Google is easily the most widely used search engine, which is why many brands do whatever it takes to please its algorithms and to rank high in searches. This is largely because traffic that comes to your website from such searches is considered “organic traffic”. The more organic traffic you receive, the better you rank. Problematically, Google’s latest change has made it incredibly difficult for brands that formerly consistently ranked on page one (and often, in the number one spot) to maintain their vital organic traffic stats. So, what happened?

Google is now taking a page out of the Amazon playbook in that it aspires to provide one perfect answer to your search queries. In this sample search, the site with the featured answer is seventh following sponsored results and the “people also ask” dropdown menu. Photo credit: The Storyteller Agency

Google is now taking a page out of the Amazon playbook in that it aspires to provide one perfect answer to your search queries. In this sample search, the site with the featured answer is seventh following sponsored results and the “people also ask” dropdown menu. Photo credit: The Storyteller Agency

Why Is Organic Search Engine Traffic on Google Declining?

The short answer to “why is search engine declining” is simple—Google is taking a page out of the Amazon playbook. Previously, Google’s claim to fame was providing users hundreds of thousands if not millions of answers to a single question. You could search page after page of search results to find information.

While Google still provides pages of search results, it has also started to provide a single answer to your question, one that it feels is most likely the most accurate response, so that users don’t even have to click on a link. In fact, recent studies show that a staggering 49% of all searches no longer result in a link click.

How Do These Changes Impact Organic Traffic?

Needless to say, if people searching the web for answers do not have to click on your page to get your information (or if Google has already provided it from some other page), then you don’t get any traffic. Thus, your organic traffic numbers are going to plummet (if they haven’t already).

What Kind of Information Do I Have to Compete With?

For reference, now when people conduct Google searches, they come across a litany of information prior to even getting to search results. It isn’t always the same, and we are finding that the type of search conducted impacts results; however, here is what generally comes up ahead of search results:

  • A featured answer

  • Dictionary definitions

  • More popular search terms and search phrases

  • Links to other common search results

Among other strategies, changing the media and kinds of content created (for example, opinion pieces) may help you keep your traffic results higher than the current average. Photo credit: The Storyteller Agency

Among other strategies, changing the media and kinds of content created (for example, opinion pieces) may help you keep your traffic results higher than the current average. Photo credit: The Storyteller Agency

Not to add insult to injury, but the featured answer that Google shows may not even have been authorized or coded by the website owner to be featured. Google just shows the content. This is, according to Social Media Examiner, likely the result of Google’s heavy investment in artificial intelligence over the past few years.

What Should Brands Do to Boost Organic Traffic?

Given these changes, brands should adjust accordingly. This means brands need to get creative and produce content that incorporates multiple mediums. In other words, if all you are doing is writing blogs, then it’s time to try some new things.

  • Post more video. We recently posted on investing in video marketing and how to embrace live storytelling. In addition to things like Facebook Live, grow your YouTube channel.

  • Start working with audio content. If you’ve been thinking of doing a podcast or enhancing your brand with audio, now is the time to start.

  • Keep those who do visit your site engaged by backlinking to other important and relevant content for your conversation.

  • Engage more with your audience with opinion pieces and surveys that encourage comments and interaction.

As with all new things, we are at a learning curve, but as with all curves, it’s best to stay ahead of the change, so you aren’t left behind. Google’s changes don’t necessarily mean the end of anything, but they do signify a change. Your best bet is to take action now. Embrace new forms of content now, and start diversifying, so you don’t suffer the consequences of the latest changes to Google’s search algorithm.

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Content marketing has changed dramatically over the past decade, but one thing that hasn’t changed is quality storytelling. Even as we respond to Google’s latest update by embracing different media platforms, we still plan to tell quality stories, and you should, too. If you want a helping hand adjusting to these changes to avoid major changes to your organic traffic, click here to contact us, The Storyteller Agency. Let’s keep storytelling far and wide.

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