How Google’s SERP Changes Shook Up The SEO World
Last month Justin discussed Google's change to the search results listing pages, removing the text ads located on the right side of desktop search results, as it related to Online Advertising. So this week, we wanted to talk through what the update to the SERPs mean from an SEO standpoint.
Well, it’s not good news. SEO was deemed the biggest loser in the change, BUT it’s not the end of the world either.
Because Google will start showing four ads at the top of highly commercial search terms, the first organic listing will be pushed down to below the fold in most cases. That position four ad, just took over the previous placement of a number one organic listing.
A semi-positive note (very small) is that there are still ten organic listings being shown on most search result pages. However, they are after all the paid listings (and the local pack on relevant searches) so the organic results are further down on the page.
Because of organic results being pushed down on the page, being in the top three organically is now a higher priority for search visibility. Those top three positions, that were competitive to get listing within to begin with, just became an even more important piece of the Online Marketing puzzle.
So how do you compete in this new age of search results pages?
By taking a deep breath and a good hard look at your current initiatives. There are ways to use the changes to your brand's benefit and come out with a stronger, more valuable search presence.
If you arent participating in Content Marketing, start! Creating content via multiple sources and channels can bolster not only your SEO program, but all aspects of Online Marketing. Create infographics, videos, articles, etc. talking to your customers during the various phases of the buying cycle. Not only with this help SEO, but also overall brand awareness.
If you are a Local Business, your Local Strategy just became top priority. Local search packs are appearing before organic and are another piece of real estate. Make sure your Google listings are claimed and optimized as well as other important local ranking factors taken care of.
Integrate all the pieces. Look at your onsite and offsite Online Marketing initiatives, are they all working together to create a unified brand with clear calls to action? Are there opportunities for you to improve certain elements of your brand online to create a stronger presence and better results overall?
So, though SEO took the biggest hit in the change, the concept to be successful on the new SERP’s is nothing new. Google's SERP change yet again reinforced the NEED for your Online Marketing initiatives to be integrated. Some companies will need to adjust their strategies and pay more attention to organic results and vice versa for Online Advertising efforts. A brand may have to focus on lower keywords for their paid campaigns and re-allocate budget towards organic results for other phrases. Your Content Marketing plan needs to be aligned with your SEO and Online Advertising programs. A brand's Social Media and Reputation Management strategies need to be coordinated, as users will relate to the brands they know and trust and therefore interact with them.
With a balanced and cohesive SEO and Online Advertising program, the updated search listings still provide the same opportunity to dominate real estate using a variety of avenues. Instead of focusing on what the changes are, we're strategizing on how to make our Online Marketing programs work within the new layout. With an integrated program and measurement metrics in place, brands can test and fine-tune their various campaigns to create success in the new layout.