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.