The SEO landscape is changing, yes its still changing. In this post, we aren’t going to focus on the algorithm changes, which you can view on our interactive algorithm time line. We are going to focus on the evolution of search features and how to think ahead, see why you cannot put all of your marketing eggs in one basket, and insight into Google’s bread and butter, paid search.
In the image below, you will see that organic results for moderate to competitive search terms don’t display until 600 pixels down from the top of the screen. This illustrates how much Google emphasizes their paid search results. Obviously, Google makes their money on these but what we want focus on is the trend here. In many product related searches such as “Beats by Dre Solo 2”, Google displays not only paid search text ads, but shopping network ads as well. Google continues to incorporate new paid search features to the search engine results. The takeaway here is that SEO, as much as we encourage and believe in, cannot be your only online marketing strategy. Your business needs to participate in paid search.
Paid search allows websites to be seen in competitive search terms that are intent driven and have a high return on investment if properly optimized. Not only does paid search drive traffic, but as mentioned you need to focus on intent driven terms. For example, an intent driven phrases would be “Buy Beats by Dre Solo 2 Headphones” instead of just “Beats by Dre Solo 2”. This provides a much more qualified visitor to your site that has the intention of purchasing the product.
Google continues to incorporate their own search features. This example below is a common search for users around the world. Weather.com and other weather websites provided the same data, except when Google began displaying these results, click-through rates on the websites below dropped tremendously. So, this means that if these websites revenue is based on online ads and other advertisement that is driven by visits and other key metrics, this hurt their bottom line. Google’s intentions are not to hurt other sites, but their intentions are to provide great results and to keep you in their ecosystem.
Yes, Google is introducing new search features to display information for commercial phrases. The example below shows a search feature for airline tickets. Google has introduced this great feature to easily view flights and purchase them through Orbitz and others. The point to consider here is that this decreases the click-through rate on the organic results for the user to go to direct and book. Google is now controlling the traffic and how the consumer interacts and books their flights. This is only one example of how Google is introducing advanced search features that change how their users interact with search results.
As marketers it sometimes is discouraging when we see new features that take away from clients traffic. We have to realize that without any notice, Google can change how they display search results and that it can drastically change how your advertise online and affect your business. We never encourage clients to put 100% of their effort into one aspect of marketing for this very reason. Google dictates how your website is positioned in the search results based on your website and marketing efforts, and has the power to change rankings at any moment. Always be agile and know that nothing is a sure thing and to always think ahead and whats in the best interest of your client/business in the long run.