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Hallam on why it's imperative to create unified, omnichannel digital marketing strategies.

As someone who works in SEO, you might say I’m a little biased on this topic. Nevertheless, I’m here to tell you how important a focus on organic search is to your 2022 strategy (and beyond!). In fact, I firmly believe your organic presence and SEO efforts are going to be more important in 2022 than ever before.

First things first, let’s look at some key stats. In 2021, organic search is responsible for 53% of total traffic on the web. This is despite several seismic shifts in consumer behavior, the rise of mobile search and the dramatic changes to search engine results page (SERP) layouts, including local packs, knowledge graphs and featured snippets, all of which push more organic searches below the fold. Organic is still the channel that delivers the most traffic to websites by a wide margin.

And that’s not the only data that attests to the importance of focusing on SEO:

  • Organic search drives over ten times more website traffic than organic social

  • Paid drives only 15% of traffic

  • Nearly 26% of internet users use ad blockers, which affects paid campaigns but not organic

  • B2B and tech companies generate twice as much revenue from organic than any other channel

But it’s not just about the levels of organically-driven traffic - it’s not enough to appear organically in search engine results pages. And this is where SEO as a discipline comes in, which is all about increasing overall organic visibility through higher rankings but also by being otherwise featured on the SERP pages such as in the knowledge panel. SEOs are interested in being as visible as possible for important customer search queries across the whole marketing funnel in order to drive more traffic and revenue for a business.

Data on click-through rates from the SERPs drives home just how important SEO is. Does anyone ever go to the second page?

Well, studies show that the first five organic search results receive the most clicks (approx 70%). And the percentage declines steeply from first to fifth, with the first position claiming 28-34% of the clicks on average (depending on the layout of the search results and SERP features delivered for that search term), with second position claiming 15-17% of the clicks, third approximately 11% of the clicks and so on - you get the picture.

With all that in mind, it’s no wonder that, in SEO, we tend to say that the second page of Google is where content goes to die.

In summary, organic as a piece of the overall pie is large and looks likely to grow - and SEO is all about ensuring your business gets a bigger piece of that pie. It’s a no-brainer!

More and more of our audience across B2B and B2C are online

The past couple of years have seen a surge in digital transformation, as precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic. Internet usage has increased, meaning people using search engines to find what they’re looking for is at an all-time high. In B2B, for example, combined search (organic and paid) now averages 76% of overall traffic. In a way, this has enabled some B2B businesses to rely less on traditional marketing such as exhibitions or events and more on digital channels.

As we enter 2022 - still in the face of instability and uncertainty - investing in SEO that will provide your business with long-term strength makes sense. Whilst SEO is not a ‘quick win’ and can take months and years of sustained effort to come to fruition, once you’ve reached a successful point, it’s relatively easy to maintain and build on those solid foundations.

This can be a stark contrast to other tactics such as PPC ads for sales activation, where you have to consistently pump budget into campaigns month after month to see any return on investment: the moment they’re switched off, the benefit is lost.

However, that’s not to say that paid media campaigns aren’t also a vital tool for online success, especially those that are intended to build long-term brand awareness. In fact, paid and organic search should work hand in hand - according to studies, integrating PPC and organic SEO efforts results on average in a 25% increase in clicks and a 27% increase in profits over isolated or disconnected efforts.

This is why it’s imperative to create unified, omnichannel digital marketing strategies, and not to focus on any one channel in isolation. Instead, savvy marketers will maintain SEO at the core of their marketing strategy. For 2022 and beyond, ignore SEO at your peril.

Charlotte Tomlinson, organic performance director at Hallam.

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