This can be a problem when a large variety of Google "features" pile up on the same SERP. I haven't seen any metrics on the click attrition rate, but I'm sure it's significant.
Even with Universal or blended results where they are added to the ten spots, making up to 14 total spots not including Adwords, the fact that the results are visually pushed down is a hurt. I think we've got to live with it, however - and just go after a greater variety of keywords and traffic sources.
Lately I have seen lots of negative comments about Google pushing organic results down the page. Whether or not Joe Public notices it I am not sure. I notice it more frequently myself whan I am searching and it is starting to annoy me.
What I do know is that it was not the model that Google was built on.
Maybe it's just me and not Joe public, but as soon as I enter a search query these days my finger is on that scroll wheel before the page loads.
I would not think the folks at Google would not want that. After all the top two or three paid listings is their bread and butter. That area has become a spot I don't spend much time looking at(heat map) anymore because there are limited choices now above the fold.
There's gotta be a term for that?
edit ad- just noticed blog posts listed on the bottom of the page. Another new feature?
This is a great post to highlight where the future of search may be going. Google SERPs are becoming more and more based upon their own properties, Youtube, Paid, Google Blogs etc etc. I have noticed some of the sites I work on are getting a lost less traffic than expected for a top 3 spot. I know the Google keyword tool may be flaky but in some cases, it's a huge amount less.
Competing in search is becoming a lot more complex and will need to be integrated with other departments i.e. video / social etc etc
just my two cents
Ahhh.... This reminds of the new spam-layout google is testing:
GOOGLE MAPS adwords
Ofcourse, the maps here only serve as filler content to guide the user towards the ad. Shareholder pressure seems to have pushed Google away from its core business and more towards being a business directory of some sorts. A spammy one, that is.
[edited by: johnnie at 5:10 pm (utc) on Nov. 15, 2009]
there are some search terms where you don't even get above the fold for position number one.
i've just searched for plumbers in a particular big city, and all i can see are 8 ads (3 at the top and 5 down the side), plus google's map. you have to scroll down to get a glimpse of #1. and that's on a maxed-out 1024x512 screen.
including the links to google's review pages next to the map, a user would see twenty different plumber-related links on that first screen before they got to see you sitting in the serps.
Wow, I tried this for London and I see what you mean. Glasgow, Birmingam, Manchester and Liverpool are all the same. OK, the mapped local results are organic (kind of) but they don't have any snippets.
This is not the Google we once knew. They do seem to be moving away from the original concept. Bing does this too but it's not quite as "in your face". I actually think I prefer Bing's results in this respect.
Yeah, all they need to move all organic results (where $ are generated) below the fold (or to page 2) is more advertisers...
"Seem to be moving away"? They've been pushing down organic serps to this degree for years now. What's worse are those searches that have this "push down" and then the organic results one actually has to scroll down for are then blended in with in-your-face news items (with pics) and "did you mean" results showing those of a similar city in a different country.
Yes I hope someone at google is looking at this - the local results have killed some of my very good positions :(
Adwords with sitelinks?! I have not seen this.
< more information several posts below >
[edited by: tedster at 4:23 pm (utc) on Nov. 16, 2009]
As SEO types we would prefer that Google not add all those results above our SEOed efforts. HOWEVER, pretend for a moment that you live in some big city and need a plumber. Search for London/Atlanta/orYourBigCity Plumber and examine the results. Google's selections seem to me to be quite superior to their regular algorithmic results. (3 examples... If my pipes need rooting out, there is the rooter guy. If I want someone instantly, I can select the closest and hope for speediness. Or if I think it important to have a plumber from my neighborhood, I can select that too.) I think in this instance Google is accurately and wisely tuning into the wants and needs of most surfers from your big city.
Said this was going to happen a long time ago ..would have prefered to have been wrong ..
BTW if you take the new ultrawide screens into account that are fast becoming the norm ( I'm posting using one ) it only needs the searcher to have one toolbar installed and all organic results are off screen ( below the fold ) and require a scroll down ( and lots of non webmasters dont know "scroll" ..or "below the fold" exists unless it cuts over a line of text or an image ) ..so effectively "organics" on page one have been rendered inconsequential if not near invisible for most "money term" searches..
Leosghost, The flip side of the coin is that there are many avg users that don't trust/like the paid links and indeed scroll for more "relevant" results.
|and lots of non webmasters dont know "scroll" exists unless it cuts over a line of text or an image |
Ok, lets not get lost in hyperbole. Webmasters do not have exclusive knowledge of the scroll button. 99% of monetisable traffic are not ludites, and actually know what a scroll button is.
I think its unavoidable that the high-converting traffic (local search high up the list) is becoming fully monetised from a Google POV. For a start, they are leads that are worth paying for, and also Google has a statatury duty to maximise profits.
As someone observed further up, the local search adwords are pretty useful- I struggle to find top-3 organics that better meet my needs than the sponsored links.
That said, whenever I'm not looking for a local product or service, I've scrolled to below the "sponsored links" before I even look at the results. Most of the people I know (admittedly I have geeky friends) do the same. Its just regular ad-blindness finally manifesting on Google. Google can be proud of avoiding ad-blindness for so long.
Since only the terminally non-savvy users are not ad-blind, you might as well shove it down their throats, since the more subtle approach Google have used since inception is no longer working.
The Google SERPs now remind me a lot of altavista back in the late 90's. They lost users to the fresh clean look of Google. It's a bit like going full circle.
[edited by: tedster at 7:20 pm (utc) on Nov. 16, 2009]
[edit reason] fix typo [/edit]
|I think in this instance Google is accurately and wisely tuning into the wants and needs of most surfers from your big city. |
I know my local area and I don't need them to show me a map. I know who is close enough to me for any specific requirement. I need them to show me a link with a snippet so that I can see what is on offer. I don't need a blank weblink that tells me nothing about the business featured there.
But then that's just me. ;)
|Since only the terminally non-savvy users are not ad-blind, you might as well shove it down their throats, since the more subtle approach Google have used since inception is no longer working. |
Who knows, maybe this'll add some parody within the top 10 organic results, because people who are interested enough in what they are looking at to scroll will actually read the results rather than just blindly clicking number 1?
Can you imagine the fallout if the clicks on organic results were more balanced?
I can see it now:
|I'm number one, but only get 14.3% of the clicks now... |
What am I going to do? My business model of making money off the free clicks from a Business (search engine) that has a responsibility to increase profitability for it's share holders was so sound until the people at Google changed the bleeping page.
Google was so much better when the number 1 result was free and got all the clicks. People are actually looking at other results now and they don't click on my link as much as they did...
Those idiots at Google keep trying to make more money by taking my freebies away and now to make matters worse, other sites are getting my free clicks too.
Those are my clicks...
My Site's Number One!
Don't the people at Google realize they're obligated to me since I've been making money off their freebies for so long? Don't they know they owe me?
My page is always the best answer anyway, not anyone else's, mainly because it's been number one for so long, that's where it should stay!
Booo Hooo... Sob, Sob...
People Google's a business and they're single responsibility is to increase profitibility for their share holders, and if you make money off their clicks, they can make more... Two ways:
1.) If you serve adsense and they get people to click on the 'paid' results (ads) they serve rather than your page, they don't have to cut you in on the profit.
2.) If you don't serve adsense and they can make even a dime off that click through a product, service or property of theirs it's better for them.
Take a look at your business model before you complain too much...
Google's seems to be fairly good, IMO.
[edited by: TheMadScientist at 12:54 pm (utc) on Nov. 16, 2009]
|Don't the people at Google realize they're obligated to me since I've been making money off their freebies for so long? Don't they know they owe me? |
Don't you realise that the folks at Google have built a massive corporation by displaying other people's content without asking for their permission?
Cuts both ways. ;)
(Douglas Adams - author of the Hitch Hiker's guide)
|"First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII — and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we’ve realized it’s a brochure." |
|Don't you realise that the folks at Google have built a massive corporation by displaying other people's content without asking for their permission? |
Uh, you mean by displaying snipits of publicly available information anyone who can write a little code could use just as easily, and in the same way a newspaper or magazine could take a quote from your publicly available website and use it in much the same way? (They even give credit and direct people to the original source, just like they're supposed to.)
If you don't like it password protect your site, or write a little script that serves GoogleBot a 410 Gone on every page... (I doubt Google will miss your site as much as you miss their traffic.)
People wish it cuts both ways.
|Uh, you mean by displaying snipits of publicly available information anyone who can write a little code could use just as easily |
Yes, precisely, nice to see you are paying attention. ;)
|I have a toolbar on my Firefox browser (who doesn't?) |
Me and I know most of my friends and working colleagues, haven't had the necessity of that crap for years.
|Wow, I tried this for London and I see what you mean. |
From the UK - I use Opera and Firefox and I see what I would call completely normal results, a map of London followed by wikipedia followed by visitlondon. Just tried in MSIE 8 and the results are the same.
I've also tried this with several well-known capital cities and I'm not seeing anything out of the ordinary.
Is this the toolbar having this effect?
I'm in the UK and don't see anything out of the ordinary for most searches, but back to the point: over time organics are indeed getting pushed down further and even then they are being blended in with other Google properties and features. At this rate it won't be too long until the average set of results returns more ads and G stuff than organic results.
What's "ordinary" is constantly changing in favor of monetizing for G.
My site is constantly evolving, in favour of monetising me! What's more, I look forward to continuing to build both traffic and conversion rates indefinately.
Google is making hay while the sun shines- profit-taking while the traffic is there. Whatever other people think, there is the real risk that Google will start losing market share to Bing. Best to build a war chest now, rather than lament the lost opportunity in the future.
|What's "ordinary" is constantly changing in favor of monetizing for G. |
I see someone else is paying attention too...
(IMO: It's to be expected, hence my rant, sarcasm and reality check.)
I think it's just going to get tougher to get free traffic from SEs and I think people need to be ready to find other solid traffic sources, whether by word of mouth, off offline marketing, or 'whatever you think of here', because if a SE (any of them) can make more money by pushing the 'free' results down in favor of 'paid' they're going to do it, much the same way any of us would... (I would in a minute, and if you say you wouldn't then you're probably not in business.)
Honestly, how many people wouldn't push down a free click out for a paid click out? Once they leave there's no guarantees they're coming back, who would not take the 'bling' for a click when they could get it?
Anyway, the more advertising that moves online, the tougher it's going to get, and when you think about it a bit objectively (from the business and visitor experience side, as Shaddows appears to have done), those who can afford to pay for clicks can usually afford to provide a better visitor experience (cooler website in 'loose English') than 'joe adsense builder', because they can hire a team of people to do what the 'adsense & affiliate dependent' webmaster is trying to compete with.
IMO If AdSense and Affiliates are your bread and butter, you better be an SEO and a half, because the more advertisers there are the tougher it's going to be to get in a position with any clicks on any major search engine.
|Adwords with sitelinks?! I have not seen this. |
The Adwords Sitelinks program was in testing for a while and launched globally just this month.
[edited by: tedster at 4:24 pm (utc) on Nov. 16, 2009]
|Ok, lets not get lost in hyperbole. Webmasters do not have exclusive knowledge of the scroll button. 99% of monetisable traffic are not ludites, and actually know what a scroll button is. |
Unfortunately not hyperbole ..:(
I've watched many many people ( over 40 years old )use computers and the web for the first time ( and for the following 3 months or so )..I've not encountered one that knew what the scroll bar meant ( and thus was for ) without them having to be told ..( and some of these were very bright people ..but this is out of their "experience" and comfort zone )..and many that even when they had a mouse that had a scroll wheel ..didn't know what it was for ..and when they were told still didnt use it "in case it broke".
It's not "luddites" :) it's that using the web is like learning to drive ..you have to be shown what the controls do ..we take it for granted ."now" ..
A lot of site navigation / usability problems could be solved if all of the page was above the fold .
The older your target market ..the simpler you make it ..the better your ROI ..
think ..auto ..and stick shift ..and how some people cant drive the second at all without a whole lot of practice ..
Inspite of the above ..I tend on this to agree with dertyfern, Shaddows and TheMadScientist ..it could be seen coming ..was a logical step for GOOG ..
page one as pay for inclusion ..in all but name ..
And those who saw the storm clouds gathering should have been getting umbrellas ..and or somewhere to shelter in order to make umbrellas to sell ..
Those who target local markets and rely entirely upon organics for their traffic will get soaked if not drowned ..unless they get their message out by other means than only via search on GOOG.
Oh .and no toolbar here ..but ultra wide screen 16:9 ..22" Browser at fullscreen and "london plumbers" brings up "ads" then "maps" and again "ads" right down to the bottom chrome ..first organic is at ( what would normally be the position of ) #7 ( in all organic serps ) and at #7 ..it's just off my screen ..unless I scroll ..
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