Before you get upset with me on this article, please read it thoroughly. I'm not saying that Google isn't an incredible acquisition resource or that there's not marketing return on investment in either paid or organic search strategies. My point in this article is that big business is totally dominating organic and paid search results.
We've always known that pay-per-click was a channel where money ruled, it's the business model. Placement will always go to the highest bidder. But organic search strategies were very different. For years, we were able to produce relevant and remarkable content and have it rewarded with a number 1 rank a highly competitive keyword on Google. Those days are gone.
Good friend Adam Small runs a real estate marketing platform. He was recently in New York City at Inman Connect. Rand Fishkin of Moz was a speaker and revealed in his analysis that 5 domains ranked in the top 5 real estate searches in the top 25 markets in the United States
In other words, if you're a real estate company with a hundred years of experience in one of those cities, your chances of ranking are terrible. It didn't use to be like this. Google's organic search rankings used to be an opportunity for any business to develop amazing content and have it be discovered and ranked well. I'm not saying it was effortless, it took a ton of work… but it was possible.
SimilarWeb has published its Momentum Awards for 2016. The SimilarWeb Momentum Awards recognize websites in the U.S. that have demonstrated exceptional advancement in their online category in 2016. The 39 winners in 13 categories have successfully improved their SimilarWeb Ranking – an algorithmic score which sorts over 80 million sites by their total traffic and engagement metrics.
Within the analysis of these, you'll find that search is a huge determining factor for the companies with the greatest momentum. Here's their award winners:
|Online Travel Agencies||tripadvisor.com||travelocity.com||expedia.com|
|Hotel Booking Services||hotels.com||airbnb.com||trivago.com|
|News & Media||fivethirtyeight.com||realclearpolitics.com||politico.com|
While there are a few companies that don't rule the world, it's huge companies with deep pockets that are owning digital marketing online, led by their organic search rankings. These companies can afford the omni-channel strategies, including robust content aligned with significant paid promotion, highly optimized websites, and influencer marketing. That combination is expensive – but destroys the competition.
This is why smaller companies and publishers have to use their agility to their advantage. As you look to the companies that dominate Google, you shouldn't emulate them. You need to differentiate yourself from them, even looking to execute campaigns that content strategies that they'd never risk. Your audience is still starving for something different – how can you be different? If you can't rank above the competition on Google, at least you can still rely on social to amplify your message.
This is why a core strategy for our clients continues to be the research and development of infographics, animated graphics, and white papers. A well-researched, beautiful, and valuable piece of content will continue to drive attention and authority to your company. You may not rank, but you will be shared and found by the relevant audience you're seeking.