How Google is Moving The Organic Cheese

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Recently I was doing a little research when I noticed the area reserved for PPC ads top of page looked as if it was blending more and more into the organic section:

Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who noticed it. Over on PPC blog they did a good post covering this change. For most people working in online, the PPC ads stand out a mile, but for the untrained eye, small visual changes do make a big difference. Google is continuing to add PPC initiatives that directly affect the space given to organic listings

1. Ad Sitelinks

The image above gives some good examples of PPC sitelinks in use. They allow businesses to add more advertisement per PPC ad and take up more real estate top of page. Originally available for brand keywords, they are now available for generic keywords (as per above).

This makes bidding on your brand keywords more appealing as you can deep link to offers, promotions. At SMX Advanced London this year (great post from Wordstream on the main take aways), there were stats presented around turning PPC brand off and the affects it had on traffic. The result was traffic remained the same, but revenue decreased by 6%. Maybe as a result of better targeting from PPC ads in terms of destination URLs. There are also other reasons to bid on your brand, here is a good article from Econsultancy on the subject.

Here is a great post on RedFly covering everything you need to know about sitelinks. There is also a great post here that measures the performance of sitelinks.

Of course now Google is allowing the use of  trademarks in Ad text (already done in the US), bidding on your brand may be even more important.

2. Local Extensions

Google Location extensions in PPC ads have been around for a while, although I don’t see them being widely used. Could just be I haven’t noticed them much. These allow businesses to create Google Ads linked to their Local business center listing. The PPC ad will then have an expandable map. What’s more interesting is how Google have integrated sponsored listings into the map area:

Again the lines between paid and organic blur a little. More on the paid enhanced listing here.

3. Google Product Extensions

Google product extensions available in the US allows you to leverage your Google Merchant Center to add product listings to PPC ads. Again this is done in the form of an expandable section under your PPC ad. I don’t have a good image of this. Google isn’t showing me any examples when looking on competitive keywords.

What About The Cheese ?

I was reading extracts from the book “Who Moved my Cheese“and it got me thinking of SEO consultants that have tunnel vision. Not keeping up on how the SERP’s are being fragmented with local search, images, video, PPC extensions could lead to massive issues for your future success.

For example, check out the link I used to search for “Who Moved My Cheese”

Just from this you would look at:

– Look into Google Base and “Shopping Results” if in the Ecommerce space

– Look at Youtube. It’s a goldmine for Ecommerce sites. I split tested (with help from my younger brother, who is a big a social wizz kid), 4 blog posts and 4 videos on a product. The result was near 1000 views of the posts and 25,000 video views, plus they are still climbing.

It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on your SERPs and Traffic over rankings. The landscape is changing fast.

About Kieran Flanagan

Online Marketer who implements both inbound and paid strategies to help companies grow internationally. Lover of content marketing, SEO, analytics, CRO and strategy. A highly motivated marketing geek high on data crack.

  • Dave Davis

    Great article, glad you looked into the “book” too 🙂

    I know it's a little old, but this is an absolute gem:

    It's not AS relevant today but I've seen updated results (late 2009) recently and they are pretty much the same. While I wish that the relative ease of the “old days” was still possible, I think it's a good thing that these changes are keeping those that are truly interested in search on their toes. Article spamming, link farms are nowhere near as effective any longer and PPC, as I have always predicted, is now becoming an essential part of the search mix.

    It's no longer SEO in the traditional sense, it's complete digital marketing. They all interlink.

    Thanks for the mention too.

  • searchbrat

    Hey Dave,

    Thanks for the link. I haven't seen that post before. Really cool stuff.

    I totally agree, anytime I discuss SEO with people, I make the point I am interested in the big picture and how the different strands interlink. For me search as a whole, combined with analytics + conversion optimisation are the pillars of a Traffic Optimisation role, which is a whole lot more interesting than sitting in a box doing just one. Even if it's having the skill-set to specialize in just one, but have the knowledge to work with other specialists in the other areas to create an holistic approach – The complete strategy will be a lot better for it. Case in point, I am shocked by the amount of “SEO” consultants who don't use PPC as a keyword research tool, even if they are not planning on running a PPC campaign.

    Thanks for the comment.

  • Thanks for suggesting the book.

    @Dave: Thanks for the link.