More On Ad Enhancements

In my last Search Insider, I wrote about the numerous ad enhancements available to Google paid search advertisers that are enabling page domination. In that column I posed the question, "Are paid search results delivering a better user experience?" Again, I will state that this question is by no means meant to devalue organic optimization. In fact, I believe now you have to be even better at it. In one of the comments from my last post, a reader pointed out that ecommerce searches are a small number of total searches. So this week, I will highlight another example of an ad enhancement and show how organic is still important.

Let's take a look at pest control. Search, both paid and organic, is huge in the home services category. In this example, we are going to make some assumptions. Let's assume that the category leaders, Orkin and Terminix, are both savvy search marketers. (I am confident they are.) Orkin holds the top organic spot and Terminix is nicely positioned as the third organic listing. In the paid results, Terminix is in the top spot, while Orkin is the fourth.



When a site is optimized to show so prominently in the organic results, it is a best practice to measure total results from both your paid and organic listing with your paid listing in various average positions. Often a number 1 paid and number 1 organic combo can leave you paying for clicks you would have already received. It looks likes Orkin knows this and practices it well.

Truly Nolen, another large player in this space, also ranks on page 1 organically, but much lower. In order to compete, paid search is the key. Notice that Truly Nolen has added the Local Plus Box to its paid ad, giving it more attention. Terminix has done the same. If Truly Nolen did it first, then Terminix may have had to include this enhancement because once one ad is expanded, the Terminix organic listing is no longer visible without scrolling.

What does this mean? Paid search drives Google's revenue, so it will continue to receive more prominence, and organic optimization is more competitive than ever. Achieving page-one ranking is not good enough. In fact, being number three may not be good enough. Strong marketers recognize the importance of both and will continue to invest in them. The moral of the story remains the same, though: If you don't take advantage of these new ad formats, your competitors will.

There are more ad formats coming soon to a vertical near you, so stay tuned to hear all about them.

1 comment about "More On Ad Enhancements".
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  1. Brenda Szabo from Search Marketing Consultant, August 2, 2010 at 1:51 p.m.

    Laravie must have a different computer than the rest of us, because I can collapse that expansion box to previous size and I can scroll up and down the page with ease to see organic results.

    Think about the example Laravie lays out here. How important do you think knowing the street map location is for a pest control company? Last time I checked, the Orkin Man came to my house, I didn't go to his house to get my rat removed. Why would an average consumer care about a map when there is no intention to go to the location in this example?

    And even if they did want to go to the location, why would looking at a map stop a person's consideration process and interaction with other results? Or for that matter, given that Google geo-targeting is based on IP Server location rather than actual location, wouldn't a map location that is over 10-15 miles away potentially push me to look for another option?

    Laravie makes the assumption that simply because Truly Nolen added this expandable map that Terminix's organic search click interaction is going to decline. Her hypothesis is that once a person clicks on that expandable unit, that everyone pushed off the screen is negatively impacted.

    What data does she have to back up these assertions? What study has she conducted that proves people will not collapse the map or scroll down after they take this action. What data does she have that suggests searchers will only click on above the page results only after interacting with the map?

    Given no data is shared in the article, this is nothing more than hyperbole. I think most of us can use common sense here and realize that a person's action to expand in order to see a map is not going to have any impact on organic search result interaction.

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