According to one expert, the first page of Google gets anywhere between 71 and 92 percent of all clicks. The very first result gets nearly 32 percent of those clicks. The remaining 29 to 8 percent of traffic is divided with diminishing returns between pages two through ten.
We just started, but let’s back up.
The first page of Google gets between 71 and 92 percent of all clicks.
What does that mean when your website is on the third page? Very few clicks. Your website can be the biggest asset to your equine business, but only if people are looking at it. Otherwise, it’s an expensive decoration which doesn’t do much to help your business grow.
There are two main ways to get your website onto the first page of Google: you can either earn your position or you can pay for it. Paid advertisements can get eyes on your site, but they can be cost prohibitive and do little to build your position as an expert in your field. Organic search engine optimization (SEO) takes a long time to build and is difficult to do without the help of an equestrian marketing consultant.
So which one should you choose? Unfortunately it’s not as cut and dry as one or the other. Do you remember the story of the turtle and the hare from your childhood? If not, prepare for a flashback to elementary school (read it here). It’s a little like that.
Say Hello to the Hare
In the context of our turtle vs. hare metaphor, paid advertisements are the hare. They can drive a lot of traffic very quickly, but once you run out of money, like the hare falling asleep, they’re done. No more traffic. Nothing. Nada. Kaput.
There are a few different types of paid ads. Because the world runs on the value of a dollar, you can pay pretty much anyone to run an advertisement for you. You can pay to drive traffic from social media, like paid Facebook ads, private websites, or right from Google. The more money that you put in, the more traffic comes to your website. These ads are excellent for short-term campaigns, like promoting a big sale or for brand new websites who don’t have as much SEO pull quite yet, and need to make up for it with additional paid traffic.
Meet the Turtle
Our most turtle-like contender is the slow-growing earned equestrian marketing strategy: organic SEO. Organic traffic takes a while to build, but takes a while to fade too (slow and steady wins the race). Rankings can go up and down based on who else is competing for the same keyword you’re trying to rank for, but it’s unlikely a well-established page one ranking website would drop to page ten.
However, because you’re vying with other websites for the same keyword, you can use your site for a little digital offense and fight back against your competitors. An extremely well-written high SEO value page can knock your competitor’s page down a few steps. Because of this, keep in mind what the competition is like for the particular keyword you’re trying to rank for. Aiming for high traffic, high competition keywords means your ranking will be less stable and fluctuate more often. Low competition keywords equal more stability and less fluctuation in ranking.
Because organic traffic is earned, not bought, it builds you up as an expert. Google does a pretty good job of looking for quality content. So if you’re on the first page, chances are you sound like you know what you’re talking about. With organic SEO you can also rest assured that you’re also reaching your target audience 100 percent of the time. After all, your website will only come up when your target audience is already searching for the information you have to offer.
Which Equestrian Marketing Strategy Do You Need?
Each of these equestrian marketing strategies have their time and place. Let’s go back to the turtle vs the hare. Paid advertisements are the hare- working quickly to provide the traffic you need as fast as possible. An organic SEO strategy is a long-term slow and steady approach to building traffic to your site, just like the turtle. You might need to take the hare’s approach when you’re promoting a big sale, new product, or hosting an event and you need to flood the site with hard and fast traffic to a specific landing page where customers will hopefully take the action you’d like to see. But an organic SEO strategy is better for long-term, low-cost, high-quality traffic that builds your reputation. Let’s go through a few scenarios, so you can see how equestrian marketing might work out for your equine business.
Scenario #1: Fast Track
As the owner of a local tack shop, you’re the main supplier of riding gear to lesson barns and professional equestrians in your county. To start the summer right, you’re planning on hosting a big Memorial Day sale complete with BOGO deals and up to 50 percent off your top merchandise. In order to grow awareness of your sale as quickly as possible, and following the advice of your equestrian marketing consultant, you run an ad on Facebook. Followers see the ad, click the link, and are taken directly to your sale items where they have the opportunity to buy right then and there. This is a direct, hard and fast route to getting as much traffic to a page with a specific purpose as quickly as possible.
Scenario #2: Slow and Steady
You own a gorgeous facility with cross country fences as far as the eye can see and green grass year-round (a girl can dream, right?). You want your barn to become known as the destination for eventers in Maryland so you host horse trials every single weekend year-round. While running a paid advertisement for every single horse show would be effective in the short term, it would be prohibitively expensive and wouldn’t establish you as the premier eventing show grounds you want to be. Instead, taking an organic approach will help you build trust with your audience and a number one SEO ranking for the keywords your target audience is using over several months to a year. Over time, you’ll develop a credible source of traffic as the Maryland eventing community begins to recognize you as their source for quality horse trials.
Scenario #3: The Combo Deal
You’re fresh out of vet school and just opened your doors as an equine veterinarian for the Western Maryland region. You worked with an equestrian marketing consultant and built a brand new website, but now you’re twiddling your thumbs, waiting for that sweet sweet traffic to come through the door. A purely organic SEO strategy would take a long time to build enough business to cover the cost of the site. But using just a paid advertising strategy means that you aren’t growing your credibility or SEO ranking so that when you eventually shut off the ads, you’ll be left with nothing. Plus, you have all that vet school debt to worry about. Combining both strategies is the ideal solution to bring in business while you build your site’s content and SEO value. My advice: put a significant part of your budget into paid advertising while you work on writing those SEO blogs, or hire an equestrian marketing consultant to do it.
Reaching the Finish Line
The lesson we were all supposed to learn from the turtle and the hare was that slow and steady wins the race so don’t count out the underdog. But I think both the turtle and the hare have some pretty great characteristics, why not be friends with them both? When your organic SEO strategy is taking a little too long to cross that finish line or your paid advertisements are running out of money, a combo deal might be in order. In my experience as an equestrian marketing consultant, most equine businesses benefit from using both strategies at the right time and place in their journey to get them to that end goal: the first page of Google.
When you’re a little lost in your race to the finish line, give me a call or shoot me an email to chat about how equestrian marketing can help you.