How to Maximize Your Real Estate on Google’s Search Results
Google’s search engine results page (SERP) is becoming increasingly more difficult to organically appear on as ads and local listings push organic results further down the first page. AdWords is Google’s main source of revenue, and for better or for worse, it has been positioned to allow businesses to be seen on page one out of the millions of search results. In this blog post, we will reveal the realities of organic search placement’s current state, as well as how to show up in multiple listings on page one.
Google’s Genius Cash Cow
The goal of most doctors is to appear on the first page of Google under searches relevant to their practice. Search engine optimization is the industry that has been built around achieving high placement on SERPs. Google decided to capitalize on this prized screen placement by providing ad space above organic search results to businesses who would pay per click. With this new opportunity, another industry was created around online ad buying, ultimately making AdWords the bulk of Google’s advertising revenue (which reached $42.5 billion in 2012). Naturally, Google has been favoring its own products in the search results, and organic search results that provide no revenue to Google have been chipped away.
Google Favors Its Products
Currently, the first page of Google is a battle between ad space and organic search results. In a recent Tutorspree blog post titled, “How Google is Killing Organic Search”, Aaron Harris showed that only 13% of the first page displayed on Google (without scrolling down) contained organic search results. See the image below.
I similarly blocked out the same areas for searches for “plastic surgeon” (see image below) to see if the results would be the same for our clients. Sure enough, there are only two to three organic search results displayed on the top part of page one before scrolling down.
Much more real estate on page one is dedicated to AdWords ads. The size of the screen accessing the browser also affects what is initially displayed without scrolling. Scrolling down reveals Google local listings and then more organic results.
This isn’t a new occurrence in Google’s push to promote more of its products. In August of 2012, Larry Kim of WordStream noticed Google was reducing the amount of organic results that were being displayed on the first page. Google is only going to be finding ways to increase its revenue, so companies need to continually adapt their search engine marketing strategies.
Three Opportunities to Appear on Page One
The way Google’s SERP is set up now, there are multiple ways to appear on the first page. These include AdWords, Google local listings, and organic results. See the example below of a client who appears in all three areas on the first page of results.
- AdWords – This is the quickest way to show up on Google’s first page. Given the correct settings and high enough bids, ads start showing as soon as they are approved.
- Google local listings – Google displays between 3-7 Google local listings when the search includes a local term. The local headline directs to the business site, and the reviews go to the Google+ profile of the business.
- Organic results – Assuming a website has been correctly created, Google matches the search terms with website content using an algorithm and displays what it believes to be the most relevant results.
Being displayed and maintaining position in any of these three areas takes the full-time work of a team of skilled experts. Google changes its products regularly, and it is best to have a trusted company to work with – especially a diversified company that can maintain SEO, AdWords, and local listings. To plan a search engine marketing strategy for your website, or if you have any questions about Google’s products, contact us.