Search engine results on Google deliver a more immediate and long-lasting impression for consumers compared to corporate websites and are more likely to serve up relevant and valuable content, according to a new report published by marketing enterprise Lumentus.
While both B2C and B2B organisations tend to focus on web copy to build a brand image and share stories, many are neglecting the importance of creating engaging content to rank on the first page of SERPs. Of the 800 adults polled in the study, under five per cent said that they rely solely on an enterprise’s website, while more than 90 per cent use Google to research a company, product or service.
Websites remain a vital component in the content marketing mix, however. In total, almost 77 per cent said that they trust the information that they read when visiting corporate portals, but unique online news generally carries greater credibility, as more than 83 per cent claimed that they trust this content format.
“Companies and organisations that focus solely on their own websites put themselves at risk,” Lumentus Chief Executive Laurence Moskowitz said. “Company websites are what executives assume digitally represent their organisations, but search results elsewhere on the Web can negate goodwill, damage a reputation and, ultimately, lead to a loss of revenue. Google is now your front door – not your own website.”
A slew of other stats from the study support the theory that SERPs are now the preeminent hub for relevant information. For example, Google is much more likely to be the first port of call for consumers when initiating searches: nearly 70 per cent said that search results play a major role in the decision-making process, and nearly 90 per cent continue to search if they find positive information about a brand or enterprise.
The flip side of the coin is that over 80 per cent of respondents will avoid a company entirely, and almost three-quarters have rejected conducting business with a third party due to negative search results. The study again highlights how vital written content and marketing is in today’s digital landscape.
“The importance of understanding the full potential and power of search results and taking an active role in managing them is critical to creating a strong image to all stakeholders, current and prospective. First impressions last,” Lumentus Senior Partner Christina Bertinelli added.