Have you ever seen the Tootsie Roll commercial back in the 70s where the boy asks Mr. Owl how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? You know … the one where Mr. Owl gets through three licks before he chomps it in one bite and declares it only takes three licks. The gravelly-voiced announcer wraps the spot by answering “… the world may never know.”
If you go to Tootsie Roll’s FAQ page, they answer the question: “It depends on a variety of factors such as the size of your mouth, the amount of saliva, etc. Estimates from children seem to run from a low of 100 licks to a high of 5,800 licks, with most of them ranging from 600-800 licks.”
If you’re wondering what all this has to do with getting to the top of page one on Google, the answer is very similar.
Search engine optimizations (SEO) and organic search engine marketing (SEM) are to Google, Bing, Yahoo (and the other search engines) as licking is to the Tootsie Pop. Using these tactics is worthwhile, but they do take longer to get you to the sweet spot. So why do them, right? Hang on a sec; there’s a reason. I’ll give you the answer in just a minute, but let’s get to Mr. Owl’s method first.
Using pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns for getting to the top of page one of Google is like Mr. Owl chomping down on the Tootsie Pop after only three licks. Why waste time licking if you can get instant gratification with one solid bite? Let’s look at some stats to answer that question and the one from the previous paragraph.
What’s Really at the Center of It
Even though you may think your goal is to get to the top of page one of Google, ultimately what you really want is tons of clicks from quality leads driving traffic to your branding site, landing pages, social media profiles or wherever you want to drive them and get them to convert on specific actions. With this as a goal, the logical question becomes, “Which link(s) on the SERP (search engine results page) gets the most clicks?”
Here are the stats:
Top ads (the ads under the search bar and above the top organic listings) get 2% – 3% of page clicks.
Side ads (the ads that appear on the right side of the page) get 1% – 2% of page clicks.
Top organic link (the first organic return) gets 41% – 45% of page clicks.
Second organic link gets 11% – 18% of page clicks.
Third organic link gets 7% – 15% of page clicks.
Organic links #4 – #9 get 2% of page clicks each while the bottom organic link on the page gets 3% – 4% of page clicks.
So how long does it take to get to the top of page one of Google?
While you can get to the top of page one of Google quickly with an effective PPC campaign, the links don’t get visitors clicking like that the top organic spots. Plus, depending on the competition for your keywords, grabbing that coveted top spot can cost you.
Low competition keywords may only cost you a nickel per click, but high competition keyword phrases can cost you more $10.00 a click. Keep in mind that not all clicks turn into a customer. Some people click on a link by mistake; you pay for their mistake. Some people click on a link just to look; it costs you. Some clicks will come from competitors; and you still have to pay for it.
I’m not saying PPC campaigns are bad; they can help bring your brand to the top of page one of Google much quicker than SEO and other organic search engine marketing. In some cases you can get there within a couple of days, generating some quick customers. However, the organic tactics get the better clicks. They take longer to rise into a position where they payoff.
How long does it take to get your links to the top of Google’s page one using an organic strategy? Just like licking the Tootsie Pop … it depends on a variety of factors. Top organic influencers include:
• Algorithmic changes by the search engines
• Competition for your choice of keywords
• Rate at which you produce content
• Originality and value of your content
• Where you place it
• Engagement in social media
• DoFollow links you get from other reputable sites back to yours
At best, you could get a rough estimate within months. And that’s just if the rules don’t change during the process or if your site doesn’t get the Google slap for what they may consider as less-than-honest activities. For these reasons, many companies stop their SEO and organic search engine marketing before they see the results.
If you feel like a sucker trying to answer this conundrum, I’ll be your Mr. Owl.
All the Best,
The Solopreneur’s Guide