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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?

 

aristotle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 12:20 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

The number one ranking in organic Serps probably isn't as valuable now as it once was. Google wants to divert more of the traffic onto money-making clicks.

Kickedout

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 12:45 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sure they want and sadly they succeed. But I'm surprised on how useless the organic result become so fast.

shorebreak

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 2:32 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

To all you WebmasterWorld organic search afficionados, consiglieries, know-it-alls and industry mavens,

I submit to you that this is the most interesting thread on WebmasterWorld right now, and certainly one that deserves much more discussion.

Google has
a) pushed ads in from the right, closer to organic SERPs (August 2009);
b) released Ad Sitelinks which is yielding 30%+ sustained CTR improvements for keywords it's active on (taking directly from top SEO position traffic)
c) too many other AdWorks tweaks to count, most of which incrementally push eyeballs from organic to AdWords

Reno

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 3:34 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google wants to divert more of the traffic onto money-making clicks.
...
most of which incrementally push eyeballs from organic to AdWords

You are both absolutely on the mark. I think we need to start thinking of "Old Google" and "New Google", the former became the #1 internet company in history by providing the best organic SERPs with the least junk mixed in; the latter is what we're dealing with now. It is a seismic shift and almost of us who have been building decent sites in order to do well in the organics will suffer, as is being discussed in other threads. The "Old Google" is probably not coming back, and whether we can prosper with the "New Google" is at best open to debate. Given the obvious push towards AdWords clicks, I don't see how things can ever return to the quality we saw just a couple years ago.

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

internetheaven

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 3:49 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Organics are now the supplemental SERPs behind the very well organised paid results.

And despite what everyone says about "well, Google is a business, stop whinging" - we have been let down by our governments. No single search engine should have been allowed to monopolise the web traffic to the extent that they can now hold all businesses to ransom. Microsoft has been stopped at every turn with anti-competition laws in relation to computers ... why was Google allowed to take over the web?

Capitalism is great as long as monopolies are broken up, otherwise it turns in to a dictatorship. Forget Iraq, invade Mountain View California! ;)

aristotle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 4:41 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

The layout of the SERPs page could cause Average Joe Searcher to click the first sponsored link in the mistaken belief that it's the the first organic link. Some people might suspect that this layout is an intentional deception. In any case, I would bet that a lot of traffic is diverted away from the organic results because of this.

internetheaven

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 10:51 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Some people might suspect that this layout is an intentional deception.


"Some people" might "suspect"? Seriously? ... I think "everyone" "knows" that this is deliberate.

I don't think there has ever been an eye-tracking heat chart that has mapped people looking near that light-grey small-fonted sponsored links text ...

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 11:43 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Probably those depending on 1st place SERP listings need to adjust more to the times. Google is seeking to take much more control of the navigation / usability elements used in conjunction with content.

Flat content in many verticals that produce lot's of traffic for Google are fair game. Location based services seem to be a prime target , and I'm not sure if Adwords will provide a cost effective alternative to many wanting to counteract this.

Best to find a way to go with the flow.

Kickedout

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 8:02 pm on May 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google is seeking to take much more control of the navigation / usability elements used in conjunction with content.


Disagree. Google wants more money. Period. Sites with genius usability, content etc are down crappy sites with well paid adwords campaigns.

In the meantime I don't see what can do old sites that have been preferred for years to beat or at least compete with adwords campaigns fever, not to mention, what happens if those are not from Stores that may get into Google Places...

Perhaps someone who is succeding in "New Google" may help here?

aristotle

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Msg#: 4140943 posted 9:38 pm on May 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

The organic SERPs are still the heart of Google's success, and still the main reason why people use Google.

But Google is trying to use a deceptive page layout to divert people to sponsered links and ads. They are exploiting all the webmasters who have worked so hard to create valuable content.

Kelowna



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 3:26 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Using Google today, you may have noticed that something feels slightly different the look and feel of our search results have changed... making it easier than ever to find exactly what you're looking for.

[googleblog.blogspot.com...]

Well, that last line is quite a bit of crap. I live in Canada but target the USA serps so usually I use search.aol.com or comcast so I can see the google USA results without personalization and geolocation problems. After reading this thread I used a proxy to see what you guys are seeing on the actual Google serps... wow, what a mess!

For a very popular 2 word term that I rank #1 for, my site shows up 1/2 way down the page in the second column. To make things even worse, when I add a location to the search like "key word New York" I still come up at #1 but the listing can not be seen without scrolling... 100% google crap shows with no organic listings at all! (1024 x 768 res)

Some people on here say that the Gorg is copying Bing with the look but Bing is way better as they at least show you the top 3 organic listings and not 100% paid and crap filler like Google.

I think if Google keeps going in this direction with their serp pages then they don't need to worry about Bing for competition, they need to worry about someone like hotbot.com as they even Hotbot has them beat with much cleaner looking serp pages!

MadeWillis

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 3:36 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

In regards to the OP

So the first organic position (even when site is yellow starred) is performing nasty


Are you referring to the personalized results? If so, you may actually not be ranked #1 to anyone but yourself. The yellow star only shows up once "you" click it. Be sure to log out of Google and disable your web history for more accurate results. I would even go so far as to check your rankings across multiple data centers.

MadeWillis

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 3:48 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

One other thing I would add. To anyone using automated rank checking software, Google has been sending back false reports for at least 4 years now. I can't even count the number of calls I get from SEO companies that claim my sites are ranking much lower than they actually are (i.e. page 2 or 3) and promising me page 1 results. When asked if they are using automated software to check Google results I always get the same answer...."yes". I then simply refer them to the actual search results page where I have position 1 and 2 across multiple data centers. Yahoo and Bing seem to be pretty consistent, but I would hand check your important Google rankings just to be sure.

Mark_A

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 3:50 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well for most keyword searches there are probably more than fifty to a hundred sites that could rank well and be a quality result, there can only be 10 on page one and google it seems wants to muddle up which ten are there every month or so. So that creates a lot of frustrated website owners who must resort to paying for adwords. Just what they wanted.

And the more they pay for adwords, the more expensive those words become and the more money google makes.

Is there any option?

Kelowna



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 4:43 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

...who must resort to paying for adwords...


Or start to optimize for Bing. 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.

I know my Bing traffic converts much better for some reason, and from my very limited use of adwords, Bing traffic converts way better than the paid stuff.

aristotle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 5:00 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Some posters in this thread seem to be missing the point. The purpose of this thread isn't to complain about organic rankings in general, or about your own rankings. There are other threads for that.

This purpose of this thread is to discuss the deceptive layout of the Google SERPs page, and how people are mislead into clicking sponsored links.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 5:26 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

The discussion could use a little more information, like are these short phrases that aren't doing as well or are they longtail phrases?

Are these ecommerce BUY related phrases, ecommerce REVIEW related phrases or are they non-commercial?

What does your title and meta description look like? How well optimized are they? My ideal (and kind of funny actually), I style my title and meta descriptions just like an AdWords ad. That's done not to blend in but to enhance the CTR performance.

I agree with the OP that an ad that goes north has the opportunity to bring in a high percentage of CTR. But to answer the OP's question, I don't think the first place position is worthless.

I find it frustrating to see non-relevant ecommerce ads jumping to the north position, too. Fortunately, those positions aren't permanent, they usually drop off.

Kelowna



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 7:51 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

The discussion could use a little more information, like are these short phrases that aren't doing as well or are they longtail phrases?


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.

aristotle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 8:11 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

The discussion could use a little more information, like are these short phrases that aren't doing as well or are they longtail phrases?



As I underdstand it, a sponsored link can be purchased for any search term, long or short, commercial or non-commercial.And whether or not someone's site is doing well really isn't relevant to this thread.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 10:23 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

The reason I asked the above questions is that the answer determines the course of action.

So here is one way to deal with a specific situation that may or may not relate to the OP. If the phrase is directly or indirectly related to products, but it's not an explicitly buy type of phrase (example: cheap widgets), then I can almost guarantee you that those advertisers are bottom feeding that phrase and it may be possible to push them out.

For example. Suppose you run a site about fishing. You talk about the benefits of certain spinning reels and the sizes of the fishing line, and how to use it to catch certain fish. Let's say your big keywords are How to Catch Widgets. That's not a phrase directly related to selling Widgets, it's indirectly. The advertiser sells a product that they claim will help the fisherman catch widgets. But your site has the answer to the query, which is how to actually catch the widgets. What this means is that the advertiser is bidding on that phrase and counting on getting X amount of clicks at a certain price. The more clicks the advertiser receives that don't end in a sale, the lower the advertiser must bid in order to break a profit.

What you can do is outbid them and sit on that phrase, make it unprofitable for the advertiser to continue bidding on that phrase. I have done this successfully for years. I bid over two dollars per click but because of my high CTR and high level of satisfied visitors (they find what they are querying for), my cost per click is pennies for those particular phrases. The advertisers drop off after a week or two because I made the bidding environment unprofitable. :) But if you don't compete then they will continue to bottom feed. Again, this solution is for a specfic circumstance.

[edited by: martinibuster at 10:27 pm (utc) on Jun 1, 2010]

Kelowna



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 10:23 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

As I underdstand it, a sponsored link can be purchased for any search term, long or short, commercial or non-commercial.


The title of this thread is talking about the degrading of the 1st place organic listing (or so I thoought)... not purchasing a sponsored link?

And whether or not someone's site is doing well really isn't relevant to this thread.


What we are talking about is the new layout, and how it is burying the organic results, not how anyones sites are doing.

aristotle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 10:34 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

What we are talking about is the new layout, and how it is burying the organic results



I totally agree. But peripheral topics keep getting brought in to confuse matters. I wish we could stick to the real issue, because I think it's very important.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 10:51 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

But peripheral topics keep getting brought in to confuse matters.


You misunderstood my post and inadvertently introduced peripheral topics.

...whether or not someone's site is doing well really isn't relevant to this thread.


I did not ask if the site is doing well. I asked whether the queries that were underperforming (because of AdWords advertisers buying their way to the top) were short phrases or longtail phrases. ;) The reason I asked is because a solution to the problem depends on the kind of query being made. I offered one possible solution above. If anyone else cares to offer another solution then please give it up. ;)

aristotle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 11:06 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Martinibuster - I'm sorry I misunderstood your earlier post.

I'll just make a couple of final comments and then not make any more posts in this thread:

1. The real issue here is the deceptive layout of the Google SERPs page.

2. If your site is number 1 in the organic rankings, it shouldn't be necessary to buy any ads at all, even for a short time.

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 1:33 am on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Here's a comparison that could relate. In 2006 there was a data leak from AOL - and AOL was (is) using Google data for organic search, but they're hot using Google's entire page configuration. This year Chitika did a similar study [chitika.com] for Google.com. Bumping the two sets of data together:

The 2006 AOL click rate for #2 was 3.5 times less than #1
The 2010 Chitika click rate for #2 was 2.0 times less than #1

Yes, the two data sets are nearly four years apart, but that is a very large difference. Something has lowered the relative value of a #1 ranking. To address this thread's title question - no, #1 rankings are not worthless. But they are certainly worth "less".

limoshawn

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 1:57 am on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

2. If your site is number 1 in the organic rankings, it shouldn't be necessary to buy any ads at all, even for a short time.

I don't know if I would subscribe to this thinking, I think there is good reason to have both organic and paid as a part of a balanced marketing portfolio. Of course I'm talking about ecom sites.

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 3:03 am on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I fully agree. I've seen cases where the total traffic from having both organic and PPC was more than just adding up the traffic provided by the two, but in isolation. There's a kind of synergy effect that kicks in on some keywords when you have both.

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 4:45 am on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Organic clicks must be seen by Google as a traffic leak, I know when my sites leak I try to plug the holes and steer the user into the money funnel, you would have to expect this is going to get worse before it gets better but I will say this, a lot of people ignore paid ads. Does anyone have an estimate of what they think the total average CTR would be to paid ads? Just for fun...

Mark_A

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4140943 posted 7:45 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.

We, the clients, pay either way. Either we pay google via adwords or we pay for our time or that of a SEO to get ranking in the SERPS. They are called "natural listings" but none of this is free!

Is it now a question of whom you would rather be paying?

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