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Is 1st place organic worthless without Adwords campaign?
Kickedout

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 10:41 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have some #1 results in organic results (well established site, more than 8 years old) but this year particularily I see it all covered and sourounded by adwords ads and google places result. So the first organic position (even when site is yellow starred) is performing nasty. I mean I almost don't get useful traffic and have to pay adwords campaign anyway to get some movement.

Years ago (or at least some months ago) same keywords site and page performed very good. Is this the actual scenario? Must I get used to this?

 

londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 9:25 am on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I can quite see the argument that #1 may be devalued by adwords on top of it, but as soon as I achieve #1 for my target key terms, the ads are going to get shut down.

that's why google are doing it. they dont want to lose customers like you. imagine if all the top 2 companies on all search times didnt feel there was a need to buy adwords when they're sitting pretty on top of the serps. there'd be hardly any big money companies left.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 11:15 am on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

At the moment the ads I see are on a very different background. A client's site that I am doing at the moment has more traffic than ever despite having three ads above his #1 ranked phrase. One is bad statistics, but that is all anyone here seems to have.

Personally, I do not see that many ads on most searches, only for e-commerce ones - prefixing the word "buy" to a search often causes an add or two to move to above the organic SERPS.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 11:58 am on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Or start to optimize for Bing.


Are there huge differences? I mostly see very similar results.

Bing gets a lot less traffic but at least if your page shows up in one of the top spots on the serps, then people can actually see it and click on it./


Bing also uses ads on top, and just as many. For information sites you also end up competing with their copy of Wikiipedia which gets a special link.

I know my Bing traffic converts much better for some reason


More naive users from being the IE default. I can remember people here saying the same of MSN search years ago.

Mark_A

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 1:47 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

that's why google are doing it. they dont want to lose customers like you. imagine if all the top 2 companies on all search times didnt feel there was a need to buy adwords when they're sitting pretty on top of the serps. there'd be hardly any big money companies left.


But we have to break away from this.

We are spending more with Google adwords than we (companies like us) used to spend on traditional marketing and advertising and at the moment, I can only speak for myself, we are simply not getting the return in enquiries or sales.

Kickedout

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 1:51 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

About some comments here:

Optimizing for Bing would be nice but it just doesn't work in real world. There is no still a single shadow of advance in competition to Google. I personally don't use other search engine since got used to Google as millions of people. Only in rare oportunities I go to Yahoo as alternative or other engines. (Bing is my third). Anyway you can't survive with a 5% of traffic. And 95% is Google. (please avoid discussion about that sharing information, isn't the point).

The commercial phrases that include a location seem to be the worse as they get pushed 100% off of the viewing area of the page, the only way you could see the #1 organic listing is to scroll down the page.

I am not allowed to put in the actual search words used but, if you offered any type of services to people in a city where you did not have a physical presence, then even the #1 listing would be more like serp #5 or #6 now as people have to scroll down to find you.


Bingo.

You are totally dead id you sell "Widgets in XLocation" nowadays. Unless you besome store with phisical presence in Xlocation and be on top of Google Places map.

There are 3 horizontal adwords at left top. The link for the map itself, the map wiht up to 7 links, the link to "more map otptions" and 8 right adwords ads, before the first organic result,

That is 20 sites ahead you in queue if you are still the number one. In terms of traffic that is the death. Not to mention if you are in first page but you are not first organic result, you would be talking about 30 or more sites beating you up.

I personally find that adwords campaing become more expensive and conversions didn't raise at all. Besides due to that Adwords fever I can't hold some campaigns because we those are giving negative ROI. It's more expensive to pay for visits and sales related to conversions are not allways as much as adwords bills you have to pay. I guess that depends of your market and business of course, but it's a reallity in some fields: though you can run a small business if you don't have to pay for visits, you can't pay every visit much if you have too many competitors and few conversions.

Since in past adwords used to be a good way to complement organic search results, today we depend in 100% on it.

Admins: is there a way to notice Google about what we're talking here? I understand some Google folks poke around here and seems to be important for many webmasters.

Green_Grass

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 2:19 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

The top position for my key phrase ( commercial) is held by a company that does not even have the product for which it advertises. It simply misuses it's money power to grab traffic for 'similar' products. I am forced to bid for that key phrase and I am no. 2 on the sponsored listing..Then we have another commercial entity with no logical reason to be present in the adword listing..and then my site is no. 1 in the organics. With two positions in the top five space, I am somehow managing to get some decent traffic. If I did not use adWords, I would be buried.

and I thought with all the QS bull..they would atleast check if the site advertising is actually offerring the product advertised..but money again seems to triump over so called 'user experience'.. and this seems to be a recent trend.. A few months back, it wasn't this bad..

has2hands

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 2:49 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think more monies and energies will be going into other search engines..ie: Bing.

Google is screwing over the webmasters and really the consumers who are searching for clean and relevant results.

The thing that really bothers me with Google is the lightening up of the sponsored ads background color....really blends in with organic search results and I am sure they are getting much more clicks and more revenue.

And when you search for a specific product...well, that kills me more because the organic search results are covered over with 90% paid ads...you can't find the organic search results for products.

I guess it really is Google 2.0

Kickedout

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 2:51 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree is worst now, I noticed this several months ago but this is pretty much worst now. A note about adwords optimization tips: when you follow those recommendations you end spending a lot of money extra and in my case not relation at all with more conversions or sales, or at least not to justify those.

Kelowna

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 3:34 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

For the top three positions, chitika shows this:

#1 - 34%
#2 - 17% (2x less than #1)
#3 - 11% (3x less than #1)

[chitika.com...]

Using the data from the webmaster tools they show my #1 listing as getting an 11% click through rate. This is a two word term and does not have any local sites above it. That shows that having the listing 1/2 way down the page knocks down the click rate for sure.

Does anyone have any data on a site that is #1 and DOES HAVE local stuff ahead of it? It would be very interesting to see the effect.

Reno

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 4:06 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

The thing that really bothers me with Google is the lightening up of the sponsored ads background color....really blends in with organic search results and I am sure they are getting much more clicks and more revenue.

Yep, that was a well thought-out intentional modification for one purpose only -- drive more traffic out of organics and into AdWords. All the Google defenders in the world can line up to say "Our beloved Google wouldn't do that" .. well, sorry, there is simply no other explanation.

And I'd like point out, this is not a company that was in any kind of financial trouble whatsoever. The one and only goal was to make more $$ for them, and less for all the sites from which they took and displayed the content, to continue with the impression that there was a good reason for the average person to use their service.

So let's review: There's been considerable testimony that the organic SERPs have dropped in quality; and we have an intentional re-formatting of the SERPs page to push more traffic to the sponsored results.

And Matt Cutts can DEFEND this as an improvement? Sorry, I don't buy it. That's nothing but public relations, and in putting forth this nonsense, his own credibility has diminished.

At this point I can only hope that in fact, the rollout is not complete, and with the necessary tweaking & refinements, we'll see something that at least approximates the quality of Google 2006/07. But with every passing day I wonder if that's just a pipe dream.

.............................

Turbosho

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 4:15 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

For Years we were in the top 3 for most keywords we needed. (not anymore) In the last few years we saw almost all sales were from adwords and not organic (80%+). Even though we would be position 1 or 2 in adwords then 1 or 2 on organic people would seem to just click on the link that costs us $ instead of the free one..

arubin

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 4:36 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Check in Google Webmaster Central and get actual stats on what position you're getting served at and what your click rate is.
You may find that you're not always #1 these days do to customer search.
If you CTR is low, is there an opportunity for a more appealing Title and/or description that won't hurt your position in the rankings but will get you more clicks?

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 5:10 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've been saying this for years, local or "geo" domains fare the worst.

If search engines could get the same traffic without needing our websites they'd remove them, perhaps someday when their knols are full and apps have 100% coverage that's exactly what will happen. At that point search results would have little use and be little used. It's ALWAYS a good idea as a site owner to work on not needing the search engines.

When you build a social media following be it on twitter or any other platform, that's a visitor stream search engines can't tap/divert/modify. Whenever you bring eyes to your site in ways outside of search results or paid results you have something valuable. We've become too dependent on search and the love affair isn't permanently reciprocal.

Kelowna

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 5:13 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Check in Google Webmaster Central and get actual stats on what position you're getting served at and what your click rate is.


OK, I did make a slight mistake by not clicking on the keyword for the drill down of all positions. It shows a slight increase to 14% click rate at the number 1 spot.

If you CTR is low, is there an opportunity for a more appealing Title...


That is not the case here, plus it is getting away from the topic. I was just wanting to shed some light on how the new layout is taking away from organic clicks and try to provide some numbers that may give others at least with a very general idea of a click rate for #1. Lots of things can change click rate for sure, but I feel the layout change is the biggest factor.

ceestand

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 5:28 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Would this problem take care of itself as the results become less relevent/more expensive and Google loses search market share?

Reno

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 5:33 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

When you build a social media following be it on twitter or any other platform, that's a visitor stream search engines can't tap/divert/modify. Whenever you bring eyes to your site in ways outside of search results or paid results you have something valuable. We've become too dependent on search and the love affair isn't permanently reciprocal.

Outstanding advice Sarge. I'd love to see a permanent category here at Webmaster World that was titled something like "Prospering Without Search" -- we'd all benefit from the accumulated wisdom.

............................

londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 5:38 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

but then you're just swapping google for facebook, or google for twitter. you're still relying on someone else. there's no real difference.

Turbosho

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 6:00 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

But you don't have all your eggs in 1 basket!

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 7:02 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

All your eggs in one basket - yes, that "single point of failure" issue plagues many businesses, online and off. Even looking at established search traffic, how diverse is it? Is there a good variety of query terms bringing in traffic? Or is the site a one-trick-pony, and if so, vulnerable to any ranking shifts that come along.

fabulousyarn



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 7:40 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am going to contribute something here because of something very odd that has happenned to me in the past two weeks. I have been having trouble tracking ROI on my adwords buys. I was just contemplating turning adwords off for a couple of weeks and seeing what happenned. I had checked in on may 23rd cuz it seemed like traffic was down. Lo and behold, no charges, no click thrus, no nothing on my adwords site since May 20th? What gives? I email Adwords. About 20 minutes later - adwords email me, seemingly unconnected, a note that for seme reason (still not explained) my adwords account was shut down for 'violoation regarding landing pages and URLs'). Now, I am not a spammer, I don't rely on adsense for my income. Im a straight ecommerce site with a very specific product. YARN. SO I was flummoxed. I work really hard at placements that work, that are targeted, very specific. Etc.

I am also no. 1, 2, and 3 for most long tail keywords - and these really pay off. . S

o one of the things that I had been wondering was how effective the adwords campaigns really were. I'm competing, in some cases, with my own no 1, 2 and 3 placements, but I know that the adwords results appear in places where the organics don't, like amazon, etc, so I'm down with that.

So, while waiting for an answer, I up my yahoo and bing buys, and my targeted content buys on specific community sites.

Big news: my per sale value goes WAY WAY up, my revenue, tho way up and way down, is mainly much higher.

I am scratching my head here. Is it because so much of my adwords stuff is appearing on content sites where people arent shopping? So I'm getting most of the organic traffic because I've already got good organic placement. But the adwords traffic isn't quite as quality in terms of ROI. Hmmm...

Anyhow, I got slammed by MayDay too, and am working hard. BTW, my adwords account has been mysteriously reinstated - still no word on what happenned. (Has that ever happenned to anyone else?).

Thanks

Judy

Vamm

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 8:20 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

As a side note, when you reference AOL leak data (and I reckon the same also applies to the Chitika data), you should take into account that CTR distribution is different for different length of key phrase.

Also, there is a specific category of searches that contain "www." in them. This is when someone accidentally types a domain name into a search box.

So you get, based on AOL dump
For a query containing "www.", #1 CTR is 70%, #2 is 10%.
For a single word key phrase, #1 CTR is 60%, #2 is 13%.
For a four word key phrase, #1 CTR is 30%, #2 is 13% and #3 is 10%.

There is a visible difference between long tail multiple words queries and short queries. The trend is like "short query = significant difference between #1 and #2, long query = less difference".

docbird

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 1:37 am on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Back in the day, google results pages were MFU - Made for Users. Brett could write his legendary post, Successful Site in 12 Months with Google Alone

Now, a shift towards more like MFA, or even MFG (Made for Google).
We've had mention of whether bean counters have wrested too much control of Google results pages; to my mind, this too often looks the case.

And those MFG pages aren't always real strong: especially maps for local businesses, which take up so much space and may have minimal or no useful links.

Replies like martinibuster's suggest the way to Successful Site in Google should now include buying adwords, so you can keep doing well on SERPs pages. Grand if commercial site that converts nicely; tougher for many sites.

Bean counter meddling should over time reduce Google's glow, but not quickly.
I suspect that there are (heated) discussions within the plex about the changes, with some arguing for Made for Users designs - including as many of the sites that rely strongly on organic serps results power adwords; and MFU is pivotal to the mission, which does not focus on ecommerce, but is: "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."

Otherwise, indeed, maybe the halcyon days of MFU pages in search engines are over.

rise2it

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 5:11 am on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Great thread.

This has irked me for a while now, and you are right, it seems to get worse every month.

Most of us are using 'modern' stuff....many of our prospects/customers are not...you want to see how bad it is for them?

Change your settings to 800x600 or so.

raj1094

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 6:23 am on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

So, as a webmaster we should to pray to "Google" to please look into this layout which is helping more to Adwords campaigns compare to Organic campaigns

rise2it

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 7:21 am on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

No, but you are going to have to accept they 'good old days' are never coming back.

With the right browser settings, on this engines you will (or rather, your prospect/customer) now see a total of 'one' organic ad (surrounded by paid ads) without having a scroll.

Mark_A

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 8:44 am on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

No, but you are going to have to accept they 'good old days' are never coming back.


But is this the beginning of the end for Google? Does anyone remember the failure modes for Alta Vista and the like, what did they do wrong? Will web client companies continue to pay adwords costs as long as there are eyes there looking at the ads or will the Buyer to Visitor ratio decline to such an extent that adwords becomes unviable for many? Surely people don't pay adwords to get visitors, they pay adwords to get buyers!

Kickedout

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 3:29 pm on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Great thread.


Thanks. It's good to have a ray of light in this darkness. Haha.

It's crazy how Google became to look like an enemy instead a friend for so many Webmasters, what in the end makes the content they use and need. It Feels horrible.

In my case I spend twice in ads and have half results than before.

I'd never though I could say something like this but: Microsoft, come rescue us! Bing, do something about it!

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 4:24 pm on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

We could look at the question differently. Is it a reasonable business model, for ANY business anywhere, to expect sustained profits without an investment in marketing?

For a while the answer to that question seemed to be "yes, on the web". The barrier to entry for e-commerce seemed extremely low - both in dollars (and though it may seem cruel, even in competence). Free search traffic was "money for nothin' and your 'clicks' for free."

That situation could not last, and it didn't. The economic realities of human commerce makes it so, not just Google's need to grow profits. So now a #1 ranking on a particular keyword is not a predictor of anything like what it was. I'm not angry about it or even surprised. Honestly, we could see this coming, right?

Organic SEO has been a big chunk of my livelihood, and I'm grateful for that. I expect that organic traffic will continue to be a factor for success on the web, but the easy days are gone now. The entire ecosystem of the web is maturing, and search advertising is part of it.

Green_Grass

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 4:46 pm on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

It is easy to say that adWords can substitute for free traffic..

BUT the barriers to entry on the Google adwords side are massive. Not the money..

The QS thingy is very difficult to tame and many an experienced adword player has seen what can happen when big G closes an account ( permanently) or puts a manual QS 1 on all keywords because their QS review teams working in isolation on predetermined parameters ( with little or no consistency) decides they don't like the site ( structure, looks , product or whatever).

I know this is a different topic for discussion but combine it with what they are doing on the organic side..and things get very very monopolistic.

Vamm

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 7:32 pm on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

tedster,

the organic traffic is not free, you need to invest either in-house SEO, or outsource SEO to get some noticeable quantity of the organic traffic. The entry barrier in ecommerce, in the niche where I am (in software), is about one year of continuous labor (possibly plus paid links), that's ignoring cost of actually creating a product (about another year, although you can partially overlap these two). And this does not take into account time spent to learn how to do it.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 7:46 pm on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you build a street store, you need to learn or outsource all kinds of things to succeed - electricity, plumbing, carpentry, real estate knowledge, population patterns in the area, signage, display etc, etc.

If you build a technically weak website, then you've got those limitations working against you. I got into SEO (from offline retail) because I saw that there was a discipline here - something to be learned as part of doing business on the web. It's always been that straightforward, to my view.

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