randle - 4:43 am on Apr 20, 2013 (gmt 0)
@Randle / Netmeg - are the verticals you're associated with, perhaps fundamentally different and does that play into this. e.g. niche, local. I mean could you anticipate that other verticals may not work the same way due to issues around margin, scale and of course intense competition.
I think thats certainly possible, the internet is one vast ocean so I'm sure theres lots of businesses that are unique from a monetization perspective. But the changes over the past 24 months have been dramatic and from a bottom line perspective its just a lot harder to try and position yourself into some sort of monetarily successful arbitrage.
Take a look at Adsense for example - Years ago there were people making huge sums of money by building sites specifically designed to attract the widest stream of traffic possible with the sole goal of getting those visitors to click on an ad. (using organic and paid search) That business model is much more difficult today than it was then for a lot of reasons, but I think we can all agree that sites that offer minimal value to the visitor generally rank lower, or incur a greater cost per click, than sites that offer more value.
You can argue all day long, and I think its a very valid argument, wether or not a site built for a popular brand offers more value to the visitor than a site that isn't brand specific. But if you look at the mechanics of things from a purely ranking perspective, you can sort of see why Google has latched onto what is a bit of a "quality" crutch, that provides them the safer bet.
Which one of these might get a little more ranking love from Google these days?
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Taken a step further to the issue of organic vs. the paid space and the challenges of monetization there, the brand issue rears its head again. Its always going to come down to:
Impressions - Click through rate - Conversion rate
Brand, in our experience, improves the click through and conversion rates making the paid space much more financially feasible than what is often experienced from PPC without brand (or even branded keywords for that matter). Brands, usually have spent money somewhere to popularize their name and products - that expenditure carries over into the paid area helping to boost click through rates, conversions and overall ROI.
Maybe theres some sort of similar dynamic at work in the organic space.