Is organic search dying? This is the question many industry experts and commentators have been asking.
Google’s mobile-first approach is affecting organic search results. It has rolled out significant changes to the layout of its desktop Search Engine Results Page (SERP), which essentially leaves organic search results sandwiched between paid search ads.
“Google is now an answer engine rather than a search engine. You must optimise your site to answer the specific questions people are asking”
Mobile-first and Micro Moments
“If you do a search, Google will rank mobile sites higher,” says Jonathan. “Google assumes that mobile has a very different user input, and interaction, along with built-in screen constraints.”
Google interprets a user’s intent through micro-moments. This interpretation will determine how search results appear.
Focusing on short-tail searches means competing in a crowded environment; whereas more specialised, long-tail searches can work just as well if you optimise your content accordingly.
“From a marketing perspective, mobile-first means you must change to compete effectively, because if you’re still desktop-focused in a mobile world, you’re lost.”
The Desktop SERP Squeeze
Google’s move to prioritise the mobile user experience over desktop means that how search results appear is different.
“Google’s changes to its desktop SERP has had the effect of putting the squeeze on organic results”
There is no longer a sidebar for paid search results, instead putting them at the top, and further down, the main part of the page.
“In a mobile-first world, Google is promoting advertisements over organic to a greater degree, which adds up to a headache for anyone solely dependent on organic search results and pursuing only one kind of SEO strategy”.
Maximising Your Budget
“There are well-documented pros and cons associated with pay per click (PPC) advertising,” Jonathan points out.
“You must balance immediate visibility against the cost and how effective your PPC marketing company is,” he says.
“In an ever-shifting organic search landscape, PPC is looking more and more like a good way to maximise your online marketing budget”
“As Google changes, marketing strategies must adapt and change to stay up to date with it. Making a more effective use of pay per click is one such change,” Jonathan suggests.
“It’s about devising a strategy that blends paid and organic content, in such a way to fit your specific business objectives.”