Does the right side ad pullout affect Google SEO?

There’s been a lot of coverage in the recent online press of Google’s withdrawal of the paid ads on the right hand side of the SERPS and so we decided to weigh in with our own take on how this may affect your own Google SEO efforts and the organic search listings.

google seo

It has to be said that with any change that Google makes, the ensuing responses can separate people and businesses into 3 main categories namely:

1). Ones that ride with the changes and look for solutions to overcome whatever hurdles they might encounter on their online travails.

2). Ones that accept the changes philosophically and just accept the status quo.

3). Ones that wring their proverbial hands and predict the death of Google SEO and the demise of small business.

The question is will this new measure have an impact on organic search rankings or not? From first impressions it certainly looks that way but to what extent we will see later on in this post.

First, let’s all be honest about this latest development!

Google decided to pull the plug on the right side ads as they had been hinting at doing for quite some time apparently because most of us suffer from ‘ad blindness’ and completely ignore those ads anyway.

To counter the decline in right side ad click-through rates, they have now placed 4 paid/sponsored ads slap bang above the fold thereby compelling us to focus our attention on those ads and making us have to scroll further down the page if we want to see organic search listings.

So, let’s take a look at couple of the search results as they currently appear for highly competitive keyword phrases below:

Keyword Phrase: ‘homeowners insurance quotes‘ (Suggested bid £53.64!) homeowners+insurance+quotes+SERP

Keyword Phrase: ‘digital marketing agencies London’ digital-marketing-agency-london-serp

As you can see, the addition of the extra ad at the top (it used to be 3 ads) pushes the organic search listings further down the page and they are clearly not visible above the fold.

So what does this mean for Google SEO and organic search rankings?

From an SEO standpoint the 3 big issues facing search marketers and businesses are:

1). Will searchers scroll down past the paid ads?

It is too early to tell what the user scrolling patterns are going to be but based on past experience and our very own small test survey here’s what we think may be likely to happen:

  • Consumers have a natural aversion to being sold to and now that they are being forced to click on paid ads, this may well prove to have a adverse effect on advertiser’s vying for those top 4 slots. Historical data tell us that this is particularly true for consumers who are used to conducting searches and buying online. Figures show that ads featuring in the top slot have a click through rate of just 7.11%google-click-through-rates
  • the space where the ads used to be is now also a bit too blank and from conducting our own little survey (we asked clients, family and friends), there seems to be a natural tendency for the eyes to wander over to that space and then scroll down to see what lies further down the page. There have been numerous eye-tracking research studies conducted on Google SERPS and here is one that you may find particularly interesting.

 

2). How will this affect traffic numbers and click through rates (CTR)?

This will largely depend on how we all conduct our own search query behaviours from now on. For instance are we going to be satisfied with the 4 sponsored ads that we see at first glance or are we going to scroll past those for more options?

There is also the question of where a business is ranked on the first page too. As historically, there are significant differences between rankings in the top 3 organic search results with both traffic numbers and CTR’s as can be evidenced by this study undertaken by Dr. Dave Chaffey of Smartinsights.com.

Interestingly, Chaffey lists the differences between brand v non-brand, sector v sector and paid v natural share of search clicks.

The study may give us some inkling of the likely affect this will have and is well worth the read.

3). Local SEO – How to get on the Google Map snack pack for keywords with a local modifier?

For keywords with a local modifier, the map results or snack pack as it is popularly known now shows up under the paid ads pushing the organic listings further down the page.

So for local businesses that don’t want/cannot afford to pay for the sponsored places, the next best alternative is to get listed in the map section or snack pack as you can see in the image below.

Google SEO

And if that can’t be achieved, then it will become increasingly important for businesses to be listed within the top 10 and create a page title and Meta description that hopefully will stand out from the rest of the competing sites on that page to entice the click- through.

CONCLUSION:

By placing an extra ad at the top of the SERPS and pushing the organic results further down the page, it does make getting top organic placements even more important than ever before and this is likely to hold true as long as there are 10 results displayed on the page.

Local businesses will have to step up their efforts to either learn how to get listed on the map themselves or in the top 10 search results for  keywords and phrases most important to their business or they will need to employ the services of an SEO agency that specialises in local SEO.

Whichever way you look at this latest development the future does seem somewhat uncertain for organic search listings. Thankfully however, Google is no longer the only player in town and organic traffic can now be generated through other equally powerful social media platforms.

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Darryl Antonio
Digitalhound are a full service digital marketing agency based in London with over 18 years experience in providing cutting edge digital marketing solutions.

Over the years, our team of experts have helped companies successfully grow their brand loyalty and site visitors, encouraging robust site visitor interaction and lowering the cost of acquisition for our growing list of clients.

Contact us on 020 7692 8761 for more information

Social Media Marketing ROI Metrics – Worth it?

Is your social media marketing spend giving you the returns that you set out to achieve?

To answer that question, you have start with a series of further questions for instance:

How did you plan out your campaign? What platforms did you choose? What does success look like to you?

Planning Your Campaign Setting out your goals and objectives is key to measuring the success of your campaigns and gives you the opportunity to react swiftly if they’re not performing to your stated expectations.

Setting realistic goals can be difficult if you’re setting up for the first time but this can be offset by doing a quick calculation based on existing marketing methods used.

When using Facebook and Twitter It is easy to look at re-tweets and likes as a starting point but in reality although this might look good from a numbers and vanity perspective it is not always an effective measure in determining success or failure.

Social media marketing when used in conjunction with the overall business strategy, should act as the driver for moving closer to your business objectives such as an increase in web traffic, clicks to targeted landing pages etc.

Time scales are an important aspect of planning too as it is easy to forget that the reason social media platforms exist in the first place is because people want to be social first and foremost.

Therefore campaigns need to be structured correctly to include the type of content that is likely to engage your target audience best and mixing that content in with occasional sales messages.

Social Media Marketing – Picking the right platform…

Choosing the right platform for your business is obviously going to have a pretty big impact as some platforms are better suited to business to business customers B2B, others to business to consumers B2C and yet others to a younger target audience.

A glance at the image below quickly allows you to see where your ideal demographic is potentially likely to hang out enabling you to plan your campaigns accordingly.

social media marketing trendsFacebook for instance has a pretty robust audience targeting and based on your goals be they customer acquisition, generating leads, clicks to your website, sales conversions or newsletter subscriptions, video views, you can track and measure your ROI relatively quickly.

Evaluating Your Social Media Marketing ROI – Most businesses focus solely on revenue earned but gains can also be measured in terms of building 2-way relationships with your audience and growing brand recognition.

Other factors such as broadening audience reach, driving extra traffic, generating leads, gaining more customers and improving conversion rates are also the metrics are worth considering in determining social media marketing success.

Tracking & Refining – Tracking the performance of your campaigns and keeping a close eye on how much time and money is spent and tweaking them as necessary is another critical factor in achieving success.

There are a number of tools both free and paid that will help such as Hootsuite, Buffer, Facebook Insights and TweetReach.

SocialMention.com is an interesting tool in that it allows you to track and  measure what people are saying about you and your company and while the tool doesn’t measure social media ROI in terms of actual sales revenues and/or signups, nevertheless the ability it provides to building brand loyalty and improving customer service can have a major impact on your bottom line.

In Conclusion – Measuring the ROI of your social media campaigns can be made easier if the goals that are set at the very outset are realistic in the first instance and then monitored closely on an ongoing basis.

The thing to remember is that brand building and gaining audience trust needs consistent effort and does take time to achieve. Social media platforms make that process a whole lot easier and when done well can be a whole lot faster too.

If you think that all of this is too much of a hassle or if your business simply lacks the resources then get in touch with us on 020 7692 8761 to find out more about the complete done-for-you social media marketing services that we offer today.

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Darryl Antonio
Digitalhound are a full service digital marketing agency based in London with over 18 years experience in providing cutting edge digital marketing solutions.

Over the years, our team of experts have helped companies successfully grow their brand loyalty and site visitors, encouraging robust site visitor interaction and lowering the cost of acquisition for our growing list of clients.

Contact us on 020 7692 8761 for more information

Search engine friendly link building services

Are there search engine

friendly

link building services?

There is so much fear and hype surrounding link building that it warrants taking a closer look at just what the search engines make of this staple practice of the SEO community.

Building backlinks to your site is still an undisputed and core element in getting your site or page ranked well in the search engines and despite all the recent algorithm updates this is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

So if this is an accepted fact, then why the fear?  Put simply,  there is a right way and a wrong way to building the links that are likely to have  beneficial effect on your site!

Link building services

Search engines like Google on the one hand actively discourage the practice of link building for the sole purpose of trying to manipulate your search ranking positions (SERPS) and yet on the other, when done correctly will reward your site with higher rankings.

So what then is the correct way? We thought you’d never ask! The first and foremost thing that we strongly recommend that you do, especially if your site is an established one is to conduct a thorough analysis of your link portfolio and by that we mean you need to pay pretty close attention to the sites that link to you and the way that they do it too.

In a nutshell below is a quick primer on the 3 most basic and common types of link acquisition:

“Natural” Editorial Links

Links that are given naturally by sites and pages that want to link to your content or company. These links require no specific action from SEO, other than the creation of worthy material (great content) and the ability to create awareness about it.

Manual “Outreach” Link Building

Link building services provided by SEO companies create these type of links by emailing bloggers for links, submitting sites to directories, or paying for listings of any kind. Your SEO company/employee often creates a value proposition by explaining to the link target why creating the link is in their best interest. Examples include filling out forms for submissions to a website award program or convincing a professor that your resource is worthy of inclusion on the public syllabus.

Self-Created, Non-Editorial

Hundreds of thousands of websites offer any visitor the opportunity to create links through guest book signings, forum signatures, blog comments, or user profiles. These links offer the lowest value, but can, in the aggregate, still have an impact for some sites. In general, search engines continue to devalue most of these types of links, and have been known to penalize sites that pursue these links aggressively. Today, these types of links are often considered spammy and should be pursued with caution.

There are however, far more effective methods and solutions to generate the right type of links such as social media signals, content rich video etc; but be prepared for some painstaking effort and have patience because it may take a while before you start to see the benefits.

Needless to say, simply get in touch with our experts or find out more about our link building services here if you’d like us to remove the ‘headache’ of constantly finding new ways to acquire links!

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Darryl Antonio
Digitalhound are a full service digital marketing agency based in London with over 18 years experience in providing cutting edge digital marketing solutions.

Over the years, our team of experts have helped companies successfully grow their brand loyalty and site visitors, encouraging robust site visitor interaction and lowering the cost of acquisition for our growing list of clients.

Contact us on 020 7692 8761 for more information