irst thing’s first: If you’re looking to get found by the exact types of high-value clients you want, did you know that search engines send 300% more traffic than the beloved social media?

Even more astounding, GOOGLE ALONE sends websites exponentially more traffic than Facebook, Twitter, and all social networks COMBINED.

Take a look:

Top 20 Sources of Website Traffic (CHART)

That’s not to say that social media marketing isn’t valuable. (It can actually help increase your Google rankings.) It’s just not necessary for you to regularly get the exact types of clients you want.

Sure, you might get a funny look or two when you tell people your company doesn’t actively use social media, when they ask. But who cares, as long as you’re consistently meeting your exact, perfect client each month?

As you can see, Google search leaves social media in the dust when it comes to generating leads for your business. But should you get YOUR website a top ranking in Google?

First, What are “Organic” Google rankings?

The term “organic” refers to the sites you see in search results that rank naturally for a keyword, not the ones that say “Ad.”

Now, here are answers to some commonly asked questions surrounding Google marketing for Black-owned businesses in particular.

Should I use “African American” terminology in my Google listings?

This is a highly personal choice, so we won’t spend much time on branding, social, and other reasons for why you may or may not want to.

Suffice it to say that targeting high-value clients who are specifically seeking a Black or African American advisor can be extremely rewarding.

For instance, if you’re an AfAm financial advisor offering services that are specifically of interest to a high net worth African American family, drawing these clients in to your book is an incredibly easy win.

And remember, choosing to target Black households never means that that’s the ONLY household you must target, nor does it mean that others outside this group won’t want to work with you.

There’s a certain way to handle your marketing so that you can target very distinct client types without excluding all others.

That’s outside the scope of this article, but this is definitely a conversation we should have as soon as we start working together.

How long does it take a website to appear in Google search results?

If this isn’t a trick question, it certainly has a trick answer.

Any marketer worth her or his salt should know how to get Google to find your website immediately after it’s created.

But because 91.5% of us don’t go any further than the first page of results when we type in a query, if our websites aren’t on that first page, we’re unlikely to ever be seen by potential clients.

But let’s back up a minute.

Just because we can get Google to “find a site and list it immediately” doesn’t mean we’re getting any sort of top or first-page ranking.

Just the opposite, really.

Getting to the top of Google search results takes time, with how much time being directly dependent on the audience we’re targeting.

That’s why we advocate for targeting clients in your local area first whenever possible. This is what we do for clients, because it allows you to see good results potentially within a few weeks, instead of in 6 months to a year or more (when targeting a wider area).

Honestly though, even a first-page ranking probably won’t cut it. Because…

Even when ranked on the first page … at least 50% of searchers still won’t visit your website unless it’s in the Top 3.

This unfortunately rainbow-colored chart, taken from a study conducted by Backlinko.com, shows how the clickthrough rate (“CTR”) drops off considerably as you move from Listing #1 to #10.

So if your website is on Page 1 for a chosen keyword, it’s getting about 24 and 31% of the visits from searchers … as long as you occupy the #1 or #2 spot.

But if you’re at the bottom of the page, you’re only getting 3%.

So should we always target the #1 or #2 spot?

With this data, you’d think that it makes sense to always shoot for a #1 to #2 ranking for your keywords, #3 at bare minimum.

In theory, this sounds a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

Problem is, we don’t own Google. And with literally hundreds of millions of websites competing for most keyword phrases… remember that this is only happening for THREE of them.

Of course you see the problem.

Getting a #1 to #3 Google ranking can take anywhere from weeks, to a few months, to more than a year to achieve, depending on a wide range of factors. (Actually, more than 200!)

So how do we combat this and get results quickly?

In a couple of different ways:

#1: By being willing to shoot for lower rankings for super-competitive keywords, OR by starting with moderately-competitive keywords to establish an initial ranking foothold.

#2: By using paid advertising to get more immediate results.

#3: By targeting local searchers and building awareness of your firm locally, to get quick results.

When my Google rankings are increasing, will I see new visitors and leads right away?

Many marketing companies won’t tell you this, but keyword choice and industry research are critical planning steps to ensure your marketing campaign is a success.

An inexperienced marketer might help you achieve #1 Google rankings, but you could see no new leads at all.

Here are five reasons why you might sometimes see your rankings increase, but not yet see any leads:

Basically, although you might be ranked #20 out of 549,396,209 websites… you’re still on the second or third page of Google results. In this case, stick with it, understand your marketing plan, and give it time to work. (For more competitive terms, give it at least 6 months to a year.)

But again, it’s usually much easier and faster to see leads and traffic when targeting clients in your local service area, than when trying to compete with advisors across the U.S.

This means that although you may be at the top of search results, few people are clicking through to your website.

This almost never happens, but fortunately, it’s typically easy (and fast) to fix.

Most likely, we’d just adjust your listing’s wording to get more clicks. (But occasionally, this might mean helping you adjust your overall goals — like targeting a more specific niche — so we can send better fitting leads to your business.)

This might happen if searchers are clicking through to your site, but they’re leaving without setting an appointment because they aren’t finding what they expect.

First, we’ll make sure you haven’t changed your page to cause a disconnect in your marketing machine. (Are users expecting info on managing retirement assets, but the first page they see is talking about your firm’s newest staff addition?)

If all looks good there, we can usually determine the cause by carefully inspecting your analytics, conversions, on-page user sessions, etc. (<— geek speak), to know exactly what to do to ensure that users from Google are finding what they need.

Though it’s rare, sometimes it happens that we thought a search phrase implied buying intent, when there was actually an e-learning intent.

More geek speak! Here’s what I mean:

For example, if the keyword is “halloween makeup,” it’s difficult to be sure whether searchers are wanting to buy it, get ideas to apply it, see examples of what trick-or-treaters have done in previous years, or something else.

That’s why, when possible, we stay away from generic nouns like this.

Instead, we try to avoid these types of errors by shooting for more specific keywords for client campaigns (ex: “buy halloween makeup” or “halloween makeup tutorial“) that better match the service you’re offering.

We only build initial campaigns from specific keywords that imply that a user is ready to take a next step, even if that next step is info gathering.

Sometimes, we choose keywords for your campaign that are only shown to get a handful of searches per month, in order to send you really specific leads who are searching for exactly what you’re offering.

For instance, best african american financial advisor belair md.”

This term shows no searches, actually. But it’s an easy win, because there is NO AfAm advisor coming up for it.

So a reason you may not see any leads initially for this search, is due to the search volume. But if you’re an AfAm advisor in Belair, MD at the top of your game, it’s only a matter of time before you start seeing results.

Because website traffic numbers just aren’t as important as number of leads.

#1: It doesn’t matter if you “only” get 10 visits per week from one of your keywords, if 2 out of 10 of those searchers are contacting you about services. (A 20% conversion is pretty great.)

#2: And again, that’s just from one keyword out of several that your campaign is optimized for.

After all, you’re only concerned about the result (a new client/investor/subscriber), not a landslide of traffic that never converts.

The Reveal:

Organic Google rankings are vital to a well-rounded digital marketing plan.

While Google shouldn’t be the only marketing strategy you’re using, we cannot ignore the importance of having an effective ranking plan in place.

It takes an experienced strategist to both implement a lucrative plan, and also interpret when it needs to be adjusted to maximize your results.