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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.
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
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.
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.
For the top three positions, chitika shows this:
#1 - 34%
#2 - 17% (2x less than #1)
#3 - 11% (3x less than #1)
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.
Check in Google Webmaster Central and get actual stats on what position you're getting served at and what your click rate is.
If you CTR is low, is there an opportunity for a more appealing Title...
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.
No, but you are going to have to accept they 'good old days' are never coming back.