You may have seen recent news and reports about Google’s antitrust investigations and their increasingly monetized search results.
NB: This is an article from netaffinity
It’s really important that you’re aware of this situation as it develops and that you know current circumstances will make it harder to continue maintaining the same level of organic growth you’re used to seeing!
We’ve known for a long time (what feels like forever) that when it comes to search, Google’s the big kid on the Market Share Block! They dominate, accounting for 96.1% of all search in Europe.
Whilst organic search could be blissfully relied on once upon a time to deliver results, we now see it losing significant influence when it comes to our ads, and just yielding more data-gathering value for Google.
And it’s not just us that’s in trouble… OTAs are feeling the burn too. They now need to pay billions of dollars every year to ensure they show up high in search results!
“Free traffic is shrinking all the time,” Expedia Chief Executive Officer Mark Okerstrom said the same day. “Google does continue to push for more revenue per visitor. And I think it’s just the reality of where the world is.”
“People who want to invest in the online travel sector should do it through Google stock”, says Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak.
Coinciding with organic search shrinking, if we look back just a few short months to June of 2019, the majority of all browser-based searches on Google.com resulted in zero-clicks for the first time.
Obviously, people are still Google searching for hotels, so we know it might seem odd that those searches are not resulting in clicks! If we look at mobile specifically (where more than half of searches take place), organic search has fallen by almost 20% and zero click searches are up significantly.
So… why is this happening?! One reason is that Google’s expansive product list is giving people less of a reason to click through to your property’s site. Think about Google hotel ads for example – which is the first thing people see when they search for hotels on Google.
Everything users are faced with there and then is supplied by your Google My Business profile. They’ve very cleverly made sure there is minimum opportunity for users to click through anywhere else to get what they need – it’s all right at their fingertips on one little search engine page!
So what do you need to do?
First up… a word from the wise: “It’s never been more important to diversify your traffic sources and invest in growing your brand’s loyal, engaged community vs. purely investing in keyword rankings.” – Rand Fishkin, CEO of SparkToro. It’s going to be important to continue building your relationship with customers and building your brand, too! If people know you, and like you, they will search for you.
It’s also going to be crucial for you to invest in your 2020 marketing budget. Hotel ads are a necessity! Email and social media marketing, too.
Finally, make sure your Google My Business profile is fully up to date.